Every runner who has ever run in the Boston Marathon says that what sets the annual Hopkinton-to-Prudential Center run off from the other 26.2 mile tracks are the endlessly encouraging spectators who line the course. "The crowds are always great they're unbelievable," said Winthrop House tutor Rodney Pearson yesterday after turning in a 2.35 effort.
Joel Arnason '78, who returned to Harvard for the first time in four years to compete in the Marathon praised the support of the thousands of spectators "Not only did they keep me going when I really wanted to stop, but they supplied the water which kept the runners alive Water stations every four or five miles just aren't enough," he said.
For Kathy Davis '83, who was one of Harvard's top female finishers, it was the eight spectators who bunched around her when she staggered across the finish line after 3 1/2 hours who kept her moving "I was delirious--it was horrible," she remarked last night. "But everyone was so nice; they wanted to take me in for first-aid."
Chris Combs '84, who was running his first marathon, found the crowd particularly encouraging around Wellesley. "There are only about nine feel between two columns of screaming girls," he said, "and if you're wearing a Harvard shirt it's really great."
Matt Davis '85 found the cheering throngs at Wellesley helpful, but that didn't prevent him from collapsing two miles later on the side of the road in a park for one-half hour. Davis, who trained only two days for the Marathon, reported last night that his stomach hurt, his legs were sore, he had a good suntan, and that he wasn't sure if he'd attempt the run again while at Harvard.
We know that 6753 men and 869 women started yesterday's gruelling 26-mile trek. How do we know? Because they've got the damn thing down to a science.
The idealists tell us that yesterday's marathon was a victory for each individual runner. Leave it to Honeywell computers to figure out exactly who those individuals were.
Most of the entrants, of course, were United States citizens--but there are plenty of others: 38 from Japan. 15 from Bermuda, two from Saudi Arabia and one each from Australia, Belgium, the Dominican Republic...and more.
Marathoners, like all long distance runners, tend to be individualistic types, but our computer friend tells us that the elusive average male runner yesterday was 37 years old, five feet, nine inches tall, and a measly 148.7 pounds. And the average female weighed in at 114.6 pounds, measured five feet, three inches, and was 32 years old.
So much for individuals.