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|Subject: ||RE: To Orville Atkins|
Boston 1962 is a long, fun story for me. Racing and running marathons in 1962 was so different than racing and running them today. I will record my memories in several sections. Here is how I remember that time 48 years later.
I ran my first marathon along with 47 other starters on 9/3/61 in 92 degree temperatures and in very high humidity. 17 runners finished. I ran my second marathon on 3/11/62 on a 2 mile stretch of the road along the Chicago Waterfront in temperatures under 40 degrees and on some slush and ice. There were 15 starters and 9 finished. There were no women.
On Tuesday, April 18,1962, I was on a plane to run the famous Boston Marathon having finished 2 marathons and only having been beaten by one runner, Johnnie Kelley , The Younger. My club, The East York Track Club, had given me half the price of the plane ticket. I was paying my other expenses. Two of my teammates, Danny Pucknell and George Crerar, were driving to Boston to run Boston also. It was exciting. I checked into room 515 on the 5th floor of the Hotel Lenox. I thought that the numbers were a good sign. In addition the Boston Marathon Finish was right out front. That afternoon, I had my physical, was given number 16. I went for a short walk.
The next morning I learned from the papers that the experts were picking me to place in the top ten and as high as fifth. While having breakfast at the Hotel lunch counter, I was befriended by a long time marathon runner who said that the Annual Meeting of the Road Runners Club was being held in the hotel and we could stick our noses into the room so I could meet some of the elite of the road running world. Several of the popular names in the sport at that time were there but I only remember being introduced to Ted Corbitt and saying "I always wanted to meet Ted Corbitt" upon which he said "I have wanted to meet Orville Atkins". The next time I talked to Ted Corbitt was In Helsinki in 2005 at the Tenth World Track and Field Championships.
I remember catching the bus to the start of the race and shocking the other runners by replying to their questions that my aim was to win or at least make the top ten.
After removing our sweat suits and putting them on the vehicle to be returned to the start we were checked off as we were herded into a grass area surrounded by a snow fence. From there we were taken to the start line on a very narrow road. Having number 16 gave me the right to start on the front row. It was exciting! I had never seen such crowds at a road race. There was a noisy helicopter overhead. At the strike of twelve all 181 runners were finally off.
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