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Boston Marathon Course section

Faces in the crowd

By Marvin Pave, Globe Staff, 4/14/2000

ou won't find Martin Duffy, Adam Ellis, Paula Garland, Eric Hall, Rob Kerwin, or Pam Silver in the winner's circle or collecting a big paycheck Monday. But that is not the motivation behind their months of training for this year's Boston Marathon.

They are typical faces in the crowd among the 17,441 official entrants for Boston 2000, people running for the experience, the ambience, the challenge, or a special cause.

Martin Duffy Martin Duffy in his Boston office. (Globe Staff Photo / David L. Ryan)    

A Belmont resident and business strategist with the Perseus Group of Boston, Duffy has completed 30 consecutive Boston Marathons, including the one five years ago in which at the 2-mile mark, he recalled, ''I knew something was wrong.''

Duffy later learned he ran 26 miles on a broken foot. ''After running the 2 miles,'' he said, ''I divided that race into sections of 6 miles, with each segment a challenge to get through. And somehow I did.''

Ellis, who runs his family's insurance business in Natick and Franklin and resides in Sharon, is a wheelchair entrant who is making his first appearance in Boston since 1996. Between business life and renovations of his home, Ellis, who also plays with the Boston Pitbulls wheelchair rugby team, has found it difficult to train the past few years. ''But I wanted to give it another shot,'' he said. ''My fiancee, Cyndy Sobie, is a triathlete, and she encouraged me to enter Boston this year as part of an overall fitness program.''

Garland, a contract programmer with Fidelity Investments of Boston, lives in Hopkinton - about 2 miles from the starting line. A former high school track athlete, Garland ran a marathon in Maui with her husband, Walter (he's competing as well Monday as a time-waived runner), just a few weeks ago, ''so I'd be happy this year with anything under 3:40,'' said Garland, who grew up in Acton and moved back to Massachusetts from Minnesota two years ago. Garland, along with close friend Marianne Short, qualified for Boston for the first time in 1996 at the Twin Cities Marathon in Minnesota. Short will hit the starting line in Hopkinton with Garland.

An environmental engineer with the Environmental Protection Agency and a Newton resident, Hall had hoped to run Boston with his wife, Debbie, for the sixth time. But a hip injury incurred last month will keep her away from the starting line. ''It's too bad, because she qualified last year in Lowell,'' said Hall. But he knows it's not all about race day in his family. ''Running for us is a way to stay and shape and meet challenges,'' said Hall, whose three daughters, Rachel, Amy, and Sarah, all ran track at Newton South High. ''More than the actual event is the months of training and preparation. It takes a certain amount of discipline, whether you're world-class or just slow like me.''

Kerwin, a member of the Parkway Running Club in his West Roxbury neighborhood, is a busy man these days. He's not only gearing up for his fourth Boston Marathon, but as third-year president of the Friends of Brandeis University Athletics, he's been busy preparing with 40-plus Friends members for tomorrow's Athletic Hall of Fame ceremonies on the Waltham campus. ''I'll be running this year in honor of our two children, Lyndsay, 8, and James, 10, but my daughter has made me promise to finish before everyone has to go to dinner,'' said Kerwin, a partner in the Boston law firm of Tarlow, Breed, Hart, Murphy, and Rodgers. The last of those partners is Bill Rodgers - no, not the great marathoner, but a longtime friend from Kerwin's days at Northeastern University School of Law.

    Pam Silver Pam Silver at work at Dana Farber with some of her coworkers holding last year's banner. (Globe Staff Photo / David L. Ryan)

Running as part of the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge team for the second consecutive year has special meaning for Silver, a Cambridge resident, who is a professor at Harvard Medical School and a researcher at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. ''I used to think that people who [ran marathons] were crazy, but now that I'm one of them, I'm totally addicted to it,'' said Silver, who was a competitive swimmer growing up in California. ''Because I'm in research, I don't get to meet that many people at work. But since we train as a group, I've met the most interesting cross-section of people. Many of them have battled cancer, and it puts what I do as a researcher in a whole different perspective.''

