Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Beautiful Day

The Boston Marathon is officially 110 years old. Whether you ran, cheered or volunteered, you were part of one of Boston’s greatest traditions. You were part of the history. You were part of what makes "Boston" the best marathon there is.

How do you top yesterday? Boston weather that runners dream of...a come-from-behind Red Sox win at Fenway on a two-out, two-run walkoff homer by second baseman Mark Loretta... a new course record (2:07:14) by Kenyan Robert Cheruiyot... and three American runners finishing in the Top 5. Awesome.


Thanks for reading my Boston Marathon blog. I’ve learned a lot about the world’s oldest marathon and I hope you’ve picked up a few things as well. There are still so many stories to tell so as The Terminator would say, “ I’ll be back.”

Before you go, check out the archives. Whether you’ll be running your first or twenty-first Boston Marathon next year, there’s loads of helpful information in there to get you ready.

That's it for now. My blog will be on hiatus until next training season. Send an e-mail now to hop2boston@yahoo.com and when I start up the blog in January ’07, I’ll be sure to send you a message.

See you in January 2007.

All the best,

Correction - A few months ago I had a blog entry regarding the one-time starting line in Ashland. A source I used stated that at the time (1996) there wasn’t any tribute or statue commemorating the original starting line.

However, after perusing Boston Marathon & Beyond, a new book included in each Boston Marathon runner’s gift bag this year, I learned about the Ashland Marathon Park on Pleasant Street. The park includes “historic stations along a pathway and boardwalk to document the Boston Marathon...” The park was dedicated in 2003.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Quote of the day

“Congratulate yourself. This is the Olympic marathon for most marathoners. So pick out the spot where you’re going to celebrate with your friends that night.”

Bill Rodgers


Sunday, April 16, 2006

To: Boston Marathon Runners

Break a leg.

Tomorrow is the big day. Showtime!

Good luck to the runners. Enjoy EVERYTHING about the day.
Keep a positive attitude every mile and you can't lose. You've already won.
Earlier today I was reading The Globe and came across a story in The Boston Globe Magazine. It was a letter in their "Tales from the City" column. A woman who ran in the 100th Boston Marathon shared her story of a journey that was actually just beginning. Here it is...

Ten years ago, exhausted and disoriented after finishing the 100th Boston Marathon I turned to one of the other 40,000 runners and asked whether he could direct me to a local hotel. Instead, the man kindly offered to walk me there. Our small talk covered three topics: our first names, the towns in which we lived, and our professions. The next day while describing the race to a co-worker, I told her about the friendly runner and our all too-short conversation. My colleague gave me a puzzled look and said," I think he's a friend of mine." Given the limited description and massive coincidence, I agreed to let her contact her friend. One phone call proved she was right--and even better--that her friend had been searching through the finish results in an attempt to find my last name so he could call me. She gave him my phone number, and this year we will watch the 110th marathon together, celebrating seven years of marriage and 4-year old twin boys. Who knew one could simply run into a husband?


I'll have two more blog entries this year -- Marathon Monday and Tuesday, April 18. Thanks for checking in these last few days, weeks, or months for a quick dose of Boston Marathon info. But there's so much more. Just send an e-mail now to hop2boston@yahoo.com and when the blog starts back up in January '07, i'll be sure to send you a message. Just type "marathon blog" in the subject line.

Thanks again. Come back for the last two blog entries tomorrow and tuesday.

All the best,

Saturday, April 15, 2006

On this day...

Ten years ago today (April 15, 1996) the historic 100th running of the Boston Marathon attracted 38,708 official entrants (35,868 finishers), which stands as the largest field of finishers in history.

Moses Tanui of Kenya won the race in 2:09:15. Uta Pippig overcame a 30-second deficit and severe dehydration, among other difficulties, to become the first woman of the official era to win the race in three consecutive years.

Courtesy of BAA

Friday, April 14, 2006

Big bucks for Boston

BOSTON- The 110th Boston Marathon on Monday, April 17, 2006 and related activities throughout the weekend will bring approximately $95.4 million in direct and indirect economic impact to the Greater Boston region, according to Greater Boston Convention & Visitor Bureau President and CEO, Patrick Moscaritolo.

This year there will be more than 22,500 official runners including 3,720 runners from outside the United States. More than 500,000 spectators are anticipated to line the 26-mile route and Back Bay finish line area.

Included in the Marathon weekend spending impact are four Red Sox games at Fenway Park, Patriots' Day activities in Boston and around the region, the John Hancock Sports & Fitness Expo at the World Trade Center, and the start of the spring tourism season in Boston.

