Even with the elements of prize money and some interesting
services contracts drawn up by John Hancock that lured a quality
international field to yesterday's 90th Boston Marathon, the race
ended up as
a runaway one-man show for the fourth straight year and the fifth
in the last
Stepping to the front at the village green in Hopkinton and
last vestiges of competition by the time he headed into the 16th
Wellesley, Australian Rob de Castella ran to history's
in a performance that destroyed the field he left in his distant
He crossed the new finish line by the Boston Public Library on
Street in 2:07:51 to lower Alberto Salazar's Boston best of
2:08:52 by a
minute and a second in a time that is third to the 2:07:12 run by
Carlos Lopes last April in Rotterdam and the 2:07:13 turned in by
Britain's Steve Jones last October in Chicago.
De Castella, who has won marathons in Brisbane's Commonwealth
Rotterdam, Fukuoka and the inaugural world championship in
the third to join the sub-2:08 club. In the process, he also
became the early
favorite to be ranked as the world's best for 1986.
The performance earned him $60,000 and a new Mercedes-Benz.
breakdown reads: $30,000 for his victory, $25,000 for a course
record and a
cumulative $5,000 for a sub-2:10 time. The one-year
he has with John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Co. was reported
to be worth as
much as $75,000, and it reportedly would be doubled if he won.
company bonuses thrown in, yesterday might have added up to in
$250,000 for de Castella.
Canada's Art Boileau, who has been a consistent performer on
stage throughout de Castella's six-year reign as the world's most
marathoner, went past fading Arturo Barrios of Mexico in the
final miles to
finish second in 2:11:15. Italy's Orlando Pizzolato ran his
controlled race to finish third in 2:11:43.
The first two Americans were Boston Billy and Boston Bobby.
running his 12th Boston at the age of 38, ran a glorious race to
(2:13:36), and Bobby Hodge moved from 15th place in the final 6
place sixth in 2:14:50. Barrios, who had taken off in pursuit of
heading into the Newton hills, split them up in a 2:14:09 debut
Norway's Ingrid Kristiansen, who broke Joan Benoit's world
record when she
ran 2:21:06 last year in London, experienced cramps but won her
in 2:24:55. It was the ninth-fastest women's time, just one
second slower than
what countrywoman Grete Waitz ran in London on Sunday.
The crowds along the 26 miles 385 yards showed once again
there is no
greater marathon audience in size -- sorry, New York -- and
though there were pockets of drizzle as de Castella ran alone and
showers after he finished, the humanity from Newton Lower Falls
to the finish
was an impressive wall of honor.
Not since Salazar and Dick Beardsley hooked up in an
enthralling duel in
1982 -- when Salazar won by two seconds -- has there been a race
Cleveland Circle. Greg Meyer ran away in 1983, and Geoff Smith
won by margins
of 4:57 in 1984 and 5:07 -- the widest since 1937 -- in his solo
jaunt a year
''The conditions were good,'' said the 29-year-old
too concerned about splits, but the terrain varies so much. The
first 6 miles
are so fast. I was trying to run a sub-2:09, hoping to set a
course record. I
wasn't trying for a world record. The last 2 miles were pretty
tough, but I
guess you expect that.''
When he headed down the hills out of Hopkinton and into the
this Patriots Day centerpiece, he took a sizable pack with him.
runners passed through the first mile in 4:37, and the pack of 11
at 7 miles
included Boileau, Pizzolato, Meyer (12th, 2:17:29) and Japan's
(10th, 2:17:02). Barrios, Rodgers and Hodge had yet to make their
They passed through 11 miles in 53:34, and de Castella's
was Kenya's Joseph Kipsang. Barrios, who has had an overpowering
series on the recent roads that led several to predict he would
inexorably moving from the second 10 to third. When de Castella
the half-marathon in 1:03:38, Barrios was third.
''He'll begin the chase at 21 1/2,'' said coach/advisor Rich
Castro on the
press truck. ''He's right on Salazar's course-record splits.''
past Kipsang into second at the 25-kilometer mark as they headed
Wellesley. He was within 31 seconds of the lead at the 16-mile
mark, but the
hills were still to come.
De*Castella,*a strength runner who had moved away from
Balcha on a long uphill stretch in his last marathon victory in
the hills with a particular vengeance. ''I was trying to run the
de Castella said. ''I built them up in my mind, so when I got to
them I'd be
''I didn't see Barrios throughout the race. I was wondering
where he was. I
was a little worried. I was preparing myself to be challenged at
any stage. By
Barrios or Pizzolato. At no stage did I think I had the race won.
surprised he (Barrios) and other runners ran relatively slow
Barrios was 45 seconds behind by the time he reached the 18-mile
Commonwealth Avenue in the Newton hills, and he had perceptibly
slowed down by
the time he made it down the hill by Boston College at 21 miles.
''He said he felt comfortable through 23 miles,'' said Castro.
essence, he hit the wall at 24 miles. His big complaint was his
they were going to explode.''
Boileau, who had settled into third, went past Barrios to add
this to his
second in Montreal last fall. ''I knew after 22 miles no one was
catch me,'' said the 28-year-old native of Edmonton, Alberta, who
Eugene, Ore., and is trained by Salazar's coach, Bill Dillenger.
