For the Marathon Winners…and Those Not so Lucky

Thank goodness this jersy can't talk.

Thank goodness this jersey can’t talk.

I had just passed Mile 13 or so of my first Marine Corps Marathon here in DC, when I realized I had a very big problem.

I was running alongside a popular U.S. Senator. But I’d had a lot of water at the last station. It’s hard enough driving home in rush hour when you need the loo. But when each Nike step jiggles your bladder…and there are no bathrooms in sight…and you are surrounded by a fleet of reporters…

I couldn’t speed up; I had to pace myself. I couldn’t drop back because, well, eff that, I’d trained too hard for this.

I had seen other runners unabashedly peeing on the side of the road. (Men, of course.) That wasn’t gonna happen, so finally—finally I found a row of parked cards, ducked down from CNN and took care of business.

The point is, marathon running is not just about distance—it’s the investment, the planning. Your shoes, your food, your water, your sweat, your bowel movements (no, really). You give up sleep and happy hours to train (and in some countries dodge rebel gunfire). The slightest misplaced seam can saw at your skin. You tear muscles, lose toenails, and for guys, bleed from nipple-chafing if you fail to lubricate.

Completely understandably, some names got lost in yesterday’s Boston tragedy—the winners of this crown jewel of running, so I just want to honor them now: Lelisa Desisa Benti (men’s division) and Rita Jeptoo (women’s division).

Kenyan Jeptoo won for the second time (2:26:25)–and after taking two years off to have a baby. Benti, of Ethiopia, won in 2:10:22, snapping a string of three consecutive Kenyan men’s victories. Jason Hartmann of the U.S. finished fourth in 2:12:12, and Shalane Flanagan finished fourth for the U.S. women (2:27:8).

Japan’s Hiroyuki Yamamoto and American Tatyana McFadden won the wheelchair races. And two-time winner Joan Benoit Samuelson, 55, finished in 2:50:29 to set a world record for her age group—and on the 30th anniversary of her 1983 victory.

That’s still six-and-a-half-minutes per mile. That’s pretty amazing, just like Boston’s first responders—whose names we may never know. Good luck and God bless to all the runners, fans, workers, and families.

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