HIRED CREW TAKES ON BOSTON MARATHON START LINE PAINTING

THE METROWEST DAILY NEWS

Unlike their predecessor, two men used computer-generated stencils and a spray gun to paint the Boston Marathon starting line.

On Wednesday, Bob Letendre and Will Belezos, foremen for RoadSafe Traffic Systems of Avon, took on the task of Ashland resident Jacques “Jack” LeDuc, who painted the line with friends and family for 37 years. RoadSafe has painted the finish line many times.

The work started around 9 a.m. after traffic died down.

“How does it compare to Jack?” Letendre asked a small group gathered around the line. “I tried rolling it. someone told he he used to roll it.”

He said he found it tough to get precise lines and to fill the crevices with a roller before moving to the sprayers. The company typically does roadwork, including painting bicycle lanes and symbols.

“It is not just another day on the job,” he said. “It is the start line of the Boston Marathon.”

Belezos said the finish line is painted overnight, with Boylston Street completely closed. This is his first time have to deal with closing half the road and painting in stages.

Hopkinton resident Amanda Maffei stopped by to snap a photo for Facebook, or possibly her very first post on her newly created Instagram account.

“There are a lot of people that don’t see it get painted,” she said. “I was expecting to see Jack.”

Before signing copies of his new children’s book, “Dream Big,” at the Hopkinton Library, Dave McGillivray, race director, made an appearance.

The starting line is more than just putting a fresh coat of paint down, he said.

“People from around the world are starting to arrive and will come and take pictures,” he said.

He said 60 percent of the field is running the race for the first time.

“When they come here and see this line it is the culmination of years of hard work and training,” he said.

LeDuc decided to retire from painting the line on his 67th birthday. He said the biggest challenge is the weather and he never liked tying up traffic.

One of LeDuc’s favorite parts was painting the line with his friends Paul “Buzzy” Buswell and Dr. Charles “Doc” Bobeck, who died in 2010 and 2011, respectively. His daughters, Laura McGee and Jeanne Bloom, also became a large part of the tradition.

As a small tribute to LeDuc’s dedication, several Boston Marathon officials painted a symbol of a paint roller with LeDuc’s name on it.

His legacy lives on.