Deep thoughts, behind the scenes in Boston, by Larry Eder

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Ryan Hall, 2010 Boston Marathon, photo by

Did you know that Ryan Hall donated all of his Boston winnings to
his foundation? This is my favorite column to write. After a nearly a
week of stayingin Boston for the build to the marathon, I have had meetings with
various footwear brands, sponsors, coaches, athletes and agents.
Here are a few of the things going on behind the scenes....

Meb Keflezighi, 2010 Boston Marathon, fifth place, 2:09:26, photo

Meb is the 2004 Olympic silver medalist in the marathon. I was there, and it was
absolutely horrid conditions for the marathon. What Stefano Baldini and Meb
Keflezighi did to that field was gutty: we are going to run hard, and make you
so miserable that you either will beat us, or be beaten.

When Meb won ING NYCM, he ran the smartest race! In Boston, Meb gets the
MOST UNDERRATED PERFORMANCE. Meb was running at 90 percent,
as one of his knees was painful after runs. Meb had told the handful of
select media at the Nike Summit that he would run his best on Sunday, and
then take a few weeks off. Well, Meb ran all of the tangents on the course,
which saved him about thirty seconds. He also stayed close to all of the big
moves, keeping himself in the hunt until about mile 24. That he missed
his personal best is just a testament to his toughness!  Meb is announcing,
Wednesday, April 21, his new foundation. He wants to support kids to balance
fitness and academics, and support kids who have not had his opportunities. Meb,
to me, is the American dream.

Deriba Merga versus Robert Cheruiyot, 2010 Boston, photo by

The reason the race was fast..Deriba Merga.Deriba Merga could have sat back,
twiddled his thumbs, watched the pretty women, but no, he dropped a 4:34 mile
between mile 9-10. Cheruiyot and Hall responded. Deriba broke the race open
and pushed until Robert Cheruiyot and him were the only guys in site. The
defending champion ended up dropping back to third, in 2:08:39, totally exhausted,
as Robert Cheruiyot had a few tricks up his sleeves.

Boston was fast this year, because the elite runners actually raced. There are times,
it seems, that some marathoners came into this race to almost start their year. To
run, one must, know the course, practice the course, and yes, like Ryan and Meb,
run those tangents. If you watched those two on the course, they saved thirty seconds
with that running.

Tatyana Pushkareva, second place, 2010 Boston, photos

Tatyana has been running marathons since 2008. She was
third in the Russian Junior 10k champs in 34:11, before she
ran her first marathon in 2008. She has run marathons in
San Antonio, Austin, and now, Boston.

In this race, when Tayba Erkesso began to falter, between
21-22, Pushkareva, a former competitive ballroom dancer,
cut the lead from 90 seconds to four seconds over the
agonizingly close last 100 meters! Pushkareva ran
a near four minute personal best in only her fifth
marathon. She will run faster!

Teyba Erkesso, 2010 Boston winner, photos by

In between mile 12-13, Teyba Erkesso and Dire Tune began to battle.
The battle was shortlived, as Tune had some stomach ailment and
dropped out around 18 miles. Erkesso ran 5:29, 5:29, then a 5:06,
which broke the race open.

When Erkesso hit 20 miles in 1:50:55, her gutty performance had
broken the field, as she lead by 90 seconds. Teyba started getting
sick, probably from a sports drink, around 22-22, and Pushkareva
cut the lead from 90 seconds to four!

Somehow, Teyba Erkesso held on and became the 2010 champion.
She told us later, " I continue my escape. When I see lady coming, I
used my powers to push to win the race. I had sore stomach."

Robert Cheruiyot, 2010 champion, photo by

Robert Cheruiyot had run started four marathons, finished three. His
best is a 2:06:21, and he has one win under his belt, plus a 2:10 for
fifth in Boston last year. " I wanted to improve on my 2:10 from last

Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot is the youngest victor at Boston since one
Amby Burfoot, who won in 1968.

