I had many races under my belt including one previous marathon, but nothing prepared me for the unique experience of Boston. Because the BAA allowed so many runners in for the 100 year celebration, the starting line area in Hopkinton looked like a "Woodstock" of runners. We were in a big field, runners everywhere, and helicopters flying overhead. This little "redneck" from Mississippi stayed close to my friends. We took our time, savored the sights and screaming fans along the entire route, enjoying this special experience and each other.
Strangely, I don’t remember ever being tired, or hitting any "walls". I think the excitement of being there just carried me along. I remember asking everyone "Where is Heartbreak Hill?" Finally, a big drum announced this famous runner’s landmark. The hills of Mississippi and my slow pace had prepared me well for this last hurtle.
Coming into Boston on the last stretch is truly a " Rocky" experience: Fans slapping my outstretched hand, encouraging me on, yelling "Go Corinth, you’re almost there!" (Of course I had my Corinth Coke 10K race shirt on.) I looked at the final stage and there were stands filled with people clapping and yelling, and at the finish line that beautiful royal blue and gold banner welcoming me home! Not only had I just run the most famous long distance race in the world, I gotten to be part of its centennial event, along with 38,707 other runners from 84 countries, the largest field in the history of the Boston Marathon!
For more personal accounts of the 1996 Boston marathon, click here.
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