A strong contingent of runners in my region, including outstanding Masters and Veteran runner Gary Grobman, quickly filled the Pennsylvania slots. Gary has been known to place first in the Masters category competing against talented runners 20 years his junior. He is also known to place first overall in the occasional 5K.
I first heard about this fundraiser through a Facebook post on the River Runners page, and it took just a few minutes to reserve my relay leg. This is significant, because without social media and affiliated advanced computer technology, this ambitious effort would likely have been doomed to failure. The entire organized running community has been very supportive, and the Internet has facilitated communication that was necessary to successfully fill up all of the legs, particularly those miles and miles from unpopulated areas. I was initially skeptical that this relay could be organized on such short notice, despite the experience of the organizers at managing similar events. So much could go wrong, such as injuries and weather. Runners and organizers found a way to overcome every seemingly insurmountable logistical hurdle.
My first Boston Marathon was in 1987. Very different race then. First, except for a few bibs given to municipalities and organizations that staffed the medical support, only elite marathoners could qualify. My qualifying time just to enter was under three hours, and one had to qualify each year rather then the case today when one marathon in the fall may qualify for two Bostons. There were perhaps 7,000 runners in that race compared to 25,000 now. The race started at noon, there was only one wave and all of the runners waited for the race to begin indoors at the high school in Hopkinton, out of the elements.
Winning medals nationally after I turned 55 gave me some confidence and motivation to do the training that is required to compete against some of the most talented, older athletes from around the world.
Gary will be far away from the roaring crowds of Boston as he takes the torch and runs 10 miles through rural Pennsylvania hamlets and countryside. He will be accompanied by a number of local runners, including a trio of my running friends and Boston training partners.
Donations for One Fund for Boston can be made through the One Run for Boston website. Look for a recap post following Gary’s date with the torch on June 27.