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Qualifying times may be revisited

By Barbara Huebner, Globe Staff, 4/16/2001

n keeping with the qualifying times required for entry into the Boston Marathon, a man between the ages of 18 and 34 has to run a marathon in no more than 3 hours 10 minutes; for a woman, it's 3:40. From 35 and up, age groups jump in five-year increments, with men 70 and older needing a 3:50 and women a 4:20 to qualify.

Seems fair, no? Well ...

According to age-graded tables published by the World Association of Veteran Athletes, a 3:50 marathon by a 70-year-old is equivalent to a 2:53:30 marathon by a man 18-34. That means a 70-year-old has to run, in essence, 161/2 minutes faster. A 70-year-old woman has to run almost 33 minutes faster than her youngest counterparts. The difference for those 60-69 is similarly out of whack.

A number of officials at the Boston Athletic Association agreed it's probably time to look at the standards for those 60 and older, especially now that runners continue running later in life. Of the field today, 376 runners - 337 men and 39 women - are over 60.

A bit of advice

Bill Rodgers, who won here four times (1975, 1978-1980), had some advice for the young Americans, particularly Boston rookies Josh Cox and Todd Reeser: ''The dangerous thing here is to go out too hard,'' he said. ''I always worry about first-timers, because I failed in my first time here.'' In 1973, Rodgers dropped out at around 21 miles ... A new road race, to benefit Somerville-based Farm Aid, was announced yesterday by singer Willie Nelson at the Hard Rock Cafe. Called the Willie Nelson 10K for Farm Aid, presented by New Balance, it will be held in Austin, Texas, Oct. 21, and feature a postrace concert by Nelson. Founded by Nelson, Neil Young, and John Mellencamp, Farm Aid has raised $16 million since 1985 to help family farmers ... At 93, Johnny Kelley still can throw a mean breaking ball. Yesterday, Kelley - who finished the Marathon 58 times - threw out the ceremonial first pitch at Fenway Park to Brian Daubach, his favorite player .. The top American woman in today's field is Susannah Beck, 32, of Oregon, who was a fourth-place finisher in last year's Olympic Trials (2:36:46) in only her second marathon.

'Miracle Marathon'

Stylianos Kyriakides of Greece won the 1946 Boston Marathon in 2:29:27, beating his friend Kelley and using his victory to gain material support for his war-torn country in the aftermath of World War II. Andy Dabilis, a Globe editor, and co-author Nick Tsiotos have written a new book, ''Running with Pheidippides: Stylianos Kyriakides and the Miracle Marathon,'' documenting how he became a national hero in the process.

This story ran on page D10 of the Boston Globe on 4/16/2001.
© Copyright 2001 Globe Newspaper Company.

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