The $95.4 million in spending impact will be generated from the following categories:
Total spending for runners and their guests: $48.4 million
Total spending for spectators: $17 million
Four Red Sox games: $10 million
Charity Fundraising: $8 million
Spring season tourists: $7 million
John Hancock Sports & Fitness Expo: $5 million

Source: Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Courtesy of BAA.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Are Boston Marathon trading cards next?

Elite athletes in Monday’s Boston Marathon will wear uniforms to help spectators and media identify the runners.

"This year the top men in the 2006 Boston Marathon field will wear assigned uniforms to help the media and spectators readily identify the leaders during the race," said spokesman Josh Milne of John Hancock Financial Services, sponsor of the race.

The Flora London Marathon, the next stop in the 5-race Marathon Majors series, will also use the uniform program.

To check out the rest of the uniforms, click this link http://www.runningtimes.com/rt/images/200509/BostonUniforms.pdf.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

"Lost Boy" Runs his Third Boston Marathon

An amazing story found on the BAA website...

Sudanese refugee Abraham Gai Yol of Worcester will run his third Boston Marathon on Monday. Gai Yol is one of the “Lost Boys” who fled Sudan during the 1980s to escape a horrific civil war. The Lost Boys walked from Sudan to Ethiopia, and then to Kenya where they lived as orphans in refugee camps for many years.

When Gai Yol first arrived in America the idea of recreational running was foreign to him. In Sudan walking and running served only functional purposes. But encouragement from his host family helped him adjust to the recreational sport. “We literally started by finding shoes and encouraging [Gai Yol and his friend Gabriel Akau] to eat more than one meal a day, run on weekends and, eventually, to wear shorts,” said Susan Lynch.

With the help of several runners from the Nashoba cross country team, Gai Yol trained for the 2004 Boston Marathon. He finished in 4:03:52. A year later he ran again hoping to improve his time and did – by nearly an hour. In 2005 Gai Yol finished in 3:09:59, qualifying him to run the 2006 Boston Marathon with one second to spare.

Gai Yol will be at the starting line again this April for what he expects to be the last time. On Monday afternoons, he trains with the track team at Clark University, where he is taking an English class. “This guy must be a natural because he can only fit in one or two runs a week due to his work and school schedule and still manages to pull off 20 mile runs without a problem,” said Lynch.

Although he is humble about his accomplishments, Gai Yol’s bedroom wall is like a shrine to the Boston Marathon. “He has many photographs as well as his completion certificates on [his wall,]” said Lynch. “He says they represent to him that he can achieve things he never dreamt of here.”

In May, Gai Yol will be traveling back to Kenya to reunite with his mother, whom he recently located after 18 years of not knowing where she was or even if she was alive. She currently lives in a refugee camp. “We are putting together a photo album of all his marathon photos and memorabilia for him to take with him,” said Lynch.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Red Sox & Boston Marathon

Everyone keeps an eye on two Red Sox games in April – Opening Day at Fenway and Patriots’ Day.

Fenway Park was open for business today. And the Red Sox sent fans home with a smile and a 5-3 victory over the Blue Jays.

Next Monday—Patriots’ Day, Marathon Monday—the BoSox will take on the Seattle Mariners at 11:05 am, the earliest starting time in Major League Baseball.

Today I thought I’d write a little about the Sox and direct you to a great article from redsoxconnection.com which examines the long tradition of the Sox playing at Fenway on Patriots' Day.

Every year on Marathon Monday, the Sox play a home game at Fenway Park starting at 11:05 a.m. When the game ends, the crowd empties into Kenmore Square to cheer as the leaders (and thousands of runners) pass mile 25.

A few months ago I was curious if a former Red Sox ever ran the Boston Marathon. I knew Red Sox’ wives like Shonda Shilling and Dawn Timlin have run Boston recently. But I thought maybe a player or two during their stint with the Sox may have caught Boston Marathon fever. Maybe a second baseman said to himself, “ When I retire, I will run the Boston Marathon!” I guess not -- I e-mailed resident Red Sox historian Dick Breschiani and he had not known of any player who traded spikes for Saucony’s on the third Monday in April.

Here’s an excellent article from redsoxconnection.com that tells you all you need to know about the Red Sox and their connection with Patriots' Day. Click here.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Boston Marathon event at Niketown Boston

Here's an event which should get you ready to tackle 26.2 miles.

It's called "The Marathon Authenticators Evening" at Niketown Boston and will take place this Friday, April14 from 8:30-10pm. There'll be food, giveways and some last minute words of advice from guest speakers Joan Benoit Samuelson, Meb Keflezighi, Alan Culpepper, and Jelena Prokopcuka.

