"I want to run the Marathon." Joanne said wistfully to me yesterday as we headed out for out daily four-mile run-a ritual we have followed semi-faithfully, since the spring of freshman year.
I reminded her that a year ago to the day we had run down to MIT together and encountered an exhausted, but elated finished wrapped in a protective silver sheet, and that we had decided after talking to him that we would run this year.
What had happened to our resolve? A number of things, we guiltily reassured ourselves too much work, too much snow, too much laziness, and--most importantly--too much flab.
The paths along the Charles were beautiful but deserted as we set out, all the real runners were at the Marathon, which pleased Joanne and me. You see, we have become some what of a spectacle along the River paths because we like to yell at each other over the din of our Walkman stereos (she has a tape player which is always blasting the Go Gos, and I have an FM model).
Hard-core runners who zip by usually sneer at us. I know those lean, muscled and intense women are mentally belittling us for not being purists, for diverting our minds to enjoyable thoughts while our call muscles strain. I contend that if the Beatles or The Cars make the difference for me between running and walking. I'm going to continue to "Let the Good Times Roll."
While we slogged through our short jaunt there were scores of other Harvard undergraduates, graduates, tutors and professors who did manage to compete some officially in yesterday's 86th Boston Marathon. And although all were thrilled to cross the finish line, descriptions of the race itself ranged from "horrible" to "outstanding. I can't want to do it again!"
For Rodney Pearson, a Winthrop House tutor who turned in the best Harvard finish at 2.35, the Marathon was a "terrible" disappointment. "It was just too hot," he said glumly alter the race. "But if you've trained for five months, you get out there and you say. "I don't care--I'm going to run fast anyway, "that was what caused a lot of good runners to start walking around the 12-mile mark."
Chris Combs '84, who was running his first marathon, said that one thought kept him going throughout the race. "On the bus on the way to Hopkinton. I heard some guy say that he had kicked himself for a year for dropping out after 24 miles. I thought about that a lot when I wanted to drop out."
Combs, who called the marathon "one of the worst experiences of my life," described the race as consisting of three stages. "First you get out there, then out you wait 50 minutes in line at the toilets so that you arrive at the starting line at two before 12, and then--when you cross the finish line and think it's all over--you have to walk around in pain looking for people."
Frank Mungean '83 expressed more jubilation than most, saying "Right after the race, the first thing that I said was that I wanted to run again next year." As he gorged on post-race bowls of chocolate chip ice cream. Mungean concluded that the race had been sweet pain--but it was a hell of a long way to run for a sunburn."
For Vic Koivumaki '68, who works in Harvard's Alumni Office, the marathon was his birthday present for turning 36 yesterday. "I'm not sure I'd run it again," he remarked last night. "I think a lot of people out there wished that Phidippides had dropped dead after 20 miles instead of 26."
After listening to marathon horror stories, massaging a cramped and semi-comatose roommate, and knowing the condition of my heart after a very leisurely short run, my immediate leaning is to concede defeat in next year's marathon right now and leave the crazy race to the kinds of people who climb Mt. Everest just because it exists.
In fact, I can already foresee Patriot's Day 1983, with absolute clarity: Joanne will turn to me while we stretch and say, "I wish I had run the Marathon. "I will agree, and we will strap on our Walkmans and head on down the River for a four-mile run.