60 from Hawai'i set to run
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By Kit Smith
Special to The Advertiser
By Kit Smith
The lure of "doing Boston" participating in the world's oldest, most prestigious marathon continues strong even 5,000 miles away.
A record 60 Hawai'i runners are entered in the 110th Boston Marathon, set for Monday, Patriot's Day, a state holiday in Massachusetts. Last year 54 Hawai'i runners were entered.
As some of the 60 gathered recently for a photo, weather was talked about most. Two years ago Boston temperatures soared to the high 80s, punishing performances. But on April 5, snow fell in the Boston area as temperatures dipped into the low 30s.
Boston veterans also spoke of things that make Boston special crowd support, for one. An estimated 500,000 spectators will line the 26.2-mile course, which runs eastward from rural Hopkinton through eight cities and towns.
At Wellesley College, the screaming young women can be heard eerily in the distance as runners approach the 12-mile mark. The noise becomes deafening as runners pass the lovely campus on their right.
Among the Hawai'i runners, the fastest qualifying time belongs to a 25-year-old Dane Casper Dahl, an exchange student at Hawai'i Pacific University. In the Honolulu Marathon in December just his second marathon he finished in 2 hours, 42 minutes, 20 seconds. It won him a trip to any major U.S. marathon.
The choice was easy: "It had to be Boston," he said.
In Boston he hopes to break 2 hours, 30 minutes.
"I will adjust my pace for a time of around 2:26-2:27 and see how things go," he said.
Adjusting pace can be tricky because the first half of the marathon has some steep downhills. The second half includes the three Newton Hills, the last of which is famed Heartbreak Hill in mile 21.
Hawai'i's No. 2 seed is Joseph Alueta, 38, an administrative planning officer for Maui County. He ran 2:42:58 in Honolulu last December, beating perennial winner Jonathan Lyau by almost 3 minutes.
Alueta has ran 2:36 twice most recently in the Maui Marathon in 1998.
Why is he doing Boston?
"I'm getting old and want to run some of the key marathons around the world," he said, adding his goal is "To enjoy the experience. I don't expect a PR but will try to run a solid race."
Early this week, he was home sick "sick as a dog, on antibiotics," he said. "So my last two weeks before Boston (stink). But I will be there."
For the first time, the marathon will start runners in two waves. The first 10,000 those with the fastest qualifying times will start at noon, the rest at 12:30. Within each wave, there will be additional sorting, as in the past the fastest going into corral No. 1, just ahead of the invited elite runners.
It's chip timing that makes such a start possible. Chip time measures time elapsed from the moment a runner hits the starting mat until he or she crosses the finish line.
Boston has used chips for years, but this will be the first year chip times become "official" times. It's official times on which orders of finish are determined, both in overall and age-group listings.
Until now, "gun time" measuring a runner's time from the moment the gun goes off has established official times. That has caused grumbling among back-in-the-packers since it has taken 30 minutes or more for some to reach the starting line.
Actually the very first runners to start Monday will be the elite women, at 11:31 29 minutes before the male elites. One purpose is to allow the top women to run free of possible obstruction and distraction.
Also, the early start means that almost surely the fastest woman will hit the finish line ahead of the fastest man.
Boston's total runner count is limited to 20,000. The count is largely self-limiting, through a system of qualifying times.
Those range from 3:10 for men ages 18 to 34 to 5:30 for women over 80.
Boston does, though, issue a limited number of entries to certain charities, which in turn award them to people raising funds for them.
From Hawai'i, Honolulu dentist Robert Miura, his wife, Merle, and daughter, Jennifer, provide an example. They got their entries by raising funds for nutrition and fitness research at Tufts University, a Boston-area institution.
For Jennifer, a senior engineering student at Tufts, it will be marathon No. 1. At age 21, she will be the youngest of the Hawai'i runners.
"Since she's a senior, we decided to go up there and do it," her dad said. "Hopefully we'll finish in about 5 1/2 hours."
Kit Smith, a retired Advertiser business writer, at 71 is the oldest of the Hawai'i runners. This will be his third Boston Marathon.