The Finishing Step of a Long-Running Century:
The 100th Boston Marathon

This moment was a high point in history for my small part in a glorious historic event! This footstep under my Nikes is the touchdown on the finish line "100" of the 100th running of the world's classic race--the Boston Marathon! I had qualified for and run the 99th Boston Marathon in 1995 under conditions that might have been called (ahem) stressful (see the full story in Running chapter of my adventures). I had learned later that I would be spending the next year in Africa in the experience detailed in "Out of Africa" which would have me abroad for the 1996 centennial running of the world's oldest running event. I asked a couple of simple questions: "Would not almost all of the first 100 runners across the finish line be coming "Out of Africa" also? What would keep me a couple of continents away on Patriot's Day in Hopkinton, April 15, 1996? And, wouldn't a faithful patriot have to return that day in any case to file his income taxes?" As you see, I made the scene. Look for more detail in Running.

I had first witnessed "THE Boston" as a Harvard surgical resident at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital, staggering home with a small boy on my shoulder, quite possibly more weary than the runners we two had seen coming around the bend in the rain on Commonwealth Avenue. "What are those funny men trying to do, Daddy?" was two-year-old Donald's question of me. "Some day you will understand what it is that makes them want to do that, and maybe we can both try to do that together one day right here!" I was not very convincing, then, to my son or myself, but twenty years later Donald did his first followed a year later by his father's first mile run, and ten months later his first of many marathons. The father and son Boston Marathon did not come to be since Donald would not want to be qualified by his father's time, and the requirement for the sub-masters age male is brutal. Both sons remembered the story, however, and called me on my arrival in Boston direct from Africa to wish me luck and better weather than the snowstorms that week preceding the race. Donald and I have finally got our running together done in somewhat warmer places like Florida (which see); but we have also tried on a few with tougher handicaps, like Quito, Ecuador!