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Boston Marathon, Monday, April 16, 2007

What’s so great about Boston? It’s not the weather. This year, on race day, it was cold and rainy, with constant headwinds of 15-30 mph and gusts to 46 mph. The running expo is great, with the best selection of running gear and inspirational speakers anywhere. The course is great, rolling, beautiful and historic. The runners are great, with many of the best amateur and professional runners from around the world gathering here again this year for the 111th Boston Marathon. But what is so great about the Boston Marathon? What is so great that I urge each and every TCLA member to run the Boston Marathon? It’s the people of Boston. It’s the Boston Athletic Association and the local town officials and local police and the thousands of volunteers who are there to assist the runners at every turn. The organization is great, every step of the way. Most of all, what makes the Boston Marathon so great is the incredible Boston Marathon fans who come out to support 20,000 strangers.
In Boston, the entire course is lined with fans that cheer for you. These fans care deeply about running and care deeply about each individual runner. They line the course from start to finish and scream their support for you as if you were a rock star. At the start, they say, “You are already a hero, you came out to run today.” They reach out to you, young and old, to give you five. At Wellesley, the college girls shout “You are my hero,” “Kiss Me,” “I love you,” and “Marry me!” Mostly they just scream so loud and so long that you can hear them half a mile away. This is why they call Wellesley “The Scream Tunnel.” At each and every town that you run into, you are greeted like a conquering hero. Fans scream your name, over and over. “Go, Mike!” As you enter the City of Boston, the crowds of fans get deeper, and the encouragement given to every runner is amazing. “You are doing great!” “Your legs look great!” “You’re almost there!” Groups of 10 or 15 start to chant your name: “Mike, Mike, Mike, Mike, Mike, Mike!” This year, they did all of this in the pouring rain, in the freezing cold, and in the gusting, howling winds.
This year TCLA sent 10 runners, including its first ever Boston Marathon teams. First for the TCLA Men’s Masters Marathon team, and first for TCLA overall by almost 12 minutes was 52 year old Boston Marathon veteran Frank Tai. Frank had an excellent starting position, with his toes directly in front of the timing mat when the gun went off. Frank is a consistent sub 2:50 marathoner, but leg cramping caused by the weather and the course conditions slowed him to a 3:12:43. Shortly behind Frank, Bill Korthof enjoyed his Boston experience, albeit a bit slower one than he wanted. Third for TCLA was Bruce Reisenfeld. Bruce improved on his Boston Marathon time from last year by five minutes. Peter Glassman was next for TCLA. Peter is a regular with the Coffee Bean Crew, and he expressed his appreciation to all of them “who have made going to Boston possible” for him.
Sitting in his car in Hopkinton at 7:00 a.m. with his wife Ruth and watching “sheets of rain dancing across the parking lot,” Dean Goodman heard “the newscasters describing the storm as a Category 2 hurricane.” His wife literally begged him not to run. More than 2000 registered entrants for the Boston Marathon this year decided not to run. But not Dean, and not any member of TCLA. Dean ran strong for 20 miles and then suffered in the final 10K, but still managed to run a Boston Qualifying time on a tough day in the middle of the biggest “Noreaster” storm in New England in 15 years. 25 seconds behind Dean was your author Michael Berger. 6 weeks earlier at the Los Angeles Marathon, I made a strong effort and had a good finish. I knew that at Boston I might have to pay for this strong effort at LA, and I did.
First woman for TCLA by 21 minutes was Jennifer Liu. Jennifer led the TCLA Woman’s Open Marathon Team and improved on her Boston Marathon time from last year by four minutes. Jennifer did not go out too fast, and actually negative split the course by two minutes. The next woman for TCLA was Gina Jamero. Gina “ran for fun” and said that she thoroughly enjoyed everything about the Boston Marathon long weekend, from her shopping spree at the expo and the great company at our TCLA/LA Leggers/LA-Tri Club Dinner on Saturday night at Legal Seafood, to the race and the “incredible fans” all along the course.
Wayne Joness ran the Boston Marathon in memory of his recently deceased sister, Jan. He carried her name and the date of her death on his running outfit, and the crowd support was “overwhelming.” Wayne struggled with leg and hip injuries in the second half of the race, but never thought of quitting. Like your author, Julie Gutman ran the LA Marathon 6 weeks before Boston, and like your author, Julie had to pay. Julie decided that a little Advil might help her effort, so she took 2 Advil just before the start of the Boston Marathon. Then, as she felt pain, she took 2 more and another 2 more and another 2 more. This eased the pain enough for her to turn in a good finish for her first Boston Marathon. Don’t try this yourself.
Special thanks to former single TCLA member and now married Boston resident Julie Kriger Ledwig. Every year, Julie stands at the foot of Heartbreak Hill and Cheers for TCLA and LA Legger runners, while holding a big sign just for us. This year, Julie gave me five, took my picture, and ran with me for about 100 yards. Julie, you rock! Special recognition to Bruce Reisenfeld’s family, who once again came out in force to support him. Bruce’s mom and his 2 twin brothers traveled back to Boston with Bruce and supported him and all of his TCLA teammates.
To those of you who have qualified for Boston and never run it, I urge you to try it. You will not be disappointed. To those of you who have yet to qualify for Boston, I hope that Boston dreams will motivate you all year long. The Boston Marathon is everything that you have heard and more. Next year in Boston!
Half Finish
Frank Tai 1:30:22 3:12:37
Bill Korthof 1:32:43 3:15:53
Bruce Reisenfeld 1:30:49 3:24:24
Peter Glassman 1:42:13 3:37:57
Dean Goodman 1:44:44 3:42:52
Michael Berger 1:45:43 3:43:17
Jennifer Liu 1:58:03 3:54:26
Gina Jamero 2:03:26 4:15:23
Wayne Jones 1:54:00 4:20:05
Julie Gutman 2:01:26 4:23:05


This article was written by Michael Berger and was originally published on the Track Club Los Angeles website.


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