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Boston Marathon Course section

BAA adds fall half-marathon

By Barbara Huebner, Globe Staff, 4/13/2001

he Boston Athletic Association doesn't have the 105th Boston Marathon under its belt and already it's headed down a new road. Yesterday, it announced plans for a new race starting this fall.

On Sunday, Oct. 14, the first BAA Half Marathon is expected to begin in Franklin Park, wend its way through the Emerald Necklace system, and end up back at the park on the track in White Stadium. Part of each entry fee will be donated to the Emerald Necklace Conservancy for the beautification and maintenance of Frederick Law Olmstead's landmark park system.

Race director Dave McGillivray described the course as fast and rolling, with about 7 of the 13.1 miles on roadways and 6 on paths. ''It's not easy, it's not difficult,'' he said. ''It's honest.''

For at least the first year, he said, the field will be limited to 3,000, and there will be no prize money. Entry forms will be available June 15.

Will the race be around for awhile? Looks like it. ''I can't help but wonder what the race is going to be like 105 years from now,'' mused McGillivray.

Free injury clinic

Newton-Wellesley Hospital and the BAA are offering a free injury clinic to provide diagnosis and treatment of injuries or illness that result from participating in the marathon. The clinic will be offered Tuesday through Thursday from 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in the Wikstrom Surgical Center, 2014 Washington St., Newton. Marathon runners can walk in or make an appointment by calling the hospital's CareFinder line at 617-243-6383.

''Because many non-acute injuries and illnesses first become evident 24-72 hours after the event, it is imperative that runners have the opportunity to be evaluated and treated promptly,'' said Jim Zachazewski, Newton-Wellesley's Director of Rehabilitation Services.

Zachazewski said runners should consider coming to the clinic if they have any pain or swelling or are suffering from blisters, cuts, abrasions, or lacerations on their feet. Also, if a runner feels ill or has excessive fatigue, these could be symptoms of dehydration and should be promptly treated. If necessary, a physician may order X-rays and lab tests at no charge. Participants will also receive treatment, based on diagnosis, including braces, casts, and dressings.

Controlling emotions

Ever since countrywoman Fatuma Roba began her three-year streak of winning the women's race in 1997 (she finished third last year), enthusiastic Ethiopians have dashed from the sidelines onto Commonwealth Avenue to cheer their heroine, waving flags and running alongside her until they were breathless. From the beginning, there has been concern they might unwittingly interfere with the outcome, and with 2000 Olympic gold medalist Gezahegne Abera of Ethiopia among the men's favorites this year, the custom was likely to intensify. So, race officials have asked Ethiopian fans - as well as others, of course - to please stay off the roadway. Mesele Kifle, a committee member of the Ethiopian sports club, said the club has been making announcements on Boston's Ethiopian community radio program asking for fans' cooperation. ''We don't want anybody to be disqualified if there is body contact that could jeopardize the runners,'' he said ... The official number of entrants for Monday's race stands at 15,612 ... The Marathon and related activities this weekend are expected to bring $68.3 million into the area, according to the Greater Boston Convention & Visitor Bureau ... At first glance it seems like a quirky idea, but read on. As McGillivray and executive race director Guy Morse stood and watched the start of last year's race, they noticed runners bunching up and walking just after the starting line as they came to a narrowing in the road about 400 yards down course. The solution? Shrink the already-narrow starting line from 39 feet to 29, equal to the tapered spot in the road, thus creating a reverse-funnel effect. ''They'll be able to run more freely after they cross the starting line,'' McGillivray predicted ... Once again, Johnny Kelley will lead the race, riding in the official pace car. Kelley, 93, will also toss out the first pitch at Fenway Park Sunday before the Red Sox-Yankees game. Kelley completed the Marathon 58 times in his career, winning in 1935 and 1945.

Marvin Pave of the Globe Staff contributed to this report; material from the Associated Press was used.

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