Early in the race, around seven miles, there was sixteen men in the pack,
and Robert was pushed off the course, off the road, into the crowd. Robert
got back on course, and kept running. One media outlet, apparently looking for
a hook, checked with USATF officials and the BAA regarding the possible infraction.
But there was NO INFRACTION. If one checks the pictures, it is obvious that
Robert gained no benefit from the push, and there were NO PROTESTS. However,
since it is harder to tell the story of one of the most competitive races in
Boston history on TV, one station featured the possible infraction on their
eleven PM news. I always thought that, in journalism, if our assumptions were
proven wrong, we went on...

During the press conferences, one reporter asked Robert if he would purchase any cows with his winnings. Robert thought for a moment and noted that he might purchase some
cows with his winnings. This comment was heard on ESPN 2 by this writer last night!

BEST FOLLOW UP QUESTION: 1968 Winner Amby Burfoot was asking Ryan Hall some
questions, and added, " Ryan, will you be buying any cows with your winnings? " Ryan replied in the negative.

Ryan Hall runs Wellesly, 2010 Boston Marathon, photo by

Ryan Hall is a talented runner. However, I am not sure if he is having a conversion
or running a marathon. His concern about having a lighter attitude is fine, but he is
an elite marathoner, with a God given talent. If one considers God the giver of gifts,
then why would won behave frivolously on such a course as Boston and miss an
opportunity to show how far those talents have gone?

I think Ryan Hall is a fine young man. I respect his faith and his talent. I also love that
he wants to give something back to his sport, his faith and his world. However, I do not
know of a Creator who would not understand a bit more focus, running those tangents,
getting mixed up in the race, and winning it. Those extra few hundred thousand bucks
he would win, could then be put into a foundation. In my mind, Mr. Hall needs to get
rid of his darn watch during the races and race with vigor, he can have the joy after the

It was noted by Roger Robinson, one of our sports finest writers, and a professor of English literature (he wrote Heroes & Sparrows, one of the BEST books of essays ever on our sport),
that Ryan tapped his watch five times in a two minute period. The watch has got to go.

Some facts & figures from Boston:

25th year that John Hancock has been presenting sponsor of Boston, which, quite frankly,
took Boston into the new era. The level of professionalism shown by JH and their team should
be a lesson for all presenting sponsors. The event is an icon in our sport, and it looks healthy for many years to come!

23,126 runners started, 22,940 runners finished the 2010 Boston marathon! 98 percent finish
percentage. Second highest number of starters, next to 1996 race.

11,328 women ran Boston this year, largest numbers for women ever at Boston.

1,326 were treated in tents, 42 sent to hospitals, 8 stayed overnight, all are doing fine.

Gelindo Biordin, with racing partner, 2010 Boston Marathon, photo by

Deep thoughts from Gelindo Biordin....

In 1988, when Gelindo Biordin won the Olympics, it was an epic race. Biordin had this ability to come from behind (as he did medaling in Europeans), and the races were something to behold. Gelindo is the ONLY Olympic gold medalist to win Boston after his Olympic gold medal. Gelindo won in 1990.

During the race, he had a bad patch and found a beautiful women for inspiration,
"I found a beautiful women, it was a beautiful day!" Gelindo noted that Boston
respects all of its runners, from elite to the middle of the pack. Biordin ran 3:21
on his thirtieth anniversary of his win! Not bad for twenty years later!

His comments on the course and Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot were telling:
" I think that this was a good race yesterday because of the smart racing. The
negative splits were good, like de Castella (Rob De Castella, winner in 1986),
and this may, with the difficulty of Boston, be the world record!"

We do know that Robert Cheruiyot's 2:05:52 is the fastest marathon of all times,
without pacers! A real race!

Biordin persisted: " I believe that Robert Cheruiyot is one of the great marathoners, if
he manages his training, racing and talent. Boston is a fast course, but one must race it.
I always wonder, if pack of tough runners use pace for first half, say 1:04, not 1:01 like
when I ran, how fast they could run!"

Well, it is time to get my flight home to Madison, so thanks to all at Boston (Guy Morse, Jack Fleming, TK the younger, Dave McGivallrey), Global Athletics for their fine Saturday party, the various sponsors and most of all the 23,126 starters of this years race, who inspire me every day!  Special thanks to for their photos, Chuck Bartlett for the galleries and two fish for I am sure the late Marja Baker, one of our dear friends, smiles each Patriot's Day, about what this day has become!

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