At noon a field of 15,606 runners left the Hopkinton starting line in the 105th Boston Marathon. I thus found myself among the third largest gathering in the event’s history, a field that included the last three men’s champions and the winners of the last four women’s races.
However, after passing a half-million spectators along the route to Boston’s Copley Square, it was South Korea’s Lee Bong-Ju who took the laurel wreath and prize of $80,000 awaiting the winner. The Korean halted an unprecedented string of ten consecutive victories by Kenyans, giving his country its first win since 1950.
Bong-Ju, the Olympic silver medalist at Atlanta, ran with a heavy heart but with inspiration to honor his recently departed father. Silvio Guerra of Ecuador took second ahead of three Kenyans, allowing three continents to be represented in the top three places.
American men made a resurgence, as Rod DeHaven of Wisconsin captured sixth place with a personal-best time (2:12:414), California’s Josh Cox finished in 14th place, and Massachusetts native Mark Coogan crossed the finish line in 19th place. DeHaven’s top 10 finish was the first for an American since 1994. I was a little behind this trio, finishing in 3:30:15.
The weather was cloudy, with temperatures in the low 50s – except for some headwinds, almost picture perfect conditions.
Another notable finisher was Massachusetts native Bobbi Gibb, the first woman to have completed the Boston Marathon (1966), who fought through her bronchitis to finish on the 35th anniversary of her pioneering run.
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
April 16, 2001
Age – 37
Bib # 5498