CAPE COD TIMES
There are, according to film and television lore, “Eight million stories in the Naked City.”
On Monday, there will be close to 30,000 thinly clad runners in the Boston Marathon, all with stories to tell about their journeys from Hopkinton to Copley Square. More than 100 of these tales belong to official entrants from Cape Cod and the Islands. These are some of them.
Dr. Tim Lepore of Nantucket and Kevin Petrovek of Hyannis are members of Boston’s Quarter Century Club, a group of 46 who have completed 25 or more consecutive Bostons.
The 66-year-old Lepore ran his 43rd in a row last year and will be on the starting line again. Petrovek, 60, will be teeing it up for the 38th straight year.
Only Neil Weygandt of Upper Darby, Pa., and Bennett Beach of Bethesda, Md., have a longer active streak than Lepore. Weygandt finished his 45th last year, and while he is entered on Monday, he said he’s calling it quits because of numerous injuries.
That leaves Beach, with 44 straight, tantalizing ahead of Lepore by just one year – and 26 miles, 385 yards.
Petrovek is 10th on the all-time list.
Lepore will be the subject of an upcoming book, “Island Practice, Adventures of a Nantucket Doctor,” by Pam Belluck, health and medical writer for The New York Times, scheduled for publication in June.
Belluck tells one anecdote of Lepore competing in a road race on the Nantucket and being tailed by a police car. He was pulled out of the race to perform an emergency Caesarean section.
Lepore, who ran Boston for the first time in 1968 when there were only 900 runners, said last week he is healthy and ready to keep his streak intact.
“These days the goal is just keep going and get to the finish line,” he said.
And then there’s Dave McGillivray, the new director of the Falmouth Road Race who also runs Boston. And the operative word is “run.”
McGillivray will be at his post as the marathon race director at the crack of dawn on Monday – actually, probably before the sun comes up – overseeing anything and everything.
When things begin to wind down (and hopefully cool off, what with the expected hot, steamy weather) at the Copley Square finish line around midafternoon, he will head back to the Hopkinton starting line and run the course for the 40th consecutive year.
For the last 25 years – McGillivray has been the Boston Marathon director since 2001 and on the job in various capacities since 1988 – he’s covered the course with only a few friends and supporters by his side. He finishes when it’s dark – but he always finishes. Last year it took him 4½ hours.
Amazing, right? So how about this: The 57-year-old McGillivray has staged a personal “birthday run” every year since he was 12, when he celebrated by running 12 miles. When he turned 13, he ran 13 miles, then 14 on his 14th birthday.
You see where this is headed? Yup, last August he ran 57 miles around his North Andover neighborhood, starting at 2 in the morning.
All of the Boston iron men still have a long way to go to match the beloved Johnny Kelley, who started 61 times and finished 58. He ran Boston for the final time in 1992 at the age of 84.
Larry Cole of Harwich is 78, a Korean War veteran, former college professor with a doctorate in economics, a former Harwich selectman, a passionate ice hockey player and, most definitely, a road runner.
If all goes according to plan, Monday evening he will be a Boston Marathon finisher for the first time.
Cole, who ran a marathon in Arizona in 2006, is a fixture on the local scene. He doggedly pounds out 5Ks, 10Ks and half-marathons with a distinctive, hunched-over gait. Some runners glide, Cole grinds.
He competes in about 35-40 races a year and often wins his age group. His goal at Boston is to get in under five hours.
While age may be a state of mind, the reality is there are only 42 runners in the 75-79 division, and there are only 10 total in the marathon older than Cole (five in the 80-plus bracket).
Don’t bet against him. It’s competitors like Larry Cole who give the sport its soul (and sole).
Pete Stringer of Osterville will be running his 30th Boston, and now at 70 years old he enters a new age division. He’s hoping – “not predicting,” he insists – for a four-hour finish, which could get him into the top 10 in the 70-74 bracket.
But the Hopkinton-to-Boston trip will be a only warm-up for the inspirational and indomitable Stringer. Next week he is competing in the Sri Chinmoy Self-Transcendence Six-Day Race in Flushing Meadows, N.Y. It’s insanely simple: See how far you can run beginning at noon, Sunday, April 22 through noon the following Saturday.
Stringer is fit and focused. He trained hard over the winter and is aiming to complete 350 miles. Do the math: That’s an average of nearly 60 miles a day. Monday’s mere 26.2-mile marathon will feel like a lap around the track.
Last year Tom Deeg of Eastham was the top local finisher, posting an excellent time of 2:27.34. He was in the top 50 overall. ... Joe Navas of Eastham was among the top masters, 11th in the 40-and-older division, and the leader of the Whirlaway racing team, which won the masters team title. Navas ran 2:33.17. Both are entered on Monday.
The Boston Marathon charity program is expected to raise more than $10 million for 31 organizations. Many of the Cape Cod and Islands entrants are competing for causes personal and poignant.
Chris Mehmel of East Sandwich is running in honor of the support and treatment his children have received from the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary.
Matthew, 24, and Rachel, 16, have retinitis pigmentosa, a debilitating disease that causes a constricted field of vision, light sensitivity and night blindness.
Chris is not without his own challenges. A birth defect left him without a weight-bearing right foot and his leg shortened, but prosthetic technology allows him to run.
“I want to set the example for my kids that even though they may be visually impaired, they will succeed,” he said.