” RUNNING ON EMPTY “
It was lots of fun working
with Bobby and Tim
Not to mention
being back with my buddy Jim.
Tim & I trained very hard
for the big “Pru” race.
We wanted to win
so we brought in an Ace.
My second tour with Jim Hilliard in Boston was a hoot. I lived in the Back Bay, ran on the Charles almost every day, and dated the lovely Laslie Palmiter. WVBF, which was located in the 52 story Prudential tower, was within walking distance of Fenway Park. The station had a suite over looking third base, and I spent many sunfilled days watching the Sox play. The “Pru Tower” was so massive that it even had its own yearly 5K Race. Unfortunately, the Gillette company, who occupied two entire floors, always fielded a sizable team. We also had some serious runners at WVBF, and even I’d picked up some speed since hiring Thom Hunt, an elite runner to coach me.
I felt pretty good about the race because, a couple of weeks earlier, I’d run a half marathon in Winnipeg with my nephew, Jamie Boychuck (pictured with me above). Over the years Jamie and I had competed in a few races, and I suspected that he was just itching to beat his old uncle for the first time. This year, we were running our first half marathon because as my coach Thom Hunt said, “Always take the young long.”As Jamie and I were stretching before the start, I noticed Olympian Jeff Galloway (pictured above) had lined with the local elite runners. I was a big fan of Jeff and had read all of his books when I first started running. Even today, they are considered to be the runners’ bible.
When the gun went off, I assumed that Jamie had tucked in behind me. Thinking that he was waiting for the perfect moment to go me, I picked up my pace. I’d never run this fast before and was praying that I wouldn’t go into oxygen debt. When I finally saw the finish line, I gave it everything I had and finished in 3rd place with a PR of 1:31.
While waiting for Jamie to come in, I surprisingly saw Jeff Galloway crossing the finish line about five minutes later. Later, I called my coach and told him, “I finished the race ahead of Jeff Galloway, but he was probably dogging it.” He said, “Well, that’s Jeff’s story. Your is, you beat him!”
When I got back to Boston, Tim Reever (WVBF’s Sales Manager) had discovered that the guy who won the race every year was a “ringer” from Gillette’s New York office. We decided, right then, to tell Hilliard that we needed a sports consultant for a few days. Jim’s only question was, “Just how fast is this consultant?” “World class fast, sir” was my reply.Thom’s only question when he arrived in Boston was, “Do you want me to just kick the “ringers” ass or do you want me to hurt him too?” Tim and I both agreed that he needed to feel some pain.
Race morning the weather was perfect, and Thom said, “I have good news and bad news. The good news is that I’ve spotted the ringer. The bad news, for him, is that I’ve never heard of him.” Thom (pictured above) claimed that he knew the name of every runner on earth who had the slightest chance of beating him.
When the gun went off, the runners headed down a small incline onto Boylston and then over a small bridge to the running path on the Charles. The race leaders were already out of sight by the time I hit Boylston, and when I finally reached the finish line, I anxiously asked Thom, “Did you win the race?” Thom claimed that the finish was never in doubt. As I begin my own post-race stretch, the ringer hobbled over and asked Thom, “Just who the hell are you?”
As the “Pru” repeatedly replayed the race on their lobby monitors all week, I never tired of watching Thom and the ringer finish. Thom looked like he’d been out for a Sunday walk while the ringer looked like a Duck Billed Platypus as he gasped and stumbled his way to the finish line.