Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Bill Squires, The Boston Marathon and the Zoopy Zoopy

Bill Rodgers' win at the 1979 Boston Marathon wasn't surprising. He was the defending champion and had already twice been ranked the top marathoner in the world. Soon after Rodgers finished, however, things got stranger. Third place, in 2:12, went to Bob Hodge, who had entered the race with a 2:28 PR. Less than 2 minutes behind Hodge, Randy Thomas placed eighth, followed closely in 10th place by a full-time mailman named Dick Mahoney. Like Hodge, Mahoney wore a white and red singlet reading "Greater Boston Track Club." Rodgers and Thomas were also Greater Boston members. In a race in which Rodgers set a new course and American record, his club of the last several years had placed four runners in the top 10. If you scored the race as a team event, Greater Boston, a seat-of-the-pants club with a minimal budget, would have beaten all other countries, including the rest of the Americans.