The Run for the Hoses

SCLapp200pxThis year’s [2012's] Boston Marathon was run in unusual heat, causing many runners to forego the experience of running 26 miles in 88 degree temperatures.

I’m probably one of the few Reston Runners who remembers the 1976 Boston Marathon, when the starting gun went off at noon ( a tradition dating back to 1897) and the temperature was in the 90s. At a meeting before race day, the late Dr. George Sheehan, then guru of the running movement, warned, “Some of you are going to die out there.”

I started the marathon in Hopkinton but planned to quit in Framingham after running six miles. My brother Dave, who was my handler for the event, agreed to meet me in Framingham and take me back to his home in Sudbury. However, as we ran through those distant Boston suburbs, families came out of their houses to cool us down by spraying us with garden hoses. When I reached Framingham, I told my brother I would keep running until Natick and then drop out after 10 miles. Again, I still felt pretty good and told Dave to meet me again in Newton, where I would drop out after 16 miles. However, at that point a sea breeze had drifted in from the ocean, cooling the temperature down by 20 degrees. I told Dave I would finish the marathon in downtown Boston and meet him there.

I crossed the finish line at 3 hours and 21 minutes, completing what came to be known as “The Run for the Hoses.”

Steve Clapp 

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