The main story at this year's Boston Marathon was the heat, which rose to 89 degrees during the event.
Race winner Wesley Korir didn't ignore that factor, employing strategy rather than speed to win the 116th running of the famous race. He said as much after the race, via the Associated Press:
Korir, a resident of Louisville, Ky., who is seeking U.S. citizenship, said he likes running in the heat because it allows him to think more about strategy than speed. That outlook may have helped him when the lead pack picked up its pace and left him behind before Heartbreak Hill.
“When they took off, I wish I had an opportunity to tell them, ‘You guys are crazy,’” Korir said. “I was not going to go with them. I thought about my daughter. I thought about my wife. I didn’t want to go to the hospital. I wanted to go home.”
Sure, his finish time of two hours, 12 minutes and 40 seconds wasn't blazing by any stretch of the imagination. But with the sun blazing enough as it was, it was all he needed to win and earn a cool $150,000 for doing so.
I think we often think of running events as purely physical endeavors. In sprinting, it's the fastest guy that wins. In distance races, whoever has the most endurance wins in the end.
To a certain extent, that holds true. But strategy also plays a big part in any race, namely the longer events. When do you hold back with the pack, and when do you make your push? Do you go for the early lead or hold back and make your move late, when others are tiring?
Determining that strategy was especially important this year. According to the Associated Press, 2,181 runners needed help at Boston Athletic Association medical tents (the most ever), 500 runners were treated at Red Cross stations, 215 runners who were taken to area hospitals and 15 to 20 of those runners were admitted overnight.
Thankfully, race organizers were prepared, and no casualties occurred. And racers like Korir proved that strategy often trumps speed in such an event, especially when the elements make their way into the story.
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