Running in the 'Meda: The Boston Marathon

Running in the 'Meda: The Boston Marathon

Marty Beene

On Monday, over 30,000 people will show up in Hopkinton, Mass. for a little excursion into the big city known as the Boston Marathon. I reported on the results last year, when Meb Keflezighi became the first American to win the race since Greg Meyer in 1983. He'll wear bib number 1 this year, a special honor that is reserved for a race's winner from the previous year, and hopes to repeat. If he could win again, he would be the first American repeat winner since Bill Rodgers three-peated from 1978 to 1980.

Last year's seventh place woman, Shalane Flanagan, is back again this year, and has announced her hope to finish on the podium (top 3). If you remember, she led the race for a substantial distance last year, hoping to be the first American woman to win since Lisa Larsen Wiedenbach won in 1985. Flanagan tuned up with a 10,000-meter race down at Stanford a couple of weeks ago - her 31:09 time tells us that she's feeling pretty good right now, so stay tuned.

Of course, the Boston Marathon has a significant place in the history of women's running. Back in 1967, Katherine Switzer entered the race. She wrote "K. Switzer" on her application, and, since women weren't allowed to participate in road races at that time (weird, huh?), there was no place to indicate "male" or "female," so she was indeed issued a bib number. During the race, the race director spotted her and, in a bizarre sequence of events captured on film (because the race director was riding on the press truck) tried to grab her and pull her off the course. Given that her ex-football player boyfriend was running alongside her, that was probably a bad idea. The boyfriend body-checked the race director off onto the sidewalk, and Switzer finished the race without further violence. The Boston Athletic Association curiously reports this historic occurrence in a decidedly sugar-coated way on their page about the race's history - they seem to still be a little bitter about Switzer sneaking into their race.

There are a dozen Alamedans registered for the race, and you can track their progress on the Boston Athletic Association website. Two 'Medans are in the first wave, having run qualifying times under 3:11:00 (that's under 7:20 per mile!) - best of luck to Scott Deskin and John West for leading the way.

The oldest Islander running on Monday is 58-year-old Ruben Ramirez, while Kathryn Hofstetter is the youngest, at 30. Ramirez made it into Wave #2 (sub-3:30 qualifying time), along with Russell Dawson, Lisa Oyen, and Hallie Von Rock. Shelly Lampe, Emily McCallon, Trudi Seiwald, my friend Vanessa Yingling and Heather Zunguze will also be repping The 'Meda, so let's all send some good vibes to them.

The weather in Hopkinton is forecast to be pretty good for running on Monday - about 46 degrees at 10 a.m. with only a slight chance of rain (although many people enjoy running in the rain anyway). At the finish line in Boston, highs are expected to be in the high 50s with no more than a 30 percent chance of rain. Only light winds are forecast.

If you want to watch live video of the race, tune into the Boston Athletic Association's website on Monday morning to watch their live streaming coverage. The race is scheduled to start at 7:00 a.m. Pacific time.

Marty Beene, a USA Track & Field certified coach, is owner of Be The Runner; he coaches adults from beginners to veterans individually and in groups, and registration for his Mountain Running Retreat in June is now live - visit his website for more information. Marty, who ran a Boston qualifying time back in 2004, can be reached at marty@BeTheRunner.com.