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To Boston with Love
Leigh Montville
April 20, 1987
From its start in Hopkinton (below) to the finish 26.2 miles later, the Boston Marathon is special to those who live and toil along its course
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April 20, 1987

To Boston With Love

From its start in Hopkinton (below) to the finish 26.2 miles later, the Boston Marathon is special to those who live and toil along its course

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"Fire?" Mick DeMeo, a fellow fireman, asks.

"The one about the Olympics. Something to do with fire."

"Chariots of Fire?"

"That's the one," Lennon says. "The guy said his friend had been training every day, listening to the theme from Chariots of Fire on his Walkman. He thought it would be nice to play the music here when his friend turned into the hills. The guy set up these giant speakers. Started playing the song. Played it so loud you couldn't hear anything. Couldn't hear the radio. If there was a fire you couldn't have heard the call. We had to tell the guy to cut it out.

"There was a runner in here yesterday. He was taking a shower in our water fountain. I said, 'What are you doing?' He said, 'Cooling off, it's good for you.' I said, 'Maybe it's good for you, but that's where we drink water. And you're taking a shower in it.' "

Runners appear at Station 2 on Christmas. They appear on New Year's Day. Station 2 is where the race course moves into the hills of Newton, the Gateway to Hell, 17� miles completed, just under 8� to go, the beginning of the stretch where the race is won or lost. The rest of the year it is where a lot of runners training out of Boston turn around.

"My cousin ran the marathon one year," Lennon says. "He gave up right here at the firehouse. I gave him a ride home. I didn't say anything that day because he felt so bad, but I let him have it the next time. I told him if he was looking for sympathy about dropping out, he could find it in the dictionary between sweat and syphilis, because he wasn't going to get it from me."

There have been some nice marathon moments at the firehouse. Eleven years ago, on a 90� day when 40% of the field didn't finish, the firemen strung a hose from one of the trucks into a nearby bush to give every runner who passed an impromptu shower. It was called the Run For The Hoses. Even Freddy Lennon helped.

"Oh, you had to do something," he says. "That day was just awful. I've never seen one close to it. Before or since. Those people were just suffering. You had to do something to help."

Uphill...Downhill...Uphill...Downhill...Heartbreak Hill....

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