April 15, 2006

Looking forward to Boston

Boston. It's hard to be aware of the history of running in this country, nay, the world, and not know that Boston looms large. The Boston marathon is only a part of that. A large part to be sure, but running is just that little bit more important as a sport here than it is in most other places.

One example of that is that they print the results of local races in the Globe. There's a 4.13 mile race in Somerville every Thursday which I've never run because when I've done the math on getting from the library to the start line after a day in the archives (what has brought me to Boston a lot recently) it's never worked out. But anyway, this 4.13 mile race which was won the other day in about 25 minutes. Not shabby, but not a major competitive race. They printed that in the paper. That's a good paper, not a slow race.

They also print the results of the semi-famous Fresh Pond races which are held every Saturday at 10am at Fresh Pond. I was looking forward to these almost as much as the Boston marathon, because they [now] represent just about the other end of the spectrum of amateurism to commercialism than the marathon does. If you get in the top five at Fresh Pond you get your name in the Globe. Now, I sure as anything am not getting a top five place in any competitive category in the Boston marathon (even running slowly I may be in the top five New Zealanders ....) so my chance to get in the paper was to run at Fresh Pond. I achieved my aim. Third place. It was just like this Running Times article says the races are like. Except they ran the full 2.5 or 5 miles today. I jogged around, and then did another lap. 45 minutes at tempo pace was on the schedule for the day.

I'm also looking forward to the Boston marathon. When I was a kid I picked up a swag of late 1970s and early 1980s back issues of The Runner at a kindergarten fundraising sale. This was of course the era of American dominance at Boston. Rodgers, Salazar, Beardsley, Wells, Hoag ... It would be great to see an American win at Boston, but the 1970s and 1980s were an aberration. The history of the Boston marathon roll of champions is a history of the diverse enthusiasm for marathon running around the globe. Of course, there was a time when Boston was unquestionably the major international race to win, not quite the Olympics, but the next best thing to win excepting maybe Fukuoka. So you can't realistically hope that Boston live up to its reputation of being a major world marathon, and think that Americans should win regularly.

So I've wanted to run the Boston marathon for longer than you might think. At least since I was 13. Now, it quite obviously hasn't been a burning desire, since I've waited five years to do so since landing on these shores. But the desire has been there, and now I'm here to run it.

I'm hoping that this latent desire to enjoy the Boston marathon doesn't manifest itself in buying tons of merchandise with the logo on it tomorrow at the expo ...

Posted by robe0419 at April 15, 2006 09:24 PM | TrackBack
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