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26.2 miles


Gabor Csanyi--The Tech

n Monday, over 11,000 athletes participated in the 101st running of the Boston Marathon to continue the history of the world's most prestigious marathon.

Cool temperatures and sunny skies made for ideal running conditions down most of the course. However, as the athletes approached Boston a very noticeable headwind made racing a bit more difficult.

In the men's race, a small pack of Kenyan and Mexican runners kept the lead for most of the course. After Heartbreak Hill in Newton, the pack began to spread out.

As in years past Kenyan runners dominated the race, winning nine of the top 15 places. The eventual first-place finisher Lameck Aguta of Kenya finished in a time of 2 hours 10 minutes 34 seconds.

He was closely followed by fellow Kenyan Joseph Kamau in a time of 2:10:46. Last year's top finisher Moses Tanui finished fifth in 2:11:38.

Mexican runners also made a strong showing in the race by capturing three of the top 15 positions. Dionicio Ceron took third in 2:10:59, German Silva took fourth in 2:11:21, and Andres Espinosa finished in 15th in 2:16:19.

Overall, Aguta said, "The race was very good. I enjoyed being out there with all the other great runners."

In the women's race, last summer's Olympic marathon champion, Fatuma Roba of Ethiopia dethroned three-time defending champion Uta Pippig of Germany in a time of 2:26:23. Her victory was the first for a black African woman in the Boston marathon.

Two South African runners rounded out the top three women finishers. Elana Meyer finished in second with a time of 2:27:09, while Colleen De Reuck took third in a time of 2:28:03. Pippig finished fourth in 2:28:51.

Roba looked relaxed for most of the race as she stayed with the lead pack of women that gradually diminished throughout the race. She finally broke open her lead after leaving the Newton Hills.

"I'm quite tired," Roba said,"but it looks like I'm not tired," indicating that the race was not as easy as she made it appear. Although she had doubts at the beginning of the race, she said that "When I arrived at that destination [the finish line], I was happy."

The men's wheelchair division was won by Franz Nietlispach of Switzerland in a time of 1:28:14. In the women's division, Louise Sauvage of Australia prevented seven-time winner Jean Driscoll of Champaign Ill., from winning her eighth consecutive title.

Sauvage crossed the line in 1:54:28. Driscoll whose chair caught in a trolley track at Cleveland Circle and overturned her chair onto the course, had race officials and state police help put her tire back on and finished the race in second with a time of 2:01:15.

MIT students enjoy the race

The marathon is so well known it attracts people from all over the country and the world. Many people choose to run it not just for the experience but to also challenge themselves on an intense course.

Even though most competitors in the marathon obtain official entries, thousands of others also run down the 26.2-mile course on marathon day. For those who run as bandits, which is how most MIT students participated in the race, they start from the back of the pack. This adds a couple of minutes to their times.

Charles C. Wykoff '98 ran the race together with three members from his fraternity for 16 miles until he broke away. It was his second marathon.

"The race was great," Wykoff said. "All the bands, kids, and staff along the way were cool."

Paula Glover, a registered runner from Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., said, "I've been running for 13 years and I've never been in anything like this before. The support was awesome."

"The sound through Wellesley was great," said Eve M. Phillips '98. As runners passed by Wellesley College, students cheered loudly, held up signs, and encouraged runners right before they hit the marathon's halfway point.

Competitors in the marathon were greeted by loud cheers from the thousands of spectators along the whole race course. The cheers helped give many an extra boost as they sought to achieve their personal goals for the course.

"The huge crowds and masses of runners made the first 15 miles pass by without even thinking of them,"said Robin M. Greenwood '98.

The cheers were great, said Matilde N. Kamiya '97, a first-time marathoner. "It helps a lot when you are weak on motivation, having people pushing you from behind."

There were also a lot of people along Commonwealth Avenue from MIT cheering on as well, Phillips said. Other runners also helped people down the course. "The voices of other people running were also helpful," Kamiya said.

The course itself is mostly downhill, starting at 490 feet above sea level in Hopkinton and finishing at 10 feet above sea level in Copley Square. The hills, which many people find the most challenging part of the course, come inNewton between miles 16 and 20.

"The hills were not as bad I thought they would be, they just came at a very difficult time in the course," Phillips said. "It was fun." Phillips said she would like to run it again next year.

"At 17.5 miles, you hit the hills for about four miles and they really hurt," Greenwood said. He was satisfied with his estimated time. "Overall, it was incredible."

"I thought it was awesome," said Mayleen Ting '99. "It's a pretty good feeling being able to say Iran 26 miles"

"It was probably the hardest thing I've ever done in terms of the levels of intensity," Kamiya said. "It will probably take me another decade to forget the pain."