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Boston lures Rodgers back

By Barbara Huebner, Globe Staff, 10/6/99

lthough road running legend Bill Rodgers still competes at shorter distances -- frequently winning his age group -- the four-time Boston winner retired from marathoning seven years ago.

Come April 19, he'll be back. At a news conference this morning to formally kick off preparations for the 103d Boston Marathon, it is expected to be announced that Rodgers will not only run but mount an assault on the record books that will give his multitude of fans something to cheer for again on Patriots Day.

Except for a ceremonial appearance in the 100th Boston Marathon in 1997, Rodgers has not run here since 1990.

Rodgers, 51, said yesterday he is looking to get one, two, or perhaps even three American records in the veterans division: the American record in Boston (2 hours 31 minutes 34 seconds), the course record (2:27:17), and the overall point-to-point record by an American (2:25:46). In 1990, he finished Boston in 2:20:46; in 1979, he won in his fastest time here, 2:09:27.

"I don't know if I can get any of those records, but I'm going to give it a try,'' Rodgers said from his home in Sherborn. "To be the fastest American over 50, I would love to be able to do that. I'm nervous but psyched about it.''

Rodgers, who already holds a slew of US masters (40-49) records at distances from 8 to 30 kilometers, will be sponsored by Ronzoni Pasta, for whom he also will make appearances promoting nutrition, exercise, and goal-setting for those over 50.

Sponsored by