These six are a microcosm of the majority of the Boston Marathon field - competing not with each other, but striving for a goal in a celebration of fitness, camaraderie, tradition, and the spirit of giving. Their Marathon Day experiences will be reported in Tuesday's Globe.

Martin Duffy: Economist, consultant

Duffy's running days date back to Durfee High in Fall River where he was captain of the track team. At Tufts University, because he carried six courses, he couldn't continue his track career, preferring to crack the books and save his scholarship.

''It seems I've always run,'' said the 59-year-old Duffy. ''My first Boston time was 3:02.14 in 1970, and I remember when Johnny Kelley passed me in the last mile the crowd was cheering furiously for him. I was 30 and he was 60, so I passed him again,'' said Duffy.

Duffy, who has run marathons in New York and Philadelphia, posted a personal best at the Ocean State Marathon in Rhode Island in 1981 (2:37.11), finishing second in the Masters Division - ''by 2 feet, maybe less, behind the winner.''

Duffy's wife, Rusty Stieff, ran in the first US women's Olympic qualifying marathon in 1984 and has run Boston seven times.

''Her feet are retired now,'' said Duffy, a member of the Cambridge Sports Union, who hopes to break 3:30 this year. The couple have two children, Kate, a school teacher in Hingham and 7-year-old Bree, a first-grader at the Burbank School in Belmont.

Friends have produced a commemorative T-shirt. The front says:

''Martin Duffy - 31 Consecutive Boston Marathons - 2000.'' On the back, is ''Gehrig 2130 Ripken 2632 Duffy 31.''

Rob Kerwin: Attorney

Kerwin, 43, a native of Quincy, attended BC High, where he was on the varsity swimming team and also played football and ran track. At Brandeis, he played varsity lacrosse and was captain of the swimming team.

''My brother and I put our names in a lottery to enter [the 100th running in 1996], pretty much on a dare,'' he said, ''and we got our official numbers.

''We joined the Parkway Running Club so we could train and I've been running with them ever since. This will be my fifth marathon, four in Boston and one in Dublin two years ago when I visited my cousins who live there. They stationed themselves at the finish line, so that I wouldn't shame the family. I had to finish.''

Kerwin, whose personal best is 4:10, says Parkway is a big part of his life. ''We hold an annual Christmas race to benefit causes like Globe Santa and the Italian Home for Children,'' said Kerwin, who handles business disputes for his law firm's corporate and municipal clients. ''

Kerwin, who credits his wife, Janice, for some expert coaching, said his goal is to ''finish under four hours, hope I can remember my name at the finish line, and then join my Parkway friends by 7 p.m. at the Dogwood Cafe in Forest Hills for a postrace bragging session.

Adam Ellis: Insurance executive

Adam Ellis Adam Ellis is entered in the wheelchair division.(Globe Staff Photo / Bill Greene)    

Ellis, 29, is a graduate of Dover-Sherborn High, where he was captain of the cross-country ski team. But following his junior year at Gettysburg College, he suffered a broken neck in an automobile accident. Ellis had surgery to fuse cervical vertebrae and underwent three months of rehabilitation at University Hospital in Boston.

Ellis, who has the use of his hands and arms, started playing wheelchair rubgby even before his discharge from University Hospital. ''I loved it. It's a great team sport,'' said Ellis, who has traveled to California and Canada to play in tournaments. He took up wheelchair racing in 1993, and the following year, after getting his first racing chair, from Bob Hall, he entered his first wheelchair marathon in Las Vegas.

''I hated it. It started at 6 a.m. in the middle of the desert. It was dark and cold, but it qualified me for Boston,'' he said. He competed in Boston in 1994, 1995, and 1996 with a personal best of 2:02 in 1994.

His fiance, who is from Canada, met Ellis while working with the rugby club and they will be married Aug. 5 in Weston.

His goal this year is to break 2:15 and he plans to compete in New York and possibly, Havana, later this year. His eventual goal is to break two hours.

