Monday, April 16, 2007

Last Boston Marathon 2007

Monday, April 16th, 2007

The Noreaster didn't stop the runners today. Luckily, it wasn't too bad, with just a drizzle here and there, but there were occasional strong wind gusts. Surprisingly, the sun did make an appearance, however brief.

As this will probably be my last chance to photograph the Boston marathon, I decided to make my way to the infamous Heartbreak Hill in Newton, known for the last hill on the course between the 20 and 21st mile mark and historically named for John Kelley's "heartbreak" after he passed and tapped the shoulder of the lead runner nicknamed "Tarzan" on the hill, but eventually lost to Tarzan, who was probably fueled by the tap. I had been around the 26 mile mark 3 times already, so I wanted to mix it up. I picked a spot right before the top of the hill, several yards from Hammond Street.

I wasn't able to catch the winner of the push rim wheelchair, but rather those that followed.

The actual incline of the hill isn't drastic, but anyone who's run long distances knows that even a small incline can wreck havoc. Try it on a treadmill.

Here are the elite women's leaders near the top of Heartbreak Hill. The three of them had a big lead over the next runner.

#F6 - Lidiya Grigoryeva (RUS) won with a time of 2:29:18
#F2 - Jelena Prokopcuka (LAT) came in second with 2:29:58
#F4 - Madai Perez (MEX) came in third with 2:30:16

Here are the elite men leaders, running in a pack of seven. The drizzle started just as they were making their way to the top.

#1 - Robert K Cheruiyot (KEN) won with a time of 2:14:13
#11 - James Kwambai (KEN) came in second with 2:14:33
#7 - Stephen Kiogora (KEN) came in third with 2:14:47

Although this part of the course is not as popular as the finish line, there is that satisfying thought that the rest of the course, granted another 5+ miles, is downhill. So however small the crowd was, we rallied for the runners shouting, "Great job!" "Looking good!" and "Almost at the top!" These runners are crazy for torturing their bodies, but I have a lot of respect for their strength and determination.

The agony...

and the ecstacy...

And there were some notables:

The bet/wedding proposal...

"If I keep up with her, Jenn will marry me!"

...the unusual...

and eccentric... from the run, or the beer?...

...and sibling "rivalry"...

The supporters...

As I walked back to Boston, the crowds grew larger as I made my way to the heart of Boston College where the students were fantastic.

And we can't forget the volunteers...

Run runners run!

Congrats to all...

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