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The great nor-easter of 2007

So Robert Cheruiyot and Rita Jeptoo were right. If there was going to be a problem with the 111th running of the Boston Marathon, it would be the wind. Cheruiyot took his third Boston title on Monday, April 16, in a time that was about six minutes slower than his winning time of last year.

On Saturday, both runners — both champions from last year — said rain and cold were easily dealt with, but wind would lead to slower times.

As it turned out, the storm of the century, the nor'easter they said would hit 24,000 runners with the worst conditions in recent memory, wasn't that bad.

Temperatures hovered around eight or nine degrees — decent running temperatures. And the rain had pretty much ended by the time the elite men started their race at 10 a.m.

Overdressed runners were shedding layers within the first few miles.

But there were windy spots. Mile 16 has been dubbed Hell's Alley by the elite runners. It's a mile-long gradual hill over an expressway that exposes you to wicked crosswinds. Nothing makes you want to veer off the road, seek shelter and a warm beverage more than heading uphill into a cold crosswind, especially since when most of us reach that point, the elites are pretty much done for the day.

The medical team had set up emergency warming centres along the course to deal with an expect surge in hypothermia cases. They were empty when I passed them — those few times I could take my mind off how bad my gut felt so I could sneak a peak. And the medical tent at the end — which I managed to avoid — didn't appear to be any busier than usual.

Of course, the weather forecast is improving for later in the week, long after they've cleaned up the last of the tens of thousands of discarded water cups that littered the course — and long after the thousands of people who come from around the world to run this marathon have gone home.

There really is something special about Boston. Throw in a nor'easter and you've got a story to embellish for your grandkids.

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