Kopacs at NY Marathon finish line
Mid-Hudson Road Runners Club
MHRRC Home  Recent  Humor  Information  Boston Marathon  NYRRC Races  Other Races  By Friends
Lynne in NYC

Kopac's Corner

The 1997 Boston Marathon Sideshow Awards

by Bob Kopac

April 21, 1997- the 101st Boston Marathon! My pre-race expectations were totally wrong. I had predicted John Lennon's lyrics "Cold Turkey has got me on the run" would be the theme for the 101st Boston Marathon because after 38,000+ runners experienced the runner's high of the 100th Boston Marathon, the Boston Athletic Association was limiting the 101st field to 15,000 entrants! That meant there would be 23,000+ runners suffering runner's high withdrawal. I anticipated hordes of non-running runners (sounds like a Zen riddle) on the side of the course in a daze, like the zombies in Night of the Living Dead or the guests on day-time attack talk shows. I predicted there would be runners with signs saying "Buddy, can you spare a 10K?", and that the race would have more bandits than Congress.

With these expectations in mind, Lynne Kopac, Linda "Madame Defarge" Stow (who knitted in the car) and I drove from Poughkeepsie, New York, to Natick, Massachusetts, to spectate along the marathon course. The reason for this road trip was to chronicle the "crazies and MHRRC members"--if we could find them in the crowd of runners.

However, there were only 11,000 entrants on race day! What happened? Did thousands of runners realize that they had climbed the mountain of running--the 100th Boston Marathon--and that there would never be a running experience to match the 100th? Perhaps they read A.E. Housman's poem To an Athlete Dying Young and found it to be a Heaven's-Gate prophecy? I discarded that line of reasoning, however, since no one reads anymore.

Perhaps it was the Joe-Gosselin Theory, that thousands of marathoners had ground their joints to dust during the 100th Boston Marathon.

We anxiously approached the course at Natick at the 10.658 mile point, wondering whether the race would be completely filled with serious runners (boring), or whether there were enough free-spirited runners worthy of receiving the Sideshow Awards. With less than 1/3 of the runners from last year, perhaps no one would qualify for the awards! However, I am pleased to report that there were several interesting runners (interesting, as in "That's an interesting looking baby"). Armed with camera, pen, and paper, we captured the events and bestowed the following Sideshow Awards as well as one disqualification.

The Run-The-Flag-Up-The-Race-Course-And-See-Who-Salutes Award goes to the runner who carried the United States flag the entire race.

The New-World-Order Award goes to the Japanese runner's cap of flags of various nations.

The New-World-Order-Of-Fries Award goes to the runner wearing a McDonald's hat.

The With-Pi-Please Award goes to the runner wearing the race number Pi.

The Who's-Guarding-the-Statue-of-Liberty? Award goes to the incredibly large number of NYPD runners, who later received the Roseanne-Roseannadana-Nevermind Award because there was a runner in the race dressed as the Statue of Liberty who won the Crowning-Achievement Award. Addendum--after creating these awards at the marathon, I heard on that evening's newscast that robbers in New York City had stolen the concession receipts from the Statue of Liberty!

The Supply-Side-Economics Award goes to the runner who ran with a stick extending in front of his head and a beer can dangling on a string from the stick. Had the beer can been hanging upside down, he would have also won the Trickle-Down-Theory Award.

The Investor-Warren-Buffett-Fan-Club Award goes to the runner wearing a T-shirt that read "Need 2 Buffett tickets." For an investor's concert, the runner should buy the tickets.

The We're-on-a-Mission-From-God Award goes to the two Blues-Brothers runners.

The We're-on-a-Mission-From-Rodman Award goes to the runners wearing rainbow wigs.

The Boston-101-Dalmatians Award goes to the runner with Dalmatian-spotted running singlet and tights; he just missed winning the Disney award.

The Let's-Go-Dutch Award goes to the runner windmilling his arms to get the crowd animated, thus winning the Disney Award also.

The Neither-Earthshoes-Norwegians Award goes to the runner with a Norwegian flag.

The Sun-Never-Sets-On-Boston Award goes to the runner wearing a British flag T-shirt.

The Natick-Texan Award goes to the male runner wearing a cowboy hat.

The Eyes-of-Boston-Are-Upon-You Award goes to the female runner wearing a cowboy hat and a skimpy outfit.

The I-Shot-an-Elephant-in-my-Running-Shorts Award goes to the Groucho-Marx runner.

The Turban-Charged Award goes to the runner wearing a white turban.

The Lethal-Weapon Award goes to the propeller-headed runners, who could disable competitors by leaning forward and shredding the running shorts of the person in front of him or her, thus exposing private parts. Bonus award if the shredding occurs in front of Wellesley College.

The New-England-Decorum Award to the runner with the Howard Stern wig who, fortunately for the spectators, did not display his Private Parts.

The Me-Jane-Where's-Tarzan? Award goes to the individual wearing a leopard leotard.

The Beat-of-a-Different-Drummer Award goes to the race walker.

The Satchel-Paige-Don't-Look-Back and Remember-Lot's-Wife Awards to the runner who was offered water by the runner behind him.

The Magnet Award goes to the runner wearing a "Positive Thoughts Only" T-shirt.

The NEA Award goes to the runner wearing a "GO ART" T-shirt.

The Maynard-G.-Krebs Award goes to the runner wearing a "Go Daddy Go" T-shirt.

The If-I-Do-You'll-be-Disqualified Award goes to the women wearing a T-shirt which read "I'm Laila. Help me."

The Farside-Bummer-of-a-Birthmark-Hal Award goes to the runner with a Happy Face on his chest--and he wasn't wearing a shirt.

The Try-That-at-the-Dutchess-County-Classic-Marathon and the If-Found-Drop-in-the-Nearest-Mailbox Awards go to the runner who had "BOSTON" shaved into his hair.

The Unbearable-Lightness-of-Running Award goes to the woman running with a Winnie-the-Pooh helium balloon.

The Do-You-Really-Want-to-Smell-11000-Sweating-Runners-Better? Award goes to the runners wearing "Breathe Right" nose spreaders.

The Patriots-Day-Massacre Award goes to the runner dressed in a gangster suit with fedora, water pistol, and cigar.

The Saturday-Night-Live-Chevy-Chase-!Pleh-!Pleh Award goes to the backwards runner. The 1919-Chicago-World-Series Award goes to the runner wearing black knee socks.

The True-Colors-of-Christmas Award goes to the runner with red gloves and green Chia-Pet hair; he out-Christmas'ed the runner wearing the Santa Claus hat.

The What-Did-Your-Mother-Always-Tell-You? Award goes to the woman wearing a T-shirt with the inscription "Run With Scissors".

The Kato-Kaelin Award goes to the runner wearing a court jester hat.

The Beau-Gester Award goes to the runner with the French Legionnaire hat.

The Wearing-Someone-Else's-Number Disqualification goes to the runner wearing the T-shirt that read "Rev. Bill Running For Jesus."

The Runners-High Award goes to Linda Stow, Lynne Kopac and me. After staring intently at all the passing runners, we glanced at the painted lines in the road and the lines were moving!