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Boston Marathon Course section


Hopkinton's revamped entrance was a just beginning

By Paul Harber, Globe Staff, 4/22/2003


Road rave
Zakharova takes women's title
Boston street smarts
Kimutai got over the hump
Runyan fifth after battle
Denisova knew her place: 2d
Hellebuyck leads the way
Ripp, Van Dyk: Spin control
Russian contingent was rushin'
Wellesley voices carry
Heart, sole are put to the test
Hopkinton's just the beginning
Pushing the human body
Up-close view for this father
Girl OK after wheelchair collision
In the running

R. Cheruiyot 2:10:11
Benjamin Kosgei Kimutai 2:10:34
Martin Lel 2:11:11
Timothy Cherigat 2:11:28
Christopher Cheboiboch 2:12:45
Fedor V. Ryzhov 2:15:29
Rodgers Rop 2:16:14
David Kiptum Busienei 2:16:16
Elly K. Rono 2:17:00
Eddy Hellebuyck 2:17:18
| Men's Top 25 |

Svetlana Zakharova 2:25:20
Lyubov Denisova 2:26:51
Joyce Chepchumba 2:27:20
Margaret Okaya 2:27:39
Marla Runyan 2:30:28
Albina Ivanova 2:30:57
Firaya Sultanova-Zhdanova 2:31:30
Milena Glusac 2:37:32
Jill Gaitenby 2:38:19
Esther Kiplagat 2:38:43
| Women's Top 25 |

Ernst F. Van Dyk1:28:32
Krige Schabort1:30:07
Kelly Smith 1:30:52
| Complete list (men & women) |

Christina Ripp1:54:47
Cheri A. Blauwet1:54:57
Edith Hunkeler1:56:54
| Complete list (men & women) |

Search BAA database of all finishers

HOPKINTON -- It took approximately 23 minutes for all of the official entrants to make it to the starting line of the Boston Marathon. It took another 7 minutes for the unofficial runners to make their way by the grandstand in front of Hopkinton Green.

By that time, the eventual winner, Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot, was passing the 10-kilometer mark.

Still, things went much smoother than past years, when the back half of the field could do little more than walk across the starting line.

This year, Marathon officials had the runners start out of a smaller chute, allowing them a running start, and then the course widened. Though it took longer to get to the starting line, the runners were not stalled in a traffic jam of Expressway proportions.

It was a perfect morning in Hopkinton. The sun was shining and the Green had a carnival atmosphere. The Hopkinton High School band played popular songs in the gazebo and the aroma of fried dough, sausages, and french fries wafted over the spectators.

The race's start marks the end of a long morning in Hopkinton. For 364 days a year, this leafy, clapboard bedroom community goes about its business out of the spotlight. However, on the third Monday in April, the town of 12,000 becomes marathon central.

The transformation begins in the predawn hours as police and media converge on the town green. Five hours before the noon start, runners begin to arrive at Hopkinton High School. One after another, they spill out of an endless procession of yellow buses from Boston, filling the Athletes' Village, a staging area for the race.

The makeshift village, located on Hopkinton High's athletic fields, is a five-minute walk from the starting line.

Two huge tents balance the village on either side, with a huge stage planted between the canvas structures. On three sides of the village are hundreds of Port-o-Lets.

Most of the runners spend more time here than they will running the race. Early arrivals stake out their territory, using plastic or cardboard as a buffer between them and the dew-covered turf. Some runners collect their thoughts; others read newspapers or make friendly conversation before enduring the 26-mile, 385-yard run in the afternoon sun.

The atmosphere is special for those in their first Boston race. Mary Alice Purcell, 45, a nurse from Bloomington, Minn., ran 26 marathons before she qualified for Boston last October.

''It's something I've always wanted to do,'' said Purcell. ''Most of my running has been in ice and snow. But I'm a Minnesota woman and we are a hardy bunch.''

Purcell was in foul territory, just off first base on the Hopkinton High baseball diamond, stretching her hamstrings on the chain-link fence. Herb Brown, 66, a retired attorney from Charlotte, N.C., happened to sit next to Purcell and struck up a conversation.

Like Purcell, Brown was stretching his hamstrings on the fence. And like Purcell, this was his first attempt at Boston.

''I've never been north of the Mason-Dixon Line,'' said Brown, who began running in 1982. ''I really wished my wife and I saw more of Boston. We arrived on Saturday and have been too busy with Marathon things like the Expo to see much of the city.

''However, there is one thing for sure: You people talk funny.''

Annie Hurley, 24, stood out among the first-time Boston runners. The English teacher from Deep River, Ontario, was dressed as Wonder Woman.

''It was my friend's idea,'' said Hurley, a graduate of the University of Guelph in Ontario. ''She had a scavenger hunt and we all had to dress up as superheroes. I thought it would be neat to run this race as a superhero.''

Hurley, who qualified by running a 3:37 in the Toronto Marathon last year, made the outfit herself.

''It's really a running suit, and I pinned some felt on it to look like Wonder Woman,'' she said.

Shawn Benjamin, 31, didn't mind the long wait for the start of the race. She savored the atmosphere.

''I'm running this for my father,'' said Benjamin, a teacher at the Shackleton School in Ashby. ''He used to run in this race more than 20 years ago.''

Benjamin was determined to finish, or at least make it to Heartbreak Hill because her students would be at Boston College waiting to cheer her on.

Dinty Moore -- not the stew but a 56-year-old realtor from Austin, Texas -- led a group of Texans here to ''experience the Boston Marathon. I just regret we didn't get T-shirts made up saying `Austin to Boston,' '' said Moore, who pinned two miniature flags -- an American flag and a Texas state flag -- to his hat. He had heard about Heartbreak Hill, ''but it can't be as bad as the Pike's Peak Run,'' said Moore. ''You want to talk about uphill? That race is all uphill.''

He was one of a half-dozen runners from Austin making their first visits to Boston.

''I've read so much about this race, and this is terrific,'' he said. ''We're savoring every minute.''

This story ran on page C5 of the Boston Globe on 4/22/2003.
© Copyright 2003 Globe Newspaper Company.

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