For more details and to RSVP for up to three friends, e-mail bostonrsvp@nike.com.

Niketown Boston
200 Newbury Street

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Welcome to the Scream Tunnel

The tradition of Wellesley College students cheering marathoners began in 1897, the first year of the Boston Marathon.

If you’ve never experienced the “Scream Tunnel,” you’re in for an unforgettable experience. In 1982, Alberto Salazar said, “They (the Wellesley College women) were screaming so loudly it hurt.” Michael Goldstein, a runner from St. Louis, told author Hal Higdon(Boston: A Century of Running), “Two miles down the road, I decided to turn back and run the gauntlet again.”

I guess it’s really no longer a “tunnel” -- in 1995 the BAA started keeping Wellesley College spectators to only one side of the road. But it doesn’t matter. It’s still REAL LOUD!

Enjoy the “Scream Tunnel.” You’ll never forget it. But keep something left in the tank for the rest of your day. You’ll feel your pace pick up because of all the excitement, but stay calm. You’ve still got about a half-marathon in front of you.

Read more about Wellesley College’s Scream tunnel by clicking here

Saturday, April 08, 2006

A Rerun, a Forecast and Happy Feet

To all the readers who’ve just discovered my blog, welcome.
Today I wanted to reprint a blog entry from January 28, plus add a few items.

On Jan. 28 I checked out the Old Farmer’s Almanac to see what the forecast was for Marathon Monday. Here’s the entry from that day, including the Farmer’s Almanac forecast…

Blog entry from January 28, 2006…

What’s the forecast for this year’s Boston Marathon?

I know it’s still months away, but I was curious. So I checked out the Old Farmer’s Almanac. These folks have been predicting the weather since 1792 and say their results are “almost always very close to our traditional claim of 80%.”

Here’s what the almanac had to say about April 16-20 (the Boston Marathon is April 17):

Very warm, t-storms

Sunrise for April 17: 6am
Sunset: 7:28 pm

Another Run for the Hoses? Stay tuned.

Ok, so now with only 9 days before the 110th Boston Marathon, here’s what weather.com is forecasting for Monday, April 17…

Scattered Showers
Daytime High:54°F
Overnight Low:44°F
Probability of Precipitation: 60%
Wind: From the Northwest at 15 mph

Weather in New England can change in a minute so I’ll believe this forecast when I wake up on Marathon Monday.

Happy Feet
If you’re still looking for a great pair of socks to wear on Marathon Monday read on. I usually don’t recommend any products (and I’m sure not receiving any compensation from the company), but I have to tell you about some super socks.

I thought I had found the ultimate running socks in a pair of Ultimax Ironman socks until I discovered Balega socks. Just typing the word “Balega” reminds me of the first time I slipped on these soft, light, ultra-comfortable socks. Pick up a pair, give ’em a try on your next run, and see what you think. A pair of Balega socks cost about $10.

Friday, April 07, 2006

A few words from Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino

I guess Democrats are a little faster than Republicans. I e-mailed Mayor Thomas Menino (D) and Governor Mitt Romney (R) and asked them a bunch of questions about the Boston Marathon. Mayor Menino and his office got back to me first with this quote…

"I love Marathon Monday because I am always very proud of everyone who participates in the marathon. The time alone that is needed to devote to training can be daunting, but these runners go out there and give it their best and that is always exciting! It is a wonderful day to be in Boston and hopefully we will have good 'marathon' weather!"

Thomas M. Menino
Mayor of Boston

Thank you, Mayor.
Visit the city of Boston’s website at www.cityofboston.gov.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Sgt. Dan’s the Man!

Who ya gonna call when you need an enthusiastic, top-notch performance of the “Star- Spangled Banner” or “America the Beautiful”?

Sgt. Dan Clark.

Sgt. Dan has performed before Red Sox, Celtics, Patriots and Bruins games. He’s performed with the Boston Pops, and oh yeah, he’s performed before the start of the Boston Marathon... 17 times!!

I caught up with Sgt. Daniel Clark, aka “the Singing Trooper”, via e-mail and asked him a few questions about his schedule on marathon day and more.

What’s your favorite Boston Marathon memory?

The first time was exciting because at that time I was part of the State Police Motorcycle Unit that was working the race and my assignment was the lead female runner. Prior to the start of the race one of our Sergeants told the director, Guy Morse, about me who immediately invited me up to the podium to sing "America the Beautiful" with motorcycle helmet in hand. At that time a chorus from Hopkinton High was performing the National Anthem along with their band. After I sang, I once again mounted my Harley and worked the race.

