Monday, February 20, 2006

One step from the Oval Office

Today is Presidents’ Day. And I doubt there's many celebrations around the nation honoring the men who’ve held the highest office in the land. Probably just a lot of folks buying automobiles.

Since this is a Boston Marathon blog, I couldn’t help but think if any of our presidents ever ran the world’s oldest marathon.

At first thought I came up empty. But I did find one man (possibly two) who ran the Boston Marathon and came close to winning the presidency of the United States.

The first is Michael Dukakis. The Duke.

Where did it go wrong for the former Massachusetts governor on the 1988 campaign trail? It could have been when CNN’s Bernard Shaw asked him whether or not he would favor the death penalty for someone who raped and murdered his wife. Or maybe it was the picture of The Duke looking like Snoopy in a tank. Or maybe it was Willie Horton and the weekend furlough program. The road to the White House is a marathon. And I think The Duke hit the wall at mile 22.

But I digress. This is not a political blog. It’s a Boston Marathon blog. So back to The Duke and the Boston Marathon.

In 1951 Michael Dukakis, a senior at Brookline High, finished 57th (3:31) in the Boston Marathon. The Duke was holding a 6:50 pace until he experienced some cramps on the Newton Hills. However, Dukakis finished strong coming in 10 places ahead of marathon legend Clarence DeMar.

And the other presidential hopeful who ran Boston?

During the 2004 election, there was controversy over whether John Kerry ran the Boston Marathon back in the 70s. He said a few things in interviews which made it sound like he couldn't remember when he ran. I’ll let you make up your own mind on the subject.

Here’s a link showing a letter from the B.A.A on the subject...

We do know that Kerry’s daughter, Vanessa, crossed the finish line last year in an impressive and official 3:31:35 net!