Nobody is suggesting that the Boston bartender who shoveled two feet of snow off the Boston Marathon finish line did something even remotely heroic, but his simple act was definitely cool and also suggested the reverence that the finish line represents. Not just for runners, but for all Bostonians.
One of the greatest things about the marathon isn’t just us—the thousands who plan their year around Boston and flock there every year—but how the entire city pays such homage to its marathon every Patriots Day. Even people who have never run a step in their lives, revere the Boston Marathon and what it symbolizes. More so than in any other city, Boston belongs to the people who line the course every April as much—if not more so—than the folks who actually run it.
This was exemplified by Chris Laudani who runs the marathon every year. Laudani, the bartender in the photo that went viral on Wednesday, at the Back Bay Social Club, right on Boylston Street. Laudani told Boston Magazine, “I only did it to send a message…I’m just a nut who loves the Boston Marathon and everything it stands for…the finish line didn’t deserve to be covered in snow.”
His message was received loud and clear around the planet on Wednesday.
There isn’t a strip of road anywhere in the world of running as famous (or as important) as the final 300 meters along Boylston Street. Every runner has at least dreamed of running down Boylston on Marathon Monday and those who have, want to come back for more. It’s the greatest finish in running, made even more emotional since the insane bombings of 2013.
Next time I’m in Boston, I’m going to stop at the Back Bay Social Club and buy Laudani a Harpoon. If you’re going this April, you should too.
Thanks for reminding us just how special the Boston Marathon is.
O Come rain or shine, Saturday’s the date for the Rocky Raccoon 100-Miler in Huntsville which also serves this year as the USA 100-Mile Championships. Central Texans will be well-represented in Huntsville in the Champs with Jason Schwertner, Jeff Peterson, Gavin Hudgeons, Sam Labrie, Thomas Orf, George Blust and Paul Terranova of Austin, Michael Beatty and Jorge Cardenas of Round Rock, Michael Stanard of Kerrville, Alan Peterson, John Davidson and Matt Smith of San Antonio, Bill Patience of Georgetown, Alejandro Segovia of Harker Heights and Ventura Gallegos of Bruceville are among the 70 men running. Liza Howard, Julie Koepke and Jean Perez of San Antonio are running as well as Nyleva Corley and Kerri Reynolds of Austin, Nancy Marks of Round Rock and Christine McCown of College Station. There will also be a separate 100-miler (not part of the USATF champs) with dozens of Central Texans running.
O Speaking of great trail races, the 12th annual Rogue Trail Series has opened for registration. This series consists of three trail races: The Maze on March 29th, The Tangle on April 26th and The Ranch on May 31st. Each event will consist of three distances: a 10-K, 30-K and new this year, a three-runner 30-K relay. There is a series championship, based on combined times. For more info and/or to register, go to www.roguetrailseries.com.
O Matthew McConaughey, our very own film superstar and habitue of the Butler/Lady Bird Lake Trail, will star in the film version of “Born to Run.” Written by Chris McDougall, the book details his trip to Copper Canyon in Mexico to learn the trade secrets of the Tarahumaras. The book also kick started the so-called barefoot running movement (since subsided). Just wondering if McConaughey is going to have to learn to run on his forefeet or whether he’ll have a stand in for the running scenes. No filming dates or release dates have been announced.
O Parker Stinson, the former Cedar Park HS stud, still has one season of indoor eligibility left at the University of Oregon which is the defending NCAA Indoor champs. Stinson is currently ranked fifth in the country in the indoor 3000 meters (7:51) and second in the 5000 (13:28), behind teammate Edward Cheserek’s 13:20. UT’s Craig Lutz is ranked 11th in the 5000 (13:47) and Ryan Dohner is 16th (13:52).
O Scott Kimbell‘s back in town. After living for a spell in Fort Collins, Colorado, Kimbell—once a top road racer—is attempting to become a pro triathlete. He’s also started work as a massage therapist at Austin Bodyworker.
O Becky Wade of Houston is writing a book. Wade, a graduate of Rice who ran 1:12:28 in the recent USA Half Marathon Champs, is working on a book that will detail her experiences running in 22 countries as she completed a post-grad fellowship. Wade, who won the California International in Sacramento in 2:30:41 in her first marathon, told runnersworld.com that the tentative title of her book will be “Going the Distance” which is scheduled to come out in the summer of 2016. Wade, by the way, is running the Los Angeles Marathon on March 15th.
O Los Angeles which has sketchy marathon history will certainly be a major event this year–and next. This year it’s the USATF marathon champs and next February 13th it will be the site of the Olympic Marathon Trials. Of the Central Texans who have already qualified for the Trials, only David Fuentes (of the Trials qualifiers) is running LA. At least, that I know of.
O Allison Mendez, who has also qualified for the Trials (and was second in last Sunday’s 3M Half Marathon), is planning to make her marathon debut in October at the Chicago Marathon.
O Runner’s World photographers have been all over town the last two weeks shooting various running groups training on the Butler/Lady Bird Lake trail for a story about Austin running that is supposed to be in the April issue. Can’t wait.
O Former Texas great Charlie Thomas died on Monday in Bryan at the age of 83. Thomas was one of the greatest sprinters in UT history, winning three straight Southwest Conference 220 yards championships and the AAU title in 1954. He was fourth in the 1952 Olympic Trials but never ran again in the Trials as he was deemed a professional because he was a track coach, first at East Texas State and later the head coach at A&M from 1958 until he retired in 1990.
O Good to see former Austinite Sarah Mark at the 3M Half (she ran 1:25:51). She and Brian Periman live in Houston these days. They’re getting married on St. Patrick’s Day (March 17) in Huatulco, Mexico.
O Leo Manzano and his coach John Hayes are off to Winston-Salem, North Carolina tomorrow for the Camel City Indoor Meet. Leo’s running his first indoor mile of the year. Also running in North Carolina are three women from Rogue AC—Sarah Pease, Mary Goldkamp and Kristen Findley—who are running the 3000.
O What I’m listening to this morning: “Shangri-La” by Mark Knopfler. I may be the only guy who loves Knopfler’s solo, collaborative and sound tracks more than his Dire Straits stuff. Joy of joys: Knopfler just announced a world tour which even includes the ATX (Moody Theater) on September 25th.
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