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Forecast: Be tough

Joan Benoit Samuelson, who won the Boston Marathon in 1979 and '83, has seen myriad weather conditions in her storied career, and she expects everyone to soldier on Monday.

"My first Boston [1979] wasn't easy," she said. "It was cold and it was raining at the end. I know [race director] Dave McGillivray really well, and I know he'll make the right decision. He has surrounded himself with all the important personnel who need to be involved in the decision. Everyone I've talked to who is coming in from away knows what the weather conditions are going to be. The BAA e-mailed all the runners to tell them it could be a really challenging event and to bring appropriate attire to run in. I think everything has been done that can be done. A decision will be made. People look forward to this event. If there's a question of harm, it will be taken into consideration, meaning a heavy snow and falling limbs and downed wires, but I think the brunt of the storm will be pushing out on Monday morning."

Samuelson said there also were less than optimum conditions when she ran the Falmouth Road Race.

"[Four years ago] when I came to the finish line, I was knee deep in water and it wasn't high tide," she said. "It was rainwater. Then I ran another 10K in Kalamazoo, Mich. There was a torrential downpour there as well. But the worst conditions I've seen for a running event was this past fall [Oct. 22] when our daughter [Abby, a freshman at Bates College] ran in the NESCAC championship at Harkness Memorial State Park [in Waterford, Conn.]. I have never seen conditions like that -- gale-force winds, driving rain, high tide, and tidal waters mixing with marsh water. It was so bad. I can't believe they actually held the event. Most of the runners wound up with a rash because of some organism that was in the water. It was really an amazing event. That was by far the worst weather for a running event I've ever seen."

Not all bad
American Peter Gilmore, who finished seventh in Boston last year in a personal-best time of 2 hours 12 minutes 45 seconds, said the worst conditions he's ever run in were in December 1997 at the US Cross-Country Championships in Portland, Ore. But as crazy as it was, he had a terrific time.

"Conditions were pretty similar to what it's going to be like on Monday if the forecast holds," said Gilmore. "It was very, very windy. It was blowing at 30 miles an hour at least. The windchill was down around 30, if not below, and it was off-and-on rain. I couldn't believe how cold it was when I got out of the car. I had probably the best race of my life that day."

He finished 15th.

"At the time, I was 20 years old, and to finish there and be that young, the guys around me in that race were considered much better than me at that point," said Gilmore. "That was a huge breakthrough."

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