Running on Great Shrimp Scampi in Tretorn Tennis Shoes – Paul Riefberg (April 22, 1974)

One day I was searching through my race results, to look over my marathon finishes. I ran sixteen marathons in the ’70s. I was somewhat surprised to find I only had printed results for seven of them. Through the years and moving several times, I no longer had results for the other nine. One of those missing was Boston 1974, and it proved to be one of the most elusive to locate.

I first contacted a number of parties from the Boston Athletic Association, one of whom was Whitney Wilbur. She was able to find a results page listing my finish for both the 1975 and 1977 Boston Marathons, but she said they could not find any 1974 results.

I then checked the old Long Distance Logs publication and I found several of my missing marathons there. However, for Boston 1974, the last finisher listed in the Log was 305th place, and I finished in 347th place, thus it was missing from the printed results.

I next contacted some runners who finished ahead of me, and the few who responded said they were not able to help. I also contacted some running clubs and magazines in New England, and they were not able to assist either.

Since the Long Distance Logs did have results through 305th place, I decided to contact Tom Osler, who was instrumental in putting together the Long Distance Log issues, to see if he knew where to find the 1974 BAA results pages that did not make it into the April 1974 issue. He said he could not help.

Documenting my 1974 finish – 2:51:02

Finally one day, I was looking through the Longest Running Marathons online file, which, when you click on a particular marathon, has footnotes at the bottom of the page. One of the footnotes on the Boston page, referred to Jack Leydig. I tracked down Jack, and emailed him, mentioning how many folks in Boston had not been able help me. Here is his reply: “Surprisingly, I have the results from 1974 (I’m a pack rat!). And your place and time are correct. I have scanned the page and it’s attached. Please send a check for $500 and things will be fine (Ha!).”

Leydig added: “I ran that year (unofficially) with Harry Cordellos. He is blind and ran seven-minute pace (we simply bumped arms the whole way once we cleared the crowded first mile or so). Pretty amazing guy.”

[Some info about Jack Leydig: In 1969 he became president of the West Valley Track Club in California, one of the best running clubs in the US. He started the Grand Prix running circuit. A national class runner, his 2:25 at Boston in 1972 earned him a place in that year’s Olympic Trials Marathon. During his college years, he ran the mile in 4:16 and the steeplechase in 9:30. He was a pioneer in event management and a true asset to long distance running.]

So there you have it, my sometimes very rocky quest to locate my marathon results. Increasingly today, marathon results can be easily found on line. In the 1970s, this was not the case. I enjoyed tracking down all my results, but let’s face it, it was hard work. You often have to be willing to get “no” for an answer 99 times, in order to get the great satisfaction of a “yes” on your 100th try…

My first attempt at Boston. I am # Y35 in the middle.

Boston 1974 is now over 40 YEARS AGO. Gosh, as we age the memory of specific races seems to go away as well. I can say this, 1974 was my second Boston. I had attempted the race in 1972 but dropped out at the half-way point.

In 1974, I do remember feeling well most of the way, I was passed on Heartbreak Hill by the eventual ladies winner Miki Gorman of California, who ran 2:47:11, at that time the ladies’ record at Boston. I also remember a close friend of mine, a casual non-competitive runner, spoke highly of Tretorn tennis shoes. I tried them and found them comfortable as well, so I ran Boston 1974 in them, and still ran 2:51:02. I was training 80+ miles per week.

Note the old typewriter’s raised spacing & unevenness

The next results page after my 347th place has Paul Fetscher in 376th place. Fetscher (who is wearing #463, just off my left shoulder in the 1972 photo above) introduced me to marathons, and it was nice to finish ahead of him once in awhile. We were in the same marathon nine times, and I finished ahead of him only twice.

How about those old typewriters, with the raised spacing and unevenness?

The night before the race, we ate at Anthony’s Pier IV, and I had the Shrimp Scampi. So I attribute my 2:51 at Boston to the great Shrimp Scampi!

A word about the post race lunch at the Prudential Tower (Prudential was the sponsor of the race). We all received a meal ticket, for all you can eat at the fifth floor cafeteria. You know what is coming next. If you were a bystander you would think the only reason for running the marathon, was to see finishers out-eat each other. Fourth’s and fifth’s of lunch were common, it was a blast.

I stayed at the Holiday Inn in Framingham, and it was great to see the marquee, which read: HAPPY PATRIOT’S DAY, GOOD LUCK MARATHONERS.

Paul Riefberg
Birmingham, Alabama
(Currently in Allen, Texas)

For more personal accounts of the 1974 Boston marathon, click here.

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