In 1970, I was a high school senior at an all-male boarding school, full of vim and vinegar, and I thought it would be cool to finish the Boston Marathon. I always looked for challenges that were different.
I was a wrestler in high school, but otherwise I had abandoned two years of running JV cross-country in order to play house (recreational), and then Fifth Form (club), football. You'd have to be a preppie to know what I'm talkin' about.
I think that high school cross country meets back in the 60s were 2.6 miles. The Boston Marathon had been in the news because that's where a male accosted a woman athlete and tried to drag her off the marathon course to ensure the "purity" of the sport of long-distance running, which hardly anyone even cared about back then. You see, women's constitutions were considered to be delicate, a myth I knew to be ridiculous, even in my youth. (Right: The way it was in 1967.)
I would be over 18 on the day of the race. I thought that I could do 26.2 miles, thanks to the energy of youth, even though my longest runs up until then (other than 5 mile training workouts which consisted of twenty quarter mile laps interspersed with 220 yards of walking) were those 2.6 mile cross country meets. I think a couple of meets might have been 5Ks. All I had to do was run the distance I was accustomed to, times ten. If I had to walk a bit in the latter stages, what was the big deal? Such is the brain of a teenager.
My guidance counselor at the school turned me down flat. Maybe he was wise and knew that I couldn't make 26 miles, no way no how, without a base.
I was irked because otherwise I was doing whatever I wanted on weekends. Meaning I'd sneak away from school for weekends in NYC while my stodgy stay-at-school roommate "checked" me in with the housemaster on Saturday nights. ("Oh Peter's here too. He's asleep.") Those were the late Vietnam years, when authority sort of adhered to "don't ask, don't tell" when it came to youth.
The problem was that the Boston Marathon was run on a Monday (Patriot's Day in MA) and I couldn't finagle being absent from school on a Monday in NJ without securing permission from a responsible school official. Permission was not forthcoming.
Sh*t, since I was already 1-A (that's draft lingo, I was draft-eligible because I refused to take a student-deferment as being an unfair entitlement), I thought, How could anyone refuse a request of mine?
I always regretted that missed opportunity to participate in the Boston Marathon before the advent of qualifying times.