Boston Marathon History

Posted: March 25, 2013 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 34 years later as a coach of over 200 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. Coach Dion says:

    Love the history, can still remember my first marathon back in 1989…

  2. Mark Lorden says:

    Oh, those memories, Ricksta! Having a full head of hair, getting away with wearing full split shorts (my sons cringe when they see those photos) and running shirtless down Rt. 28 on the Cape! Oh, and if my memory serves me correctly, that was beef stew that the used to serve in the dark and smelly confines of the Pru garage…

    • Marksta,

      You are correct on on fronts. I also remember the ‘smoke ’em if you got ’em comments we would make to all the smokers we passed. And I nursed several bowls of beef stew from the comfort of an army cot in the underground parking of the Prudential Center…those were the days!


  3. Kay Shanny says:

    Great post Coach Rick. Who needs hair when you have your world class smile?!?

  4. Sunny2Runner says:

    Awesome post! Amazing entry into the sport 🙂 Loved it as it got me more excited for Boston!

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