Boileau's personal best, beating his 2:11:30 Helsinki time (11th)
Pizzolato has won the last two New York City Marathons and was
impressive sixth in the World Cup in Hiroshima on this weekend
''I'm not surprised by my race,'' he said. ''I thought I was able
faster, but I wasn't able to run well on the downhills. The
uphills were no
problem. In the last few miles, I wasn't able to run at 100
The electricity was provided by Rodgers, who caught Barrios in
mile. He had burst onto the American scene with the first of his
victories in 1975 and become the patron saint of the running boom
followed. Although this was the slowest of his eight completed
1975, finishing fourth and being the first American in his 39th
year made it a
''I wasn't in the same race with Deke,'' said Rodgers, who was
first Boston since 1983 (10th in 2:11:58). ''We had two races
there. I started
to feel a little better coming out of Wellesley into Newton Lower
didn't have my strength until then. And I do get psyched by the
Hodge, who had finished third in 1979, has been one of New
consistent runners over the past decade, and he executed a game
perfection to let the area's running community know he's still
around. ''I had
to be realistic,'' said the Lowell native who resides in
''My best time's 2:10. I was running at a comfortable pace. I
realistically thinking 2:13. I went through the half in 1:06:40
and I felt
real comfortable right there. I ran the hills strong.
''It went according to plan. I passed seven people in the last
It's one of those times when the thing I thought could happen
This was de Castella's Boston, and with Jones forced to
withdraw because of
injury and Lopes also on the injury list, he reestablished
himself as the
world's best at this time.
''I was very impressed by what Steve Jones and Carlos Lopes
said de*Castella,*who was third in Chicago each of the last two
''It made me realize the marathon is one of the toughest
mental events. You
have to be prepared to be out there by yourself. If you run
course, it's you against the course. It's you against the clock.
It's a tough
course. I ran my best time, and that's very satisfying.''
The massive media attention the 90th Marathon received and the
its various fields backed up the contention that Boston is back.
Jones, a Geoff Smith or a Lopes to go with him, and the expected
the rookie Barrios failing to materialize, de Castella's win by
the margin of
3:24 showed the world that he, too, is back.
HE RAN IT HIS WAY AND WON
By Will McDonough
He was all alone soon after it ended, and that was how David
wanted it. While others danced and celebrated the new Boston
Marathon at his
expense, he really didn't want to be out front. What he wanted,
he had inside.
David D'Alessandro was the real winner of Boston yesterday,
and he didn't
run a step. What he did was fight. He came out of his corporate
office in the
John Hancock Tower last July swinging, and he didn't stop
punching until he
had all of his ''opponents'' on the floor.
''One of the nice things about today,'' said D'Alessandro with
smile, ''was the people I knew were detractors coming to tell me
everything was. I wondered what they would be saying if
everything didn't go
the way it did. These were the people who wanted us to fall flat
on our face,
and I couldn't believe how many of those there were.''
To restore Boston to what it once was, D'Alessandro had to
remove the crud
that built up on the race over the years because of neglect. He
had to catch
up with Chicago and New York, who took over the American marathon
the BAA pulled a Rip Van Winkle and decided it was right and
everyone else was
wrong. Why should they pay the stiffs who run the 26 miles for
of all? They hadn't paid them for 89 years, so why should they
That attitude was what David D'Alessandro took on when he went
bosses at John Hancock and said, ''Let's take a look at this.''
They said yes,
but only if they do it right. They wanted to go first class or
not at all.
They wanted to call all the shots or not call any.
''People really don't know how hard it was to clear away all
of the debris
around this race,'' said D'Alessandro. ''The press and public
only got about
40 percent of it. There were a lot more things that went on
behind the scenes.
The politics of this thing were really something. Every time you
around, someone was throwing another roadblock at you.''
D'Alessandro is deceptive because he is so young, only 35
years old. You
don't find vice presidents in companies like John Hancock at that
those he had to overcome on the local scene underestimated his
thought they were going in with some flyweight. They didn't know
taking on a guy that wasn't going to pull any punches.
While the people who had run the race in the past, the BAA, were
concerned about how much the tab for the annual dinner of 35
would be, or
whether you wanted steak or fish, D'Alessandro pulled out John
and put it on the table. A cool $1.3 million before it was all
in the world of marathoning does anyone match those numbers.
Numbers like that
make people such as Rob de Castella and Ingrid Kristiansen all of
decide they love April in Boston rather than in Paris or London.
''I wasn't worried about this race for the past eight days,''
D'Alessandro two hours after de Castella streaked across the
finish line in
course-record time. ''I stopped worrying when Rob showed up in
Boston. I felt
a lot better when Ingrid got here. Today belonged to the
athletes. We can't
control the weather. We can put the race together and make it a
event. We did that. The rest is up to them, and when I had the
here, I knew things would happen.
''Hey, let's face it. Take out the people we (Hancock) brought
year and what did you have? What would Boston have been without
Kristiansen, Bill Rodgers and the rest. We brought in half of the
top 10 men
and the top two women and they made the day. But that's what our
That was our responsibility to this race, to put it back on top
Luckily for Boston, John Hancock has a 10-year contract and
young. With the help of Mayor Flynn, D'Alessandro should be able
to get the
Olympic Trials for the women here in 1988. Hopefully, after going
whole cycle of putting the race together, it will be a little
easier in the
future now that the word will go out among the runners that
Boston is the best
''You know what I was doing this morning?'' said D'Alessandro.
agents about getting their runners next year. When Rob comes
around the corner
and into that last 600 yards to the finish line, I want a guy on
shoulder. With luck, it would have been Steve Jones this year.
Same way in the
women. It would have been nice to have Joan Benoit in the field,
and we'll be
looking forward to it next year.
''What I want to do, and what will make me feel real good
about this, is
get both world records, men and women, right here in Boston.
That's where they
belong. Then when we've got them both, we'll bring in the best in
each year to go after them.''