Soaking up the Bennies

The Liberated Marathon

Mom didn't make it this year. But you can understand; 200 miles to see her son, much as I'm loved, run by her in a period of 30 seconds leaves you feeling a little empty. Of course, old Mom came up with a partial solution last April when she brought the movie camera and got me crawling up Heartbreak Hill.

I remember the long, cold nights in Milwaukee last month when I ran workouts in Mom's honor. Other times I ran them for the 1000 screaming girls at Wellesley, or for George McGovern, or for orange quarters. Often I thought of all those Wellesley girls sleeping as I ran the streets in Central Time, resting themselves so that they could cheer for me and thrust orange quarters my way. I guess it was Skiddy von Stade who said they continue to become great housewives and mothers. It's the sort of phenomenon that always leads me to dog it for the mile preceding Wellesley and then turn it on just before I reach the College.

Of course, male chauvinist piggism took a step backwards yesterday in Boston when the Boston Athletic Association decided at long last to let women run officially. It took such a big step in fact that director Will Cloney almost went so far as to kiss the winning female. (She had the fans wondering about the reddish brown stains on the backs of her legs.) Their participation in such numbers--seven officially--made it a bit tough on us, though, because most of the spectators' remarks I overheard were about the women, and when the top one finished she got a louder round of applause than the winner and louder even than old Johnny Kelly, who at 6-4 must represent some kind of Marathon minority.

When the applause wasn't ringing in my ears and I wasn't thinking about sex. I had to occupy my mind other ways. Usually I just sang teenage death songs. Laura's boyfriend Tommy drove to the stock car race and killed himself about 22 times during the course of the Marathon, and if that train didn't kill Teen Angel the first time, I imagine it had by the nineteenth.

Since Mom didn't show, I got a big treat at the end--a ride back to Cambridge on the MTA. Following the thrill of the Marathon it seemed that it was only right to take the subway; after all, if you're willing to dine with someone you ought to be willing to wash the dishes. It was my feet that hurt most, but of course while I'd spent three hours roughing up my feet, thousands of miles away whole legs were being blown off people's bodies.