Boston 2000 was Boston, as usual. Quintessentially Boston. Roba was considered a shoe-in. She lost. Chebet was going to repeat. He was eighth. The weather was capricious, as usual; as chillingly frigid with its in-your-face wind as last year’s was the opposite – – uncomfortably warm. You just never know about Boston, and it can take a lifetime to learn to engage its unpredictable follies.
Highest marks were earned by Judy Scott, with a whopping 20 minute p.r. at the age of 58; Cheryl Falletti, running an amazing debut marathon of 3:58 at the age of 52; and of course Skip Michaelson’s pulling off his Holy Grail sub-3 hour marathon despite a slow New Bedford Half of 1:31 just four weeks before . . . as the pundits would say, “Who woulda thunk?”
Of course, there were many other outstanding, even heroic, efforts, but all were within the confines of the predictable. Best-of-gender times Barry Merill and Karen Zunti were excellent, as were Dustin Baker’s 2:55 and Adam Polakowski’s 2:49. Don Bates and Janet Jordan placed high in their age groups, and of course Bill Riley was right up there in the top echelon in the veteran’s class. Analyzing it much further would mostly get us into trouble . . . and trials and troubles everyone had, as Kevin and I would love to tell you the excruciating and gory details of our spills (me at the 24th mile and he right at the start!).
But Don Foss’ running a 3:10 whilst passing over 14,000 runners is a rather unique experience I daresay none of the rest of us will ever have, and speaks volumes about his natural talent. To have coached him for three months was a true pleasure, as much fun as with Adam two years ago.
There is some argument to having club officers, particularly the president, having a two year term. It seems that the position cries out for a longer period, with its many responsibilities and myriad details, which are only really learned in their entirety while serving in office. So that just when the subject really gets comfortable with the various facets of the job and has an individual sense of the direction he’d like to go, why, the year is up, and another change is taking place. What say you?
Mel Gonsalves just has to be the classiest guy ever. A few weeks ago he was out to warming up for the Seagull Six, when the gun went off, starting the race. Did he protest, or complain that the race start had been changed from its traditional 11:30 time? Nope, he just jumped in and got going, trying the best he could to make up the minute and a half he’d lost. In a race he might have won (still finished fourth), he never even mentioned it when I asked how he’d made out. It reminded me of the time I was standing next to Johnny Linnell at the race in Sandwich years ago where he’d won the master’s, and they awarded the trophy to another master he’d just beaten by a quarter mile. “Maybe he needs it more than me,” Johnny shrugged, in his good-natured way. It was just nine years ago that Johnny ran his 2:43 Boston as a senior 51 year old. Got to get this guy training again . . . .
In January when I was out in Michigan for a month, I was transfixed to espy a road sign that said “Hell – 3 Miles.” Yes, Virginia, there really is a Hell, Michigan, and I delighted in sending out post cards from Hell. You can just imagine my pleasure a few days later when I was in the neighboring Pinckney library and met 68 year old Harrison Hensley, road race extraordinaire and director of the annual RUN THROUGH HELL ten and five mile road races. A long and wild “can-you-to this?!” conversation ensued (the man has run 1438 road races since he took up the sport 20 years ago), and a friendship formed. So if any of you guys plan on being out in Michigan in August, I have applications. And a few T-shirts left, too.
Meanwhile, Jane and I are flying out to Cincinnati for the Flying Pig. Marathon, that is.
See you on the trails,