I’ll bet I wasn’t the only guy at the banquet who, when hearing Mike Naughton’s name ring out as the Johnny Kelley Award winner, thought to himself: “Well, what do you know?  Finally.”  This was one honor that was a long time coming, and so deserving that I felt a lot of satisfaction and downright happiness fill the room.  For all of us who have known Mike over the years, his expressed desire “to be like Johnny Kelley, and run another 50 years, and be with you folks,” was a fitting testimonial for the sport he loves, as well as a tribute to the man whose name is embossed on the trophy he had just won.

     A nice thing about the banquet is that it gives all the gals a chance to sport their latest fashion ensembles, and to reveal their girly side for a change.  Enough of these grey sweats!  And I was prepared to do a column on the chic and sundry gowns and outfits on display out on the buffet line and dance floor so brightly displayed.  Shoot, there were gals astylin’ every which way I looked — a veritable feast for the eyes.  I even did my homework, taking a few notes on a few scoop neck tops, A-line dresses, and layered tailleur I noticed.

     Trouble is, I chickened out.

     With most earnest, sincere effort, I’d just end up getting in trouble.  If I mentioned four or five “best-dressed,” it should have been seven or eight.  A from the “Top Ten” list would just boil the water a little hotter from the would-be also-rans; I doubt a panel of Vogue editors could make their choices and escape unscathed … so, unless I get a bit more nervy next year (or take up drinking again!), the list will simply have to stay in my head.

     The big plus you get when you have a newspaper sponsor your marathon is lots of ink.  In these days of being a minor sport on the American sports scene, this is a priceless commodity, as those who read the Cape Times on a daily basis are well aware.  We just don’t get much road racing coverage, and what we do, we often have to provide ourselves.  (Let us not forget what our dear member and friend Frank Delear did for this club in the 70’s and 80’s).  The big ad and app on page 3 of the sports section sure helps public awareness and promotes our marathon.

     My criticism of the Clydesdale Division is that it is unjustly serving tall people, not the original aim or intention of the group.  More to the point, it was designed to afford mesomorphs or heavyweights (or “fatties,” to use the Dave Barry) a more accessible gate to a sport favoring skinny people.  With weight as the only criteria, you’re giving really tall people simply another group to garner the hardware from.  Either institute a height/weight ratio factor, or some sort of fat percent test.  When you have the model-like Jane Zee in this group, it points out the unlevel playing field, doesn’t it?  Ed Eyestone, at 6’5″, would qualify by weight, and jeez, he made the United States 1988 and ’92 Olympic Marathon teams … and when Larry Bird ran the Jordan Marsh Thanksgiving Day five miler in Boston (when he was still playing), he easily ran sub-sevens, and he wasn’t even a runner.  But he was about the right weight for his height (6’9″) at 230 lbs.

     George Gomes just keeps getting better, as he well demonstrated at Kevin’s Ten Miler with a superb come-from-behind win in just under 61 minutes.  He’s passing up Boston to adventure a bit, and trekking out to California’s Big Sur Marathon in the spring.  After his casual, negative-split 2:55 Cape Cod Marathon last fall, this guy could be a force in the future.  Anyone familiar with the topography of the Falmouth course knows how rare it is for anyone to actually pick up the pace over the Sippewissett hills.

     Ultra-runner wannabe Karen Zunti writes from Jackson Hole, Wyoming that she hopes all the x-country skiing she’s doing at altitude pays off for her at Boston.  She’s been doing two and three hour forays at seven thousand feet, but more cautiously now that boyfriend Jeff broke his leg.  And speaking of ultra-runners, new member Janet Jordan officially became the club’s second female ultra-runner with her outstanding 50 kilometers down at Coventry last fall, nary slowing a bit after the initial marathon distance.  (I believe Sara Ringler completed a 50K a few years back, correct?)

     With a burgeoning field already entered for Boston, and memories of the long wait we endured in ’96 when the entries surpassed 38,000, the chip system is once again rendered meaningless when it takes one 10 minutes to “run” the first mile after you trip the mat timer at the start.  If only you didn’t have to start and stop, start and stop … it is just so damned frustrating.  If you’re serious and have really sacrificed some tasty meals and trained hard through the winter months, the first mile is sheer agony.  Yet with all that said and understood, the lure of  historic Boston sounds its clarion call to me, siren-like, each December, and just like Charlie Brown, I’m lured into trying to kick that football.  Again …..

     Are you listening, Dave McGillivray?

     See you on the trails,


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