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Pat McMahon won another distance race today, capturing the NEAAU 30-kilometer Championships at New Bedford, but someone else got the first-place trophy.
McMahon, an Irishman who won the Washington's Birthday 20-miler from Hopkinton to Newton without training, was ineligible to receive any material recognition for his fine performance because he has only lived in New England for four months.
Not only did the sturdy Irishman go without a trophy, he had to go without a shower since the host, the Fraternal Order of Eagles, is lacking in this particular facility. In fact, plumbing is not an Eagle strongpoint--the number one toilet there was imperfect in that it did not flush. The bar, however, was exquisite.
Who Got It?
The Eagles had to give someone the first-place trophy, so the number-two finisher, whose name was not released to the press, was the recipient.
This 18.6-mile affair is also an important race for teams. For the first time in the nine-year history of this event, North Medford carried off team honors. Providence College was a surprising second.
At first everyone thought this must be an important affair because Jock Semple, king of organized distance running in this area, was on hand at the starting line. It was good to hear at the starting line. It was good to hear Semple cursing in his appealing Scottish accent.
Running the Gauntlet
But once the field of about 100 started trotting, it became apparent that the 30-kilometer Championships did not have nearly as much glamour as the Boston Marathon. Crowds are sparse and extremely arrogant. They insult skinny participant, which is quite a full-time job since most marathoners are disturbingly skinny. They also scream for the men to run faster, not because they want them to do well, but because they want the runners to suffer.
Other drawbacks are the winds that almost push the marathoners backwards for several kilometers at the 12-mile point and the lack of water, oranges, and other health aids. there was one impressive array of neatly uniformed boy scouts offering oranges, but only one.
So it could have been better, but it was entertaining since entrants were able to see both the filth and beauty of New Bedford, hear Jock Semple, and receive a $1 plaid bowling bag made in Japan for finishing 46th.
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