Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Everybody's a Winner - Even at 6 P.M

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Everybody's a Winner - Even at 6 P.M

Article excerpt

"Welcome slow runners," read a big red sign in white letters near the finish line of last Monday's 103rd Boston Marathon.

It's 6 p.m. Do you know where your runner is?

It's been nearly four hours since the winners, Fatuma Roba of Ethiopia (women) and Joseph Chebet of Kenya (men) completed the 26- mile, 385-yard run to Boston in less than 2-1/2 hours. But over the next several hours, thousands of other runners jog (or walk) to the finish line. At least one knelt to kiss the pavement in celebration. Some are unofficial runners (known as "bandits"); they all have one goal - to cross the finish line, no matter what. As afternoon fades toward evening the number of spectators has shrunk considerably. Marathon officials begin to roll up the mats that electronically record each official entrant's finish time. Workers are sweeping up the tons of paper cups, wrappers, and other debris that litter the sidewalk. "Everything starts to shut down, and there's no one left to greet {the runners}. So that's what we're here for," says one of the men holding the red sign. "Can you imagine crossing the finish line without anyone here to meet you?" Richard Farrell, running his first marathon, isn't one of those lonely finishers. His personal cheering squad is at the finish line. His wife, Helen, and her two young children, hold a sign reading, "Go Dad Go. We Love You." "He always wanted to do it, and now he can say that he has," Mrs. Farrell says. Moments later, Richard arrives and is greeted with hugs and kisses. He looks exhausted, happy, and relieved, all at the same time. For Denise Banet, a college student in the Boston area and bandit runner, it was a personal mission. "I wanted to run because no one {thought} that I could do it," says an emotional Ms. Banet, with tears rolling down her face. "It feels so good. I just want to sit down now. …

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