When hundreds of Wellesley girls line up along the Boston Marathon course next Monday they may got more than a fleeting glimpse of the runners. One of the Marathoners, senior Harvey Popell, says he could possibly decide to forget the remaining 12 miles into Boston and "sort of collapse among the girls."
Popell, a varsity football end entering his first marathon, will be one of two Winthrop residents attempting the 26-mile jaunt on Patriot's Day. The other is junior Bill Chrisman, who finished 88th out of 200 in last year's race and hopes to improve his showing this year.
No Records Predicted
Popell and Chrisman are both confident of at least finishing the race, but refuse to predict how near they'll come to the record of two hours, 18.5 minutes, not last year with the benefit of a strong tailwind.
An additional distraction for the College runners, besides the Wellesley students who traditionally show up on mass at the course's half-way point, will be some 750,000 spectators lining the whole route. The race, which begins in the small town of Hopkinton, Mass, and ends 26 miles, 285 yards away on Exeter St. in Boston, is known as "the greatest free spectacle in the country."
Nearly 200 runners are expected to enter the event Monday, and Popell is aiming to finish in the first 35. In addition, he's betting that despite his complete lack of experience, if he gets past Wellesley, he can beat Clarence DeMar, alias Clarence DcMarathon, who will be entering the race for his 33rd time.
The 68-year-old DeMar has won the classic seven times, and last year, though held to 82nd place, still managed to outrun Chrisman and, as he says, "a whole flock of others." He's planning to finish at least in the top 60 this year.
DeMar predicted last night, however, that Popell will probably beat him-- "unless the football player's weight is too much for him."
No Reason Why
Popell himself is not quite sure why he's entering the race in the first place. He made a casual statement last autumn that he might like to run, and since then, he says, no one has let him forget it. As a Brookline resident, however, he remembers "watching the race as a little boy on Beacon St., and always wanting to try it."
"In any event, it can't be tougher than the first two football games last fall," Popell says.
Some of his friends disagree, however and have bet him steak dinners that he'll never even finish the run. But the Crimson football star is stoically resigned to ridicule. "They haven't much confidence in me," he says, "but I'll just go out there and run the race."
Popell and Chrisman, who took up marathoning last year as a hobby, have spent ten weeks in training for Monday's race, and will wind up their preparation this weekend with short runs of 15 or 20 miles.