17,000 From Across Globe Begin 106th Boston Marathon By Deirdre Fulton Published: Tuesday, April 16, 2002 After the shot was fired, 17,000 people started running. There was Superman, in his cape; a few minutes later, a patriot ran by carrying an American flag. Fifty-three-year-old Judith Hine had come from New Zealand to run her 62nd marathon. She joined runners from Utah, California, New York, Peru, Korea and Kenya. They ran with members of the United States Army, the New York Fire Department and the Boston College track team. Amidst a sea of faces and emotions, the 106th Boston Marathon began at noon yesterday at its Hopkinton starting line. Just less than 17,000 registered runners, hailing from across the United States and around the world, gathered to run the 26.2 miles from the starting line to the finish in Copley Square. After the shot was fired, it took 20 minutes for all the runners, who were lined up around the block, to pass the starting line. Two hours before the shot was fired, Main Street and the Hopkinton town green swarmed with athletes, all engaged in their own routines. They stretched, ate protein bars, drank Gatorade and napped. Regardless of their activities, a universal feeling of restless excitement pervaded the area. "It's a dream come true," said 31-year-old Bushido Ito from Providence, R.I. "I've been running all my life to get here. I feel thankful to be able to come out and participate." Their motivations and their goals were different, but everyone agreed that the feeling of community shared between the runners was one of the best parts of running the Marathon. "It's such a unifying experience," said 72-year-old Margo Fish. Fish was one of the first women to run the Boston Marathon in 1967, before women were allowed to take part, and has run 33 times since then. "I thought it would be interesting and challenging," Fish said as she stretched and greeted well-wishers. "It's not about competition; it's about sharing the joy of saying yes to the spirit of running." Michael Hobernan, 37, of Shelborne Falls, Mass., said he was slightly nervous to be running his first Boston Marathon. However, he said the atmosphere helped his nerves. His favorite part of running a marathon, he said, is meeting the other runners. Hobernan was one of the many runners who hoped to finish the race within a certain time. Korea's Dongik Sin, 41, said he was very excited for his personal challenge. "I hope to beat my own best record today," he said. Other runners were simply hoping to make it to the finish line. Jean Pierre, 37, of Brockton, wanted to "make sure [his] legs could do it." Several runners said reaching the end of the marathon is the best moment. "It's a reward for running through the winter," explained Brad Smith, 54, of Peabody. "It answers all those questions, like, 'What am I doing running in the snow?'" Most runners said they trained for months by doing short runs between 3-6 miles on a daily basis and longer runs on weekends. Forty-year-old Otter Johan, from California, hadn't run for several days and said he felt "bloated and fat." However, taking a break is a significant part of the training process, according to Judy Whitcomb, 41, from New Hampshire. Whitcomb stressed the importance of training wisely and "listening to your body, which needs rest" to avoid injuries. Whitcomb was running the Boston Marathon for the first time and was looking forward to seeing her family cheering her on along the way. Many runners had friends and family members there to support them. Several thousand onlookers were in the crowd in Hopkinton, waving American flags, passing out water and holding up signs of encouragement. Citizens of Hopkinton were especially enthusiastic. "We love it. The whole town gets so excited," Hopkinton resident Lynda Messerman said, as she guarded the starting line to keep "bandits" (unregistered runners) out. Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), who fired the starter's pistol, also expressed his admiration for the runners. He lamented the fact that time constraints had made it impossible for him to run in the Marathon, which he participated in 20 years ago. "I love the Marathon," he said. "I admire everyone. To run, it takes a lot of spirit and a lot of guts."
Oh geez. This guy is SO AWFUL. How can anyone listen to word HE says? Does he not realize that all these statements and claims he has made can now be checked out by nearly everyone? It just boggles the mind.
Participated, how? Was he a volunteer handing out water?