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Boston Marathon Course section

This year, Roche's story has legs

WBZ Radio reporter joins Marathon field

By Jim Greenidge, Globe Staff, 4/14/2000

Dan Roche of WBZ Radio (1030 AM) has covered plenty of Boston Marathons. This year's race is different for him, however. He's running in it, as is his wife, Pam. This is her second Boston Marathon, having finished last year's race in about 41/2 hours.

With his wife as his guide, Roche has made his way through a 16-week training program. His first run was 7-8 miles. After three weeks, they covered 20 miles together.

''We started in Kittery, Maine, ran through New Hampshire, and finished at Salisbury Beach, Mass.,'' said Roche, who covered the distance in 31/2 hours. ''And Sunday I went 10 miles, and now it cuts down from there.''

As for Monday's race, the 35-year-old Roche just hopes to finish. It was back on Thanksgiving, right after running a 5-mile race in Andover, that Roche began considering giving this year's Marathon a try.

''That's where they give you an apple pie for finishing the race,'' Roche said, chuckling.

He made up his mind at Christmas. ''It's a once-in-a-lifetime type of thing, something I can tell my kids that I once ran,'' he said. ''I've always wanted to run it to see what it's like, so I can look back and say, `I remember this, this, and this.' I have a lot of reasons for wanting to do it. You find out what you're made of.''

This is an unusual distance for Roche. He often gets involved in the Falmouth 7-miler as well as the Andover 5-miler.

He has lost about 20 pounds since he started training. ''It's something that I've set my mind to, and if you can do this, you can do anything,'' he said.

On your mark, get set ...

Channel 4 will cover the Marathon from 5-7 a.m., as well as 9 a.m.-4 p.m., with Bob Lobel hosting with three-time winner Uta Pippig. Alice Cook and Scott Wahle will preview the race from 9-11 a.m. and will be at the finish line from 3-4 p.m. Steve Burton will be at Heartbreak Hill, and Gary Tanguay will follow the wheelchair division.

Channel 5 will have Chet Curtis and Natalie Jacobson at the Lenox Hotel for the finish during the station's 9 a.m.-3 p.m. coverage, with Jacobson also covering the Hopkinton start. Joan Benoit, Bill Rodgers , and Marty Liquori will provide help along the way, as will Bob Molinatti, who has won the Los Angeles Marathon wheelchair division twice.

The Channel 5 newsroom will have coverage along the route: Mike Lynch with the men, Jack Harper with the women, Ed Harding on the women's wheelchair race, and Mike Dowling with the men's wheelchair race.

Channel 7 will have Marathon coverage within its news, starting from 5-7 a.m. Joe Amorosino will be at the start, Gary Gillis will be in the helicopter, and Gene Lavanchy will be at the finish line, with George Smith assisting with reactions.

There will also be plenty of assistance from Channel 7's news side, with Steve Cooper on the bus coverage on Tremont Street at 5 a.m., Teri Adler in Framingham, Garvin Thomas at Heartbreak Hill, Janet Wu in Kenmore Square, and Doug Luzader at the medical tent.

WBZ Radio will have coverage beginning with Gary LaPierre and Deb Lawlor at the starting line from 5-10 a.m. Gil Santos and sidekick Tom Cuddy will be at the finish line from 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Alongside will be expert Sharon Babbano for her 11th year in the long-distance broadcast.

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