''Being a cross-country skier and mountain biker before my accident helped me as a wheelchair athlete. Those sports require endurance, and the training is very similar because you've got to put in the miles and the time,'' said Ellis, a scuba diver who volunteers with the Easter Seals swimming program and is a consultant with Wheelchair Sports and Recreation of Quincy, a nonprofit organization that works with newly-injured individuals.

Paula Garland: Contract programmer

    Paula Garland Paula Garland runs along a trail in Hopkington as she trains for the 2000 Boston Marathon. (Globe Staff Photo / John Bohn)

She grew up in Acton, but when Garland, 41, was a high school sophomore, her family moved to Tennessee. She became a member of the track team at Dixon County High, specializing in the 440 and mile relay. ''I tried to make the track team at the University of Tennessee, but I lacked the discipline,'' said Garland, who will be running in her fourth Boston Marathon. ''I continued to run on and off after that, but really didn't get back into it until the early '90s.''

Finishing her first of 16 marathons, at Twin Cities in 1995, she said, ''was such an incredible sense of acomplishment. I will never forget that moment. I was hooked.''

Garland and her husband, whose goal is to run a marathon in every state, joined the Greater Framingham Running Club when they moved to Massachusetts. ''Within that club, we're members of what they affectionately call the `Old Lame Dog's Running Society.' We're also members of the BAA Running Club,'' said Garland. ''We're also fortunate to have a group of friends from Ashland to run with on weekday mornings. Our house in Hopkinton is situated between Ashland State Park and Hopkinton State Park, so we have a great trail system close to home.''

Eric Hall: Environmental engineer

Agraduate of Barnstable High, where he played varsity soccer and hockey, and of Tufts University, Hall was inspired to start running after his wife gave birth to their third daughter. ''Debbie took up running to regain her fitness and it looked like she was having fun. So I joined her,'' said Hall, 53.

Hall, who works in the Environmental Protection Agency's Boston office, specializing in waste water discharge enforcement, ran his first road race 20 years ago in the ''Temple Trot,'' a neighborhood race sponsored by a synagogue in Newton ''and it was a painful experience,'' said Hall. ''But it piqued my interest. People were having fun, even though it was exhausting but exhilarating. I knew I would have to work harder to get better.''

Since then, he has participated in races as far away as Washington, D.C., where one of his daughters went to college. The Halls, BAA Running Club members who have finished all five Boston Marathons they've entered together, are hosting a Belgian runner, Chris Verbeek, this weekend.

Hall's best Boston time was 3:10 in 1986 and his personal best marathon was 3:02 at the old Boston Peace Marathon (Concord-Carlisle to Government Center) in 1987. This will be Hall's 14th Boston Marathon and his goal is to finish in under 3:20 (he ran 3:18 last year).

Daughter Sarah, meanwhile, has moved on from Newton South High and is a member of the Haverford (Pa.) College cross-country and outdoor track teams. ''The whole famiy has run 10Ks together,'' said Hall, ''but none of us is waiting for a call from the US Olympic team.''

Pam Silver: Professor, researcher

Silver's research at Dana-Farber focuses on cell biology, the study of the way both normal and cancer cells organize and divide. ''Research is very intense,'' said Silver, 47, ''and you think about it all the time. Sometimes it's like trying to find a needle in a haystack and can be very frustrating, but when you go out running with all these positive people, it gives you a new outlook.''

A tenured professor at Harvard Medical School, Silver is excited about her research and her running. ''As a researcher, I've found ways to image the movement of proteins inside cells, which are novel findings. This approach is used by many laboratories around the world,'' she said. ''I have several graduate students who do research in my laboratory and, two years ago, one of them ran the Marathon for the Leukemia Society. It looked like such a great time it got me interested.''

Silver had been an investigator with the Claudia Adams Barr Program in Innovative Cancer Research, the direct recipient of an estimated $2 million that is expected to be raised through pledges by Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge runners from 20 states.

''Last year was my first year and I finished under five hours,'' said Silver, a graduate of the University of California who moved to Boston in 1982 and spent time as a professor at Princeton before returning here seven years ago. She trains three days a week and recently completed the group's 22-mile run from Hopkinton to Boston College.

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