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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Boston Marathon Bleeding Beacon Blue

Boston Marathon Bleeding Beacon Blue

The Boston Marathon is the best sporting event in the city. It is free and better yet, international. Every year more than 1 million people line the streets of Boston, Brookline, and Newton to cheer on their country, and it is a satisfying sight to see an Olympic-type atmosphere in a city that will most likely never host one. This year was the best of the 115 marathons. Geoffrey Mutai came into his first Boston Marathon confident but there was no chance he knew that he would have as great a day as he ended up having. Mutai ran a 2:03:02. That is scary to even think about. Last year, the city was stunned when Robert Kiprono Cheruyoit ran a then course record of 2:05:52. Mutai, Cheruyoit’s Kenyan countryman, ran the course nearly 3 minutes faster. He also set the world record by 57 seconds, but because of the blustery tailwind at the runners backs all day, the record will not be internationally recognized. You’d think that a world record being set would be the highlight of the day, but it wasn’t even close to the roar for Ryan Hall, who came in 4th, heard from the crowd in Kenmore. Hall ran the fastest marathon ever by an American with a jaw dropping 2:04:55. Hall is always the crowd favorite here in Boston, and after the race, he was moved by their show of support.

“Maybe I should move here, because every time I do, I feel like the hometown boy” Hall said after finishing. The only question remaining is how long we have to wait for Hall or another American to finally pull through with a win in Boston.

To compete in the marathon as a competitive distance runner, a qualifying time on a course approved by the Boston Athletic Association must be reached. If you are running to raise money for an organization, your qualification is waived and you can run in the Marathon regardless of how fast you are. Last year was arguably the best year in the history of the esteemed race. Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot set a course record on the men’s side with a stunning time of 2:05:52. Earnst Van Dyk also won the men’s wheelchair division for an unprecedented 9th time.

UMB will be represented this year by senior Michael Spinnato. Spinnato will be competing in his 3rd Boston Marathon, having finished at 3:30:00 in 2009 and an impressive 2:47:00 last year. Spinnato is looking to improve on that time this year.

“After qualifying for the 2010 Boston Marathon I wanted to continue to improve my marathon time regardless of the hills in Boston. But I knew it was going to require some crazy training. I wound up running that marathon in 2:47:00, which was bittersweet because I had set my sights for 2:36:00. I realize now I was naive and that 2:36:00 time, which represents 10 mph and 6:00 minute miles is a huge milestone that is going to require an unrelenting commitment. I am trying to run under 2:40 this year but the faster I go the harder the hills get, the more they rip the energy away from you as you try to hold that 6:00 min/mile pace. If it doesn’t happen this year I will try again next year and hope that some sort of break through takes place.”

Spinnato touched on the four major hills, which are all clustered within 4 miles that make the Boston course unique in the distance running world. The most famous of these is Heartbreak Hill, which runs in the 21st mile through Newton. The hill is usually where the elite leading runners manage to breakaway from the pack and start their final march towards the finish line on Boylston Street. Spinnato first started to get into running while he served in the military.

He said “I ran a little bit in the military and I always tried to get a perfect score on the running test, which was 3 miles in 18 minutes. I did most of the time. I didn’t like how I always felt so tired after running 3 miles, even though at the time I thought it was a lot of running. When I left the military I wanted to be able to run a lot more and a lot faster.”

Spinnato’s first marathon was Boston in 2009. “I came back home (from Peru) on the first day of the spring semester in 2009 and started training for my first Boston marathon. I wasn’t worried about my time that year I just wanted to finish 26.2 miles. I ran it that year in 3:30:00. I was happy because it felt amazing and I had already found a new addiction. I immediately signed up for the Chicago Marathon that fall of 2009 to try and qualify for the 2010 Boston Marathon.” Spinnato qualified comfortably, running a 3:02 on the Chicago course, 8 minutes under the necessary 3:10.

Spinnato has faced numerous struggles this year, mostly due to injuries as he tried to bring his time under 2:40:00. “Unfortunately with increased speed over longer distances, lots of injuries begin to nag, and one major one for me right now is my left IT band, which is a major stabilizing muscle that runs from your glut down the outer side of your leg to your knee. Right now it is affecting my speed which is very frustrating.”

He has persevered through his injuries and he will be representing UMB in the marathon. “UMass should be proud of its students who take on the challenge of running the marathon and training for it during the semester, it is very time consuming. ”

Check out next week’s issue for Michael’s results and some other notable times from this year’s running.

Spinnato ran a 2:49 on Monday, good enough for 523rd place overall and a qualification for next year’s race.