First Boston Marathon experiece as sweet as a Hershey Kiss for Wright
Everybody asks marathoners why they keep coming back for more when their feet and knees tell them to please do something else with their time.
Of course, it’s easy to keep going when Boston Marathon fans treat you to Hershey kisses as well as the real kisses.
“It’s a thrill to go back there … the whole city turns out, and they have a million people along the route,” said Les Wright, who completed his first Boston Marathon in 3 hours, 59 minutes and 12 seconds on April 17. “If you put your name on your shirt, they’re calling your name and rooting you on. They hand out Hershey Kisses, and the girls of Wellesley and Boston colleges offer the real kisses. They even hand out unopened cans of Bud if you’re stupid enough to take them.
“The crowd is so incredible that you don’t want to stop or walk because they are cheering you on.”
The director of the Lake Tahoe Marathon did the Boston jaunt, in part, to improve his own marathon, but also to experience the thrill of participating in what many consider the granddaddy of all marathons.
“I want to run because I want to know what the runners are going through … how to stack up the water and pass it out when the mobs come through the aid stations,” said the 58-year-old Wright.
With 18,000 entrants, race organizers eased the chaotic start by classifying runners in one of 19 corrals based on their qualifying times. Wright left in the 17th group and didn’t let the slow start or 26-degree wind-chill factor spoil his special day.
“It took 11 minutes to get to the start line and my first mile was 11 minutes because it was so crowded,” Wright said. “I had my watch so I knew my time exactly, and I felt I could have run another five or six miles.”
Wright, who has run six marathons in the past 16 months, finished under the four-hour mark for the fourth consecutive time.
While Wright mixed business with pleasure in his Boston debut, 1990 South Tahoe High graduate Brent Foster learned that his competitive streak hasn’t left his aging body.
Foster, who now resides in Cibecue, Ariz., finished 332nd with a blazing time of 2:47 in his Boston debut.
“I kind of surprised myself,” said Foster, who was the Nevada state champion in the 3,200 meters in 1990. “I was surprised when I crossed the finish line. It seemed like there were a whole lot more people ahead of me than that.”
Foster said he became burnt out on running after briefly competing in college but became reinvigorated in the sport after coaching a high school cross country team.
“I’ve got the marathon bug, and I think I’ll keep going,” he said.
Foster also became enamored with the fans in Boston.
“The difference between the East Coast and out here is they’re not spectators over there, they’re fans. The spectators out here are more laid back, but not into it. It was neat to have that support,” Foster said. “It was also neat passing all of the historical sites and having all the college kids coming out and cheering you on.”
The 28-year-old Foster paid the price for drawing a starting slot in the No. 1 corral.
“They shipped us out to the starting line two hours before the start and we were all huddled in a big tent with the wind blowing,” he said. “It was OK once we got going, but four miles from the finish a breeze started picking up and my hands started turning numb.”
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