The light, chilling rain splattered down on the pavement as Bill Rodgers and his
wife, Ellen, eased their way through the lingering Boston Marathon crowd in
Cleveland Circle at 3:45 yesterday afternoon. Out on the course a steady stream of
runners turned down Beacon street for the final four miles of the race.
"Jack," shouted Rodgers as he spotted newscaster Jack Hynes amid the group, but
there was no response as Hynes kept going, onward to the finish. His mission
accomplished with a record Boston run, Rodgers was walking slowly up Chestnut Hill
Avenue toward his store.
First, a few runners noticed him, all but stopping and shouting out, "Great race,
Bill." By now, the word was out and before he reached the entrance to his basement
store, the spectators had turned their backs on the runners, applauding the
Marathon Man on his journey home.
Up above in a balcony, a cluster of young people with beer bottles in hand saluted,
"Boston Billy." A couple under an umbrella stopped to shake his hand. "It's
embarrassing," said Rodgers as he finally disappeared behind a locked door of his
store, leaving the stage, once again, to the masses.
SHE STARTED TOO FAST BUT ENDED FIRST
By Lesley Visser
She stood freezing in a makeshift shower in the lower level of the Prudential
garage. Her lips were blue, her feet bare on the cold stone, her body shook from
the impact of 26 miles, 385 yards.
"I've been nervous for five weeks thinking about this," said 21-year-old Joan Bnoit
of Cape Elizabeth, Maine, after winning the women's division of the 83rd BAA in
2:35:15, shattering Liane Winter's 1975 record of 2:42:24 and setting an American
marathon record for women.
She set a six-minute pace for each mile, catching local favorite Patti Lyons of
Quincy at the start of Heartbreak Hill and coasting in alone from the middle of the
killing hills. Lyons, who averaged 110 miles a week in preparation, finished second
in 2:38:22 and Elizabeth Hassell of Australia was third.
"I went too fast," said Benoit, who ran only the second marathon of her life
yesterday. "When I heard I ran the first mile in 5:42 I said, 'Whoa.' Patti passed
me five miles out, but then around 13 miles I heard the Wellesley girls screaming.
Someone yelled I was 15 seconds behind Patti. Finally I caught her at Heartbreak
They ran together for a mile. Lyons, troubled by bursitis in her right foot, could
not stay with Benoit, but her time of 2:38:22 would have bettered any previous
marathon time by a woman.
"Joan wished me good luck," Lyons said, "but I knew I was in trouble 12 miles into
the race. This foot has been bothering me for over a month. If I hadn't had a
cortisone shot before the race, I would have dropped out after five miles."