Winners all

By

IT was Toshihiko Seko's race. And it was Rosa Mota's. But just as surely the 91st Boston Marathon was everyman's race, too. What other sport allows the devoted amateur to compete in the same event as the world-class athlete? What other sport allows such a broad range of victories?

There is a winner in the men's division (Mr. Seko), in the women's (Ms. Mota), and the wheelchair division (Andr'e Viger). Some win by scoring a personal best, or just by finishing the race. The race has its folk heroes, like the two John Kelleys, father and son - aged 79 and 56, respectively - who both ran the course Monday, the senior Kelley for the 53rd time. One father has for years run the marathon pushing his handicapped son in a wheelchair before him.

And all these victories are cheered on all along the route by what must be one of the most supportive crowds in sports.

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Against this background the question of amateurism versus corporate support seems curiously irrelevant. But the ``appearance money'' from the John Hancock Insurance Company does seem to have enhanced the appeal of the race to runners, particularly those from overseas, whose presence makes each winner's victory more meaningful.

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