The two caught Bjorklund, of course, and, come Heartbreak Hill, Rodgers asserted himself. Going downhill, he was gone. He came off the hill with a lead of nearly 200 yards, and Seko – Rodgers's conqueror in Fukuoka last December – never got within a block of him again. Running in his stocking cap and white gloves, Rodgers stretched it out easily, and actually loafed through much of the last five miles, still breaking his own record by nearly half a minute. "I actually had to go to the bathroom for the last 15 miles," he admitted. Good thing nobody told Seko.
Rodgers flashed past the corner of Mass. and Commonwealth, followed by Seko a minute later. "Hey," yelled one spectator, "I had the 1-9." Rodgers dodged one rearing horse as he dashed down Boylston Street. At this point the Phoenix's coverage becomes somewhat imprecise. The security forces massed by the BAA and the Prudential people included not only a sizable portion of the Boston police force but some members of a South Boston paramilitary outfit. The same people who had such difficulty controlling crowds for 26 miles, 385 yards, apparently reveled at having a few hundred reporters to shove around within a confined space. So they did, much in the manner of General Somoza's National Guard. All is very casual at the finish line until about 20 minutes before the end of the race, after which chaos reigns. Then the cops take over, enforcing access rules that aren't explained to anybody beforehand. The unluckiest press people were a Japanese crew: the cameraman passed the barricade without incident, but his partner, the soundman, found the path blocked by a few large guards who, inexplicably, held him back. His gear, of course, was umbilically attached to his partner's, and while he railed to the guards, the partner kept walking until the cord finally snapped.
Four other finish-line awards:
The Bowie Kuhn "Who's Cold?' award, or "Quien es mas macho?": to Ed King and Kevin White for their one-upmanship in ignoring the wretched weather. King did well by pushing aside umbrellas on several occasions and wearing a winter-weight sport coat and tie. White was a clear winner, though. He too shunned any covering, wore a summer-weight jacket and no tie – just the outfit in which to hear Arthur Fiedler on the Esplanade.
The Dave Zinkoff award: to PA announcer Tom Grilk, whose enthusiasm got the finish-line masses to cheer wildly not only Rodgers, but the other top finishers, including the ones you damn well knew they'd never heard of.
Quote of the Day: from the anonymous finisher at the Sheraton Boston who stated, "I just ran 26 miles; I'm paying $70 a night to stay here; and the goddamn escalators don't work."
Sure It's an Amateur Sport award: to superagent Bob Woolf, who was lurking about the press area after the race, presumably scouting the talent for star value.
Afterward, Rodgers recalled: "Apart from offering him the water, I really didn't talk to Seko until after the race. And gee, I never even saw Frank Shorter (he finished 79th, in 2:21:56). He must have been thinking about the baby, though. You know his wife had a kid just Friday?