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Boston Marathon Course section


Where heart and sole are put to the test

By Tony Chamberlain, 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

NEWTON -- Just after noon, the expectation and noise were building. They had come in the thousands -- 10,000, a police sergeant said -- and once again lined both sides of Commonwealth Avenue in Newton in a series of three grades known collectively as Heartbreak Hill.

Some folks come to watch the struggle of man vs. miles, others to eat sweet Italian sausages, some to walk their dogs in the spring sunshine or just catch up with old friends. The reasons may vary, but when the police escort signals the arrival of the first wheelchair racers, the crowd has a common job to do.

''You ask these runners afterward,'' said Marie Ryan from Dorchester, who has watched the Boston Marathon for at least 30 years. ''A lot of them will tell you they couldn't make it up this hill without this crowd. That's why we're halfway up the hill, to help lift them.''

When the first wheelchairs arrive at the bottom of the last climb sometime after noon -- the racers' shoulders pumping in a kind of butterfly stroke -- the spectators break into mayhem that barely diminishes through the next three hours.

Next to appear are the running machines from Kenya, now so familiar in Boston streets that the crowd calls them by name as they flutter past, some of them smiling back, none of them appearing fazed in the least by this infamous stretch.

Bob Greene from South Boston and John Ratto from Dorchester can't remember how many years they've come to Heartbreak Hill. They meet here early and indulge in one of their great marathon delights.

''Sausages,'' said Ratto. ''Sweet Italian sausages with pepper and onion. We get our one sausage of the year before the race.''

Greene, retired from the printing business, remembers watching the great Clarence DeMar run these hills on his way to seven wins, the last in 1930. And he has a vivid memory of the first Korean winner, Yun Bok Suh in 1947. ''I bet he didn't weigh 100 pounds,'' said Greene.

But for some, the Boston Marathon memories were created as of yesterday. When Seattle native Jana Arnold decided to run Boston, her husband, Chris, and a half-dozen friends decided to make T-shirts and come cheer her on.

Heartbreak Hill, they figured, is where Jana would need the most help.

Tracking her progress via cellphone, Chris and the team were ready when his wife chugged up the hill at an 8-minute-mile pace wearing her own logo: ''Here comes Jana'' in front and ''There goes Jana'' on the back.

Having qualified by running a marathon in British Columbia under the 3:40 mark, Jana Arnold set her sights on Boston.

''She always considered this the Super Bowl of road races,'' said Chris, who occasionally runs a couple of miles with her at home, but confesses, ''I'd rather lift weights any day.''

There was a decidedly military theme woven into the Heartbreak Hill pageantry. Among the huge slogans scrawled in chalk on the street was one that read, ''Support our troops,'' and runners wearing red Marine shirts drew loud approval. At one point, a flag-bearing National Guard platoon marched up the hill -- again to enthusiastic cheers.

And still at her post after 27 years is Meg Malloy, a lifelong resident of Newton who supervises the first aid station at the top of Heartbreak Hill.

''We hope we see nothing and don't have to do anything all day,'' said Malloy, who supervises a staff of 17 volunteer nurses, medics, and doctors and remembers watching local stars from DeMar to Bill Rodgers and Joan Benoit Samuelson.

''The elite runners always go by all right,'' she said. ''Sometimes one of them will get some Vaseline for chafing. But after that you get the dehydration cases and the cramps. One time we had a man whose sneakers were full of blood. When we cut them off him, the bottoms of his feet were gone.'' No such calamity befell any of yesterday's 20,000 runners, some of whom were still clomping uphill as the late-afternoon shadows lengthened on Commonwealth Avenue. Said a numberless straggler as he walked unhurriedly to the final summit before the 4-mile sweep into Boston, ''They're cheering for me to start running again. Why don't they come out here and run and I'll stand there and cheer?''

At that, the feet shuffled a bit faster, and this disgruntled fellow, who said he had never run more than 5 miles, limped on toward the city shimmering in the distance, the infamous Heartbreak Hill blessedly behind him.

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

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