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Boston Marathon Course section

Any leftover energy doesn't go to waste

By Larry Tye, Globe Staff, 4/17/2001

ome kick off their shoes and head for a couch, bed, or any surface that's soft, flat, and let's them relieve their blistered dogs.

Others kick back a few brews, finally able to stop obsessing over what they put into or keep out of their stomachs.

And a few thousand thrill seekers actually kick up their heels on the dance floor, at the Boston Athletic Association party or one of their own.

However they get their kicks, all 15,606 official entries in yesterday's Boston Marathon shared some feelings after the race: Exhaustion. Elation. And a sense of enormous accomplishment, having just run farther than most fellow humans could walk or crawl.

''I'll go home and treat myself to a couple beers, soak in a bathtub, ice my feet a couple more times, and call my parents and my fiancee,'' said Brian Culley, who finished in an impressive 2 hours 31 minutes 9 seconds but ended up in the medical tent with a bag of ice soothing his throbbing foot. But Culley, who is from San Diego, can't take long to recover. His bachelor party is in two days and his wedding is Saturday. Then it's off to Belize for a honeymoon, followed by Ithaca in late May to begin an MBA program at Cornell.

''I'll be dancing,'' he joked, ''but not until my wedding night. I just hope I'll be able to walk down the aisle without falling over.''

When John O'Brien of Galway finished the Dublin Marathon a year ago, he headed out to party, but after yesterday's 2:47:50 finish here, he was in no mood to head anywhere but his hotel room.

''I ate some goo 2 miles out,'' he said, referring to the sticky mixture that many runners scarf down as an energy supplement. But it had O'Brien seeking relief in the medical area as he pointed to his seething stomach. ''I'll just relax tonight, I can't be doing anything.''

Bostonians have their own special ways of celebrating their 26.2-mile triumph on Marathon night. They don their BAA medal, wearing it outside their shirt or sweater so no one will miss it, then head out to their favorite restaurant or bar. They have buffet dinners (one in Cambridge hosted by an intrepid albeit banged-up distance runner used to be called a ''View the Body'' party) to reassure friends they made it through intact. Most of all, they get together with members of their running club to share food, drink, and stories.

''We have pasta and all kinds of food brought in by gourmet caterers - and now we can eat all we want to eat,'' said 65-year-old Harry Parsekian, a founding member of the L Street Running Club, as he headed to South Boston last night after completing his 19th consecutive Boston Marathon.

''On Tuesday,'' Parsekian added, ''our Noon Time Nuts group will meet at the Farragut House to tell marathon war stories, saying, `This is what happened there, this is what happened here.' The whole thing gets replayed. That's when the fish stories will come, but tonight we're too tired.''

Lynn Johnson of North Attleborough opted for a low-key after-marathon session following her 2:58:24. ''I'm going home to take a shower, sit, and rest,'' she said.

Ditto for Regina Birch Walzer of Connecticut, who said she was ''elated that I broke three hours. Now I'm going to eat and sleep like hell.''

Lon Bussell of Cincinnati didn't have much time to reflect on his 2:51:22 finish. He had to catch a plane home in time to get to work today as a musician with the Cincinnati Symphony.

Sam Hansell (2:50:30) also had to be to work today, in his case as an inspector with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in Pennsylvania.

''I have a six-hour drive ahead of me,'' he said as he walked down the end-line chute. ''But that doesn't matter. After finishing Boston, I could drive all night.''

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