I decided to give the Boston Marathon another try in and placed a respectable fourteenth. I held fourth position for twenty miles and then just dropped back, finishing at 2: The top pack at Boston then usually included the same names, give or take a few newcomers: Galloway, Fleming, Vitale, Kelley, Drayton, and me.
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We were all very competitive, we all wanted to win. Fleming was the most serious. He never shared his training tips with us. They kept to themselves when it came down to winning, but at the same time we were all the best of friends. Heck, we saw each other all the time at other races or training runs. We kidded each other about our wins and losses but it was never malicious. It was a very hot day and once again the heat did me in, but Drayton went on to win. He could use them. By I was determined to win Boston. After two failed attempts, I needed a win. Once again, the press dismissed my chances of winning.
What they underestimated was my desire and my recent wins. You had to know your competition, how they ran, how they felt, how they breathed, and you had to pray to Mother Nature for the perfect day. A tailwind or headwind could make or break a winner. And if the field is particularly strong, the competition can be decimating. The weather on the morning of April 19, , was perfect: Wearing a white T-shirt with gbtc hand-painted on front in big, bold letters and a pair of white gardening gloves for the morning chill, I was ready.
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Tom Fleming gave me a headband to hold my hair out of my eyes. I really was a rogue runner. I talked to them, reasoning if they still had enough breath to speak, they could still kick at the end. All of this was very important to me because I planned to go like a bat out of hell and never stop or look back.
I did stop once to tie my shoe but only after I knew I was far out in front with no one on my heels. There were no water stations at Boston so I relied on my brother and Jason for my fluids. Everything worked in my favor that year and I set a Boston and an American record of 2: I went from running a 2: Fame came my way, but not money. I was still broke. Fred was always the promoter and thought it would be a big story having me and Frank Shorter run the race, competing for a win, plus the fact it was the first year his marathon was moving out of the boundaries of Central Park and through New York City.
I do remember running on the East River Drive Promenade, passing guys fishing or just plain drunk, not even realizing we were running a marathon. It was insane, but I loved it. The crowds were great in New York, and I fed off their energy.
I like running for the crowds, hearing them call my name, cheering for me. After that race, I went back to my car, which was parked on the street, and it had been towed. Fred had to take up a collection so I could get it back and drive home. After my marathon successes, Nike and New Balance offered me five hundred dollars to endorse their athletic line. I thought I was rich, had finally hit the jackpot. Things were beginning to look good. In I was ready for another victory at Boston and trained harder than ever.
It was a tough field that year and I knew I had to concentrate, run hard, and not look back. I held the lead for most of the race and just when I thought I was in the clear, a motorcycle cop came alongside me and alerted me that someone was fast on my heels. I panicked, it was like a bad dream. I surged forward with all I could muster and won by two seconds.
It was very nerve racking. The internal pressure to win was incredible. Once you taste a win, you want it again and again. I ran to be the best and back in the seventies we were the best. It was a feeling of patriotism that is missing today, as sports have become diluted with commercialism and million-dollar contracts.
I was very proud to be a member of the U. Nowadays I only run in one gear. I think of myself as a dependable car: In my past life as a marathoner I could never get to the start line injury-free. Now I know better.
Marathon tips from Bill Rodgers
I take care of the little injuries before they turn into big ones. And once a week I get a deep muscle massage. I still love going to races and being a spokesman for the sport. It brings me in contact with lots of great people and some very interesting situations. I was invited to the state of Washington to officiate a race and was asked to hand out the prizes. I love to do that. A huge scale was at the finish and as the winners weighed in, I had to load the other half of the scale with the salmon. All morning long I pulled huge salmon out of a box of chipped ice and threw the fish on the scale.
That was quite an event. These days, I usually win my age group in the half-marathon. Sometimes I do miss the marathon, especially when I attend the big expositions such as in New York or Boston. When people tell me they are thinking of running a marathon, I tell them to go for it.
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I give two pieces of advice: Go to a race and watch the crowd. You can learn a lot from just being an observer. Also, when you commit to a race, check out the last two miles of the course. Look for potholes, anything that could get in your way. The last two miles is not the time to be thinking about the course. Anyone who runs a marathon is on a mission, whether it is to win or to finish.
