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Posted: April 13, 2009  :

(RWire) Athletics: My Five Favorite Boston Marathons

Upcoming 113th edition includes top Americans Ryan Hall and Kara Goucher

By Ryan Lamppa, Running USA wire

The Boston Marathon, its 113th edition is set for Monday, April 20, is arguably the most storied road race in the world. This year against a top international field including defending champions Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot and Dire Tune, U.S. Olympians Ryan Hall, Brian Sell, Kara Goucher and Elva Dryer hope to end the 24-year American winning drought and etch their names in Boston Marathon lore. The anticipation of the 2009 race and a possible U.S. race champion prompted a presentation of my favorite Boston Marathons - the ones that created memorable if not historic moments. The following are my Five Favorite Bostons:

#5 - Boston 2000 - Bogacheva's Best
Although not a winning performance, Irina Bogacheva of Kyrgyzstan never gave up - an important lesson in the marathon and life - as she, with a final 100 meter surge and finish line lunge, nipped - for second - three-time and defending Boston champion and 1996 Olympic champion Fatuma Roba of Ethiopia, both timed in 2:26:27.

#4 - Boston 1996 - Uta Fights Off Pain and Tegla
At the historic 100th Boston, defending champion Uta Pippig of Germany - suffering from stomach pains - faced a 30 second deficit late in the race before passing upstart Tegla Loroupe of Kenya at mile 25 to become the first woman to win three consecutive Bostons.

#3 - Boston 1983 - Glory Days: Greg, Joanie and Sub-2:20 Record
Greg Meyer, last U.S. men's winner at Boston; U.S. men 1-2-3, all sub-2:10; Joan Benoit, in her breakthrough race, sets world best (2:22:43); record number of U.S. men sub-2:20 in one race (71); the pinnacle of American marathoning depth; enough said.

#2 - Boston 1975 - Billy's First
With his hand-written GBTC t-shirt, painter's gloves and hippie headband, Bill Rodgers, surprising himself, won his first of four Bostons and helped propel the First Running Boom. Amazingly, the local hopeful stopped five times to drink water and to tie his shoe and he still set a course record and U.S. best (2:09:56). In the finish chute, he told his brother Charlie, "Charlie, I can't run that fast" but Boston Billy had.

#1 - Boston 1982 - The Duel in the Sun
What didn't this race have? Under adverse conditions on the fabled point-to-point Boston Marathon course during the height of American distance running prowess, two of the best marathoners in the world - Alberto Salazar and Dick Beardsley - took each other to a place where each had never been (and fans too) with Salazar prevailing, 2:08:52 to 2:08:54, the first time two men had broken 2:09 in the same race. Drama, heat, willpower, history and a Race for the Ages, and this Boston is also #1 because of the later friendship between Salazar and Beardsley which was forged on the hills of Boston. Put simply, a signature moment in our sport and in sports that echoes to this day.

Will someone this year produce a "magic" moment at Boston? I can't wait.


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