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Storm's a-brewin' in Boston

Ah, spring. The crocuses are coming up, the buds are ready to burst — and a nor'easter is mobilizing, preparing to race up the east coast.

Accu-weather said it could be one of those one-in-a-hundred-year storms. Damaging winds, heavy rain, and cold temperatures. And a ton of snow in some inland areas.

What better conditions under which to run the world's oldest continuous marathon. Boston.

Had a chat with the medical co-ordinator of the Boston Marathon recently. He said he knows what his medical crew will be dealing with when he wakes up marathon morning. Chris Troyanos says all he's got to do is look out the window.

An unseasonably warm day means loads of dehydrated people streaming into his medical tent. Maybe a few suffering from heat stroke, if it's warm enough. Like it was in 2004, when the temperature was hovering around 30 degrees Celsius when the gun went off at noon.

This year, the weather folks say we'll be lucky if the thermometer rises much past six or seven degrees. Throw in some wind-driven rain and you've got a recipe for hypothermia. Loads of it.

You might not feel it during the race. But — if you do managed to cross the finish line — it will kick in moments after you stop as your body realizes how cold it is and does everything it can to divert all your heat to your vital organs. Your hands and feet go white. Your teeth may chatter so violently, you're convinced they'll shatter.

And, oh yeah, they've moved the starting time up two hours earlier this year. So we wouldn't be running in the heat of the day.

The only person officially entered in this race who will run under anything resembling comfortable conditions is Sunita Williams. She's on board the International Space Station, where she'll be running the distance on a treadmill. In the comfort of climate-controlled zero gravity.

She'll be held down with straps so she doesn't float away as she approaches her virtual Heartbreak Hill.

They may have to hold down some of the runners if early predictions of tropical storm force wind gusts of up to 80 kilometres-an-hour hold true. Those winds will be out of the east, meaning that we will be running into that wind for the entire 42.2 kilometres.

Me? I've got a plan. As those feather-light racers who are used to breaking the tape get blown off their feet, I'm going to make like Larry Czonka. Put my head down and barrel up the middle.

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