Tuesday, April 15, 2014

1964 Boston Marathon Movie Surfaces 50 Years Later: Nothing has Changed

Runner's World as part of its 2014 Boston Marathon coverage has found this incredible 1964 documentary(below). Erich Segal later author of Love Story and then a Harvard Prof, a 19 year old Harvard student, a former pro boxer, and many legends of the sport including the Johnny Kelleys the Younger and Older (who finishes well under 2:55 at age 56) are featured.

Some things never change:
  • The weather, 39 and snow/rain. The 19 year old says "perfect temperature" and finishes 19th.
  • Buses to the start, on the drive out Segal and the student have a hard time finding the Athlete's Village a k a the High School. The famous Jock Semple, BAA coach and the guy who tried to pull Katherine Switzer off the Boston course a few years later arguing with another race official at the buses. I remember him yelling and screaming as Race Director at Mt Washington in the 70's. Passion and...legendary temper
  • The nerves and anticipation on the bus and at the start. A helicopter can be heard overhead. A mob of press and spectators.
  • The "huge" field...400 from all over the world. 
  • Excellence: The winning time is 2:19, a runner from Belgium with a Finn and Canadian next. Segal in his 5th Boston is 63d in 2:56. The 19 year old Harvard student runs a record marathon for his age.
  • Running form looks pretty darn good at the front of the pack. The mid and rear packs could have been from a race today.
  • The Lennox Hotel at the finish with doormen helping the runners walk it off after the finish, clearly something that still happens at Boston
  • A clear front runner for the win and 2nd and 3d fighting it out to the line.
  • The stragglers including the boxer run by newsboys selling special editions featuring the race winners
  • The crowds huge on a terrible weather day. 

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