- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 16, 2006

BOSTON — Welcome to the second running boom. And this one is more experienced and includes more women.

There are more than 22,000 runners in tomorrow’s Boston Marathon.

During the first running boom, which began in 1980, the median age for men in the marathon was 34. Last year, it was 40, according to the annual marathon report from Running USA’s Road Running Information Center.

Meanwhile, the women’s median age in 1980 was 31.3 in 1980 and 35 last year.

Also, women’s participation in marathons has gone up. The report found that in 1980, just 10.5 percent of all marathoners were women. That percentage rose to 26 percent in 1995, 38 percent in 2000, 40 percent in 2004 and 41 percent last year.

In less than five years, women probably will represent half of all marathoners.

And those women are running faster, too. In 2002, the median finishing time was 4 hours, 56 minutes, 46 seconds. In 2005, the median time was 4:51:19. During that same period, the median time for men rose slightly before ending up the same — 4:20.

Trivial pursuit — Thirty years ago, Jack Fultz, a 27-year-old Georgetown student, survived the hottest conditions ever to win the Boston Marathon.

Fultz calls it “that fateful day that changed my life forever.”

Tomorrow, he will ride the course in the lead vehicle as the grand marshal.

But he told the crowd at the Breakfast of Champions event yesterday morning that he believes he is the only Boston marathon participant who placed first and last in the marathon.

He gained that distinction several years ago when race director Dave McGillivray, who each year runs the entire course hours after the last person starts, accepted Fultz’s offer to keep him company for the 26.2-mile trip.

As the two worked their way down the final few blocks of Boylston Street to the finish line, Fultz slowed to allow McGillivray to move ahead and seek his moment of glory as he crossed the finish.

Unbeknownst to Fultz, the timing system still was registering finishers. So as he followed McGillivray across the line, he was tallied as the final runner that year.

“Bookends,” Fultz said.

Hold your shorts — About a week and a half ago, London race director Dave Bedford was asked, “What would it take to get the London Marathon on television in North America?”

“We could run the women with no shorts and tops,” he said.

New York Marathon race director Mary Wittenberg retorted in laughter: “I’d have to file a formal protest.”

She won’t have to.

This week, London announced it is teaming with the BBC to make marathon coverage available live to Web viewers in the United States via the BBC Web site www.bbc.co.uk/sport on April 23.

Class act — Every year, for many years now, several Kenyan runners who run in Boston spend a day in a school near the starting line in Hopkinton. This week was no different.

Here are some of the quips from the Adopt-a-Marathoner program at Elmwood Elementary School in Hopkinton a few days ago:

• Question from Elmwood student to Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot, 2003 Boston champion: What is your favorite American food? Answer: chicken and french fries.

• Question from Elmwood student to Timothy Cherigat, 2004 Boston champion: Do you stop to catch your breath during the marathon? Answer: Once you’re started, you don’t stop until you get to the finish line.

It seems the second kid has been reading too much Jeff Galloway.

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