It was raining out this morning. I passed a lone jogger out on my neighborhood street getting exercise but getting soaked. It made me think of the Boston Marathon. It always seems to be raining in Boston in April. Maybe my memory is not serving me, it usually doesn’t much anymore, but I seem to remember a lot of TV images of soggy runners in past Boston Marathons. Bobbing up and down in a massive crowd of humanity, in colorful running gear, passing under an arch, which I assume is the start. They’ve been doing it since 1897. Women since 1972.
No rain this last Monday though. What they got was a tailwind that gave Geoffrey Mutai, a Kenyan, the fastest recorded marathon in history. He finished the hilly course in 2:03.02. Almost cracking the 2 hour mark, something marathon runners believe is almost impossible. Kind of similar to the three-minute mile. But they’re getting closer and closer to running 26 miles full speed in two hours. You would have to average under 5:00 minute miles.
This was the fastest time in history, but not a world record. The Boston marathon course does not meet the I.A.F.F. (International Association of Athletics Federations) record requirements. They’re the ones with the say so it seems. The course is relatively straight and downhill. Which you would think would make it a faster course, but it is generally one of the slowest. So this feat was in the category of amazing. But no world record……yet. They are, of course, trying to get the course qualified.
I’m not a marathon runner, shit I’m not a runner of any kind, for that matter. I ran the 2-mile (it’s measured in meters now, probably like 3200 meters) in High School, once. Not fast. I ran the mile in 4:52 in competition. If I could do that for 26 miles I would have the world record in the marathon! The only time I ran the two-mile race, I thought I was going to die at the end, actually before I got to the end. I can’t even imagine running 26 miles. 4:52 for the mile race, figure that out, it’s slow. But I was proud, I took third, I think, out of five, two of which were really slow. By the way, I don’t jog either. It seems dangerous. Ankles, shins and dogs. They could all be bad things.
No, if I was to run the Boston Marathon, I would do it like Rosie Ruiz…. take the subway most of the way. Rosie, a Cuban-American, age 26, won the women’s division in a time of 2:31:56 on April 21, 1980. She had actually run in the New York Marathon, but this time was 25 minutes faster and when officials looked at race photographs, they didn’t see her anywhere in the field until the end. She entered the race a mile from the finish. She was stripped of her title even though she maintained she hadn’t cheated. Rosie’s fall from grace continued as she lost her job in New York, was later charged with stealing from another employer in 1982, and then was caught selling drugs to an undercover officer in Florida. She served jail time for both.
But she got her 15-minutes of fame and then some. People still recognize her name as a winner of the Boston Marathon. She is running so slow in the video below, I can’t believe she didn’t get passed in the last mile by the real leaders anyway. Rosie now lives in South Florida.
Marathons, particularly the Boston Marathon, now use video surveillance and transponder timing RFID systems that mark electronically when a runner passes various checkpoints on the course. Somebody will probably figure out how to beat that system in time.