Our Runner’s Digest radio show had put together a 75-station network for the 1982 Boston Marathon. This was back in the days when running was still consumed by a general public as primarily a sporting contest. That Patriot’s Day I was stationed at the finish line above Ring Road below the Prudential Tower. This was the old marathon finish line, pre-John Hancock 1986, directly across Boylston Street from Hereford Street.
We had six reporters strung along the course giving live updates from the field. To help with their assignment, we put together what we believe was the first press guide for the Boston Marathon. Four of those pages are contained in this post.
By Boston 1982 the running boom was thundering over the land at its highest decibel level. But when word leaked out that Wayland, Mass. native Alberto Salazar was coming back from Oregon to compete for the first time in the hometown marathon, well, for those who have never experienced the excitement that foot-racing once caused, all I can tell you is that the needle was pinned to the far right of the gauge that year. Every TV station in town met him at Logan coming in. He tried to keep it low-profile, but his dad tipped the press. Al was not happy.
Al was homeward bound off two straight New York City Marathon wins, and what we thought was the marathon world record (2:08:13) the previous October. Only later would the course be remeasured and found to be 149 meters short. Notwithstanding, Al was at the height of his piercing focus and unwavering willfulness. The week before Boston he had gone head up against 10,000m world record holder Henry Rono of Kenya at an Alberto-directed 10,000 meter track race at Hayward Field in Eugene, his alma mater. Henry (with a gut, I kid you not) barely got by Alberto 27:29 to 27:30. But Al had shown his fitness, and then some, and seemed ready for anything come Patriot’s Day. Continue reading