Boston Marathon History!

Posted: April 4, 2012 in Uncategorized

This picture was taken in the Athlete’s Village before the 1979 Boston Marathon.  Yes…ahem, that’s me on the right in all black…it was during my Johnny Cash phase of marathoning.  The two friends with me were from Langley Air Force Base, Virginia.  I encountered them during my longest run at the time (7 miles).  They were running in front of me so I sped up and engaged them in conversation.

They told me they were tapering for the Richmond Newspaper Marathon the following weekend.  I remember asking them how far a marathon was.  When they indicated it was 26.2 miles I mentioned I would like to try it.  After learning that 7 miles was my longest run, they recommended I train for 4-6 months and complete several 20 mile runs.  They were surprised when I greeted them at the starting line a few days later.  They were even more surprised when I passed them both in the marathon and went on to run 2:59:55 and qualify for Boston.  The qualifying time in 1979 was 3 hours so I made it by 5 seconds!

And so began my marathoning career.  Less than a month later I ran 2:55:00 in the Marine Corps Marathon in Washinton, DC.  I thought it might be a good idea for a final tune-up before Boston so I ran the Virginia Beach Marathon in March (2:47:28).  With just under a month of recovery I ran Boston for the very first time…it was unbelievably special.  The finish line was at the Pru and I remember finishing and eating some type of hot sout on a military cot in the basement parking lot.  I finished in 2:48:35 and had never been happier to see the finish line of a marathon.

I eventually ran my fastest Boston in 2:38:44.

When I look back on that day in 1979, I never imagined that I would be returning 33 years later as a coach of 150 Marathon Coalition runners.  It’s been an amazing journey.  Running has been very, very good to me!

This is a recent picture of me racing in the Grafton Road Race…a lot has changed in all those years!

  1. applec says:

    That was an amazing post. How did you fuel your marathons back then?

    • Nearly 7 months later I just realized I didn’t respond to your question…my apologies. I relied entirely on water and would occasionally receive an orange slice late in the race…my how things have changed.


  2. I always relied on water exclusively and an occasional piece of candy. Today I rely on Hammer Nutrition Perpeteum, Hammer Nutrition Endurolytes and red licorice coated in salt.

    Thank you for following my blog.

    Coach Rick

  3. fullhousefullhandsfullhearts says:

    This is great Coach! I love the pictures and I love hearing about your marathon beginnings. I can’t wait to hear more of your stories. 🙂

    • Good Morning Erin,

      We sometimes have to look to our past to envision what is the best direction for our future. I look forward to being part of your first chapter in your Boston history. I have a feeling it’s going to be compelling and memorable.

      Your Coach,


  4. Coach Dion says:

    I love that, back in 1979 I watch the Two Oceans Marathon here in cape town for the first time, and is amazing. I’ve now run the 56km 11 times, but the last 2 years I’ve run a 20+km trail race the day before and watch friends/athletis run. it’s fun to look back over the years and see the stupid things we’ve done.

  5. Hello Coach Dion,

    Thank you for your comments and for following my blog. I loved your story about the Two Oceans Marathon. It’s amazing you’ve run 56km 11 times…great job! Sounds like you’ve make a festival and celebration of this ran now.

    I would love to visit Cape Town someday!


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