Thousands Run in High Temperatures

Contingent of Harvard students joins in 108th Boston Marathon

Andrea I. Gonzalez

A strong and sweaty brigade of runners dressed in everything from superman costumes to hula skirts to skimpy speedos pushed their way through walls of cheering fans towards the Copley square finish line in yesterday’s marathon.

Of the more than 20,000 runners officially registered for the 108th annual Boston Marathon, about 16,000 braved unseasonal heat to complete the 26.2 mile course.

But with the mercury rising to 85 degrees yesterday—nearly 30 degrees above average April temperatures—the heat slowed even the fastest and fiercest competitors.

Sporting a homemade Harvard t-shirt bearing her name, Jesse L. Maki ’04 was recovering from the race when she said that the past four hours had been a great way to finish out her senior year.

“This is really exciting,” she said, wrapped in a silver space blanket to keep warm. “I’ve been meaning to do this since freshman year but things like organic chemistry and the MCATs have always gotten in the way.”

After finally completing the course, she said she was looking forward to a long hot bath followed by a return to the senior bar night scene.

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On his fifth marathon, Boston College graduate Kenneth R. Bereski—painted head to toe in red and gold—couldn’t picture an evening out.

“Right now I think I need to just collapse and find my parents,” he joked.

Though he described yesterday as the toughest of the races he has run, his red body paint drew cheers from the sidelines.

“It really got the crowd going,” he said.

But the spirited spectators, sporting hats and shirts with slogans like “Tom’s Athletic Supporter” and “Girls Run Wild,” weren’t enough to lift the spirits of all participants.

“This is the most horrible race I’ve ever been involved with,” said exhausted Quincy House Tutor John C. McMillian, who struggled with the sun and wind from the start of the marathon.

“You could feel the heat right away. It was defeating emotionally,” he said. “There was just no chance of having a good time.”

Though he began the morning with a healthy bowl of oatmeal in the Quincy Dining Hall, he said the day turned sour when another runner stepped on his toe at the start line.

“From the beginning it seemed like it would be a really long race,” he said.

Maki said that she started to run at the end of January and logged most of her miles on a treadmill at the Wellbridge gym.