BRRC: GONE BUT IRREPLACEABLE

Bill & Patti Lyons post-Marathon at BRRC

Bill Rodgers  & Patti Dillon post-Boston Marathon at BRRC

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The spirit of the Boston Marathon can’t be measured in a single day, even if that day is Patriot’s Day, which commemorates the Battles of Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775, the first military engagements of the American Revolutionary War.  Thus, the post-race celebration would always run over to at least the following day — though often much longer.  And for many that would include a pilgrimage to the Bill Rodgers Running Center at Quincy Market in the shadow of Faneuil Hall where so much of the Revolutionary fervor had been stoked. Continue reading

ATHLETICS CANADA TARGETS ROAD RUNNING

Winning!

Winning!

Following Meb Keflezighi’s improbable, highly charged win at the 118th Boston Marathon, could a renewed interest in the sport of distance running be about to take wing?   There was as similar spark after Meb and Deena Kastor won Olympic Marathon medals in Athens 2004, and following Meb’s win at the New York City Marathon 2009.  But with all the emotional weight carried into Boston 2014 by the horrors of 2013’s bombings, Meb’s win on Patriot’s Day generated even more electricity than had he simply been the first American man to win Boston in 31 years.

With Meb’s shining visage showing up in newspapers worldwide, then his appearances all around the country in the aftermath, the sport has a true red-white-and-blue hero to celebrate and for kids to emulate.  Even Shalane Flanagan‘s brave front-running seventh-place finish at Boston showcased the kind of spirit that seeds interest in the hearts of young ones.   Funny how heroes can make a connection and stir interest.

That sense of renewal in road racing as a sport may have already been in the zeitgeist, however, because I received the following e-mail Friday April 11th while I was out in Honolulu covering the 3rd annual Hapalua, Hawaii’s Half Marathon. Continue reading

BOSTON 2014 – SMALL WORLD, WONDERFUL WORLD

John & Karen Odom, Boston Strong

John & Karen Odom, Forever Boston Strong

The emotions of the Boston Marathon may never, and for all the obvious reasons, hopefully never will, reach such heights as 2014 again.  It took 371 days for the emotions of Boston 2013 to find their full release on Patriot’s Day 2014. And the support, camaraderie, and unity of purpose that was on display throughout the year, and that came to such a dramatic and cathartic climax with Meb Keflezighi’s win in the 118th Boston Marathon, will stand as a symbol of Boston Strong and Running Strong for ages to come, a reminder of the power of love and community.

It’s a small world. And, as we saw last Monday, even amidst the cruelty, suffering, and heartlessness that sometimes arrives with shocking suddenness, it can be a wonderful world, too.

In that sense, then, one final story on this year’s marathon. Continue reading

2014 BOSTON ANALYSIS

Meb Boston 2014     How could the pro women produce a 2:18:47 course record this past Monday at the 118th Boston Marathon, while the equally powerful men only manage a 2:08:37, some five and a half minutes off the 2011 course record?

Ah, the mysteries of racing. Which is why pure, non-paced competition is generally more compelling than time-trialing where everyone knows  exactly what’s ahead. The only question is whether the time can be attained. If ever there was a case for competition over pacing, Boston 2014 tabs it.

But let’s look deeper into the 2014 Boston Marathon, and explore how the tactics and personalities of each race contributed to the outcome that brought Meb Keflezighi to the finish as the first American male champion in 31 years, and saw Rita Jeptoo of Kenya bury the first sub-2:20 women’s performance in Boston history, while Buzu Deba joined her with a 2:19:59 in second place.

Continue reading

ODE TO THE BOSTON CHAMPION

Meb Boston 2014

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Through clamorous towns at a headlong pace,

You raced this day into Copley Place,

Where with arm thrust high,

And church bells pealing,

You wear a wreath of glory,

Though head still reeling.

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The distance you ushered,

The pain you endured,

Your flag now flutters,

Must all seem a blur.

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But honor’s all yours,

This Patriot’s Day,

In this oldest of marathons,

As men shout, “Hooray!”

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And though crusted with salt,

Legs seized with fatigue,

The scene’s one to savor,

As you recall the intrigue. Continue reading

BAA 5K KICKS OFF MARATHON WEEKEND

BOSTON STRONG AT BAA 5K

BOSTON STRONG AT BAA 5K

Boston, MA. – It was an electric start to Boston Marathon weekend this morning as the BAA 5K sent a current of excitement through the bright morning sunshine along historic Charles Street. Defending men’s champion and Olympic silver medalist Dejen Gebremeskel of Ethiopia and U.S. record holder Molly Huddle used blistering late race kicks to win the opening race of Boston Marathon weekend in front of a record field of 10,000. The wins earned the champions $7500, while Gebremeskel took home an additional $5000 for the event record.

Gebremeskel barely inched out American star and native New Englander Ben True in a mad dash to the tape to set an event record 13:26.  True, the 2011 & 2012 BAA 5K champ, was clocked in the exact same time, while third-placer Stephen Sambu of Kenya was only one tick back in 13:27. The top five men all went under Gebremeskel’s old event record 13:37 set last year.

In the women’s race U.S. 5000 meter track record holder Molly Huddle, now of Providence, Rhode Island, came screaming from five meters back in the final 200 meters to blow past race leader Mamitu Daska of Ethiopia in 15:12, tying the event record set in 2012 by Ethiopia’s Werknesh Kidane.

A field double the size of last year took part in the opening event of marathon weekend under chilled but calm blue skies. Boston Mayor Marty Walsh sent the runners off for their 3.1 mile tour of the Back Bay, and the atmosphere of celebration and camaraderie was enveloping. Continue reading

BOSTON REMEMBERS

Boston's Old South Church

Boston’s Old South Church

The bell of Boston’s Old South Church tolled mournfully today at exactly 2:49 p.m. , commemorating the exact time one year ago that the first of two bombs went off at the Boylston Street finish of the Boston Marathon. As thousands gathered for what was billed as a Tribute, pewter-gray skies opened in memory of the four dead and hundreds injured.  Even so, a continuing sense of recovery suffused the crowd lining the roadway, some who had returned for the first time since April 15, 2013.

It was a somber day of remembrance coming just six days before the 118th running of the grand old race. U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, along with Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and ex-mayor Tom Menino gave moving addresses, along with BAA executive race director Tom Grilk and four of the recovering victims of the bombing. Continue reading