What’s your schedule like on Marathon Monday?

Since that (first) time the entire race, including my role, has expanded. I still sing "America the Beautiful" before the start of the Wheelchair Competitors and I still sing the National Anthem at the start with the Hopkinton High School Band who are stationed on the gazebo while I perform on the starters’ platform. ( To accomplish this logistically is quite challenging!)

In recent years an additional extended patriotic performance was added for the "Runners Village" while the runners are preparing and waiting for the start.

Now in 2006 a new chapter will begin for me. This will be the first time I appear as (retired) Sgt Dan Clark "The Singing Trooper" former US Marine.

Have you ever run the Boston Marathon?

In 2002 I did run the Marathon immediately after my performances! I actually had my lycra on under my uniform, stretching while on the starter's platform, and was able to perform, change, and run the race. This proved to be very challenging because I normally expend a large amount of energy just in my performances. I was already down to about 80% before I took a step. I finished in 5 hours and what amazed me the most were the spectators along the route and the amount of sound that was generated by their cheering. I was especially impressed that they were still cheering for a 5 hour slug like me. It was as though it didn't matter whether you were #1 or #15,001 you still got the same applause. This experience gave me a new found respect for all of the athletes.

Over the years I have made many friendships that are too numerous to mention. I can't say enough about the BAA, Guy Morse, Dave McGillivray, and my friend Lt. William Coulter of the Mass State Police who inspired me to run and whose MANY hours of volunteer work get all the police running in this event. (I don't think people realize the amount of police actually on the course.)

What do you do after you perform on Marathon Day?

Well, I watch the race...of course!

Thanks, Dan. All the best on Marathon Monday. Visit Sgt. Dan’s website at www.dannyboy.us.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Get a head start

Avoid the rush at the Marathon Expo and sign up now for the Verizon Wireless Athlete Alert Program.

By registering, you can notify up to three friends and family members on your progress on the Boston Marathon course. They’ll receive automatic updates through email, mobile phone or pager.

So get your bib number and register now. It’s free! Click here for more information.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Start Me Up

At the first Boston Marathon an official scraped the heel of his shoe across the dirt road. Voila! There’s your starting line.

Today, Jacques Leduc paints the starting line. Born and bred in Hopkinton, LeDuc has been painting the starting line for years—and a few times he painted the finish line too!

LeDuc also paints a small crescent-shaped mark on the road next to the starting line, a special tribute to Race Director Dave McGillivray’s Moonlight run. The "Dave" image above was still at the starting line when I visited Hopkinton in February.

Read more about Jacques and his Boston Marathon artwork. Click here.

Monday, April 03, 2006

The Young and the Restless

Michael Hoffman of Newton, MA, is the youngest official runner in the 110th Boston Marathon. Runners must be at least 18 years of age on race day to compete. Hoffman will celebrate his 18th birthday on April 7th, ten days prior to the race.

Carlton Mendell of Windham, ME, is the oldest runner registered for the 110th Boston Marathon. Mendell is 84 years old, born October 19, 1921. He has competed in 28 consecutive Boston Marathons and finished in 6:38:35 last year.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

The "Spirit of the Marathon"

Keep an eye out for the new statue,"Spirit of the Marathon,"on the Boston Marathon course this year.

Created by sculptor Mico Kaufman, the statue is located at Mile 1 on land donated by Weston Nurseries, and only hundreds of yards from ‘Lucky Rock,’ the site of the 1946 Boston Marathon starting line. The bronze statue features 1946 Boston Marathon winner Stylianos Kyriakides and Spiridon Louis, the winner of the first Olympic marathon.

In 1946, Kyriakides ran Boston with a heavy heart. He narrowly escaped execution during World War II while the Nazis destroyed his country. Kyriakides was on a mission to win Boston and bring food, medicine and attention to his war-torn homeland.

After not running for 6 years and severely malnourished, Kyriakides beat Boston legend Johnny Kelley in a time of 2:29:27. Kyriakides returned to Greece with food, medicine, clothing and other essentials donated by Americans who read of his victory.

For more, click here.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Holliston to Nashville to Hopkinton

Grammy-nominated country music singer Jo Dee Messina will run the 110th Boston Marathon on Monday, April 17.

The Holliston, MA native completed the 2004 Rock ‘N’ Roll Half-Marathon in Arizona in 2:33. She also headlined the concert event at the Rock N’ Roll Marathon in 2002.