It is a neat achievement, very satisfying. The medal, the T-shirt, the trophy will stay with you always. Hendrick Ramaala RSA Meb Keflezighi USA Gebregziabher Gebremariam ETH Stanley Biwott KEN Ghirmay Ghebreslassie ERI Boston Marathon — men's winners. Lawrence Brignolia USA — Jack Caffery CAN Sammy Mellor USA John Lordan USA Michael Spring USA Frederick Lorz USA Timothy Ford USA Thomas Longboat CAN Thomas Morrissey USA Henri Renaud USA Fred Cameron CAN Michael Ryan USA Fritz Carlson USA James Duffy CAN Arthur Roth USA Bill Kennedy USA Carl Linder USA Peter Trivoulides GRE Frank Zuna USA — Charles Mellor USA James Henigan USA Paul de Bruyn GER Dave Komonen CAN Ellison Brown USA Walter Young CAN Joe Smith USA — Stylianos Kyriakides GRE Suh Yun-bok KOR Ham Kee-yong KOR Shigeki Tanaka JPN Mateo Flores GTM Keizo Yamada JPN Hideo Hamamura JPN Antti Viskari FIN Eino Oksanen FIN Eino Oksanen FIN — Kenji Kimihara JPN Amby Burfoot USA Yoshiaki Unetani JPN Ron Hill GBR Olavi Suomalainen FIN Jon Anderson USA Neil Cusack IRE Jack Fultz USA Jerome Drayton CAN — Toshihiko Seko JPN Greg Meyer USA — Geoff Smith GBR Abebe Mekonnen ETH Gelindo Bordin ITA — Ibrahim Hussein KEN — Moses Tanui KEN Lameck Aguta KEN Elijah Lagat KEN Lee Bong-ju KOR Timothy Cherigat KEN Hailu Negussie ETH — Deriba Merga ETH Wesley Korir KEN Lelisa Desisa ETH Amsterdam Marathon — men's winners.
Karel Lismont BEL Ferenc Szekeres HUN Cor Vriend NED Jose Reveyn BEL William Vanhuylenbroek BEL John Burra TAN Zerehune Gizaw ETH Tesfaye Tafa ETH Inocencio Miranda MEX Kenichi Suzuki JPN Tesfaye Eticha ETH Hisayuki Okawa JPN Sammy Korir KEN Fred Kiprop KEN Benjamin Kimutai KEN William Kipsang KEN Robert Cheboror KEN Solomon Busendich KEN Emmanuel Mutai KEN Paul Kirui KEN Gilbert Yegon KEN Getu Feleke ETH Wilson Chebet KEN Bernard Kipyego KEN Daniel Wanjiru KEN Stockholm Marathon — men's winners.
Jukka Toivola FIN Jeff Wells USA Hugh Jones GBR Agapius Masong TAN Tommy Persson SWE Kevin Forster GBR Suleiman Nyambui TAN Dave Clarke GBR Daniel Mbuli RSA Tesfaye Bekele ETH Benson Masya KEN Martin Ojuko KEN — Alfred Shemweta SWE Anders Szalkai SWE Josphat Chemjor KEN Joseph Riri KEN Kasirayi Sita ZIM — Philip Bandawe ZIM Willy Korir KEN Joseph Lagat KEN Shumi Gerbaba ETH Shume Gerbaba ETH Benjamin Bitok KEN Fukuoka Marathon — men's winners.
Toshikazu Wada JPN Saburo Yamada JPN Shinzo Koga JPN Shunji Koyanagi JPN Hiromi Haigo JPN Katsuo Nishida JPN Reinaldo Gorno ARG Kurao Hiroshima JPN Nobuyoshi Sadanaga JPN — Barry Magee NZL Pavel Kantorek TCH Toru Terasawa JPN Jeff Julian NZL Hidekuni Hiroshima JPN Mike Ryan NZL Jerome Drayton CAN Akio Usami JPN —