As impressive as de Castella had been on the hills in 1986—his mastery of them, en route to a course-record 2:07:51, had inspired both Treacy and Jones to run the '87 race—Seko was equally dominant. He broke the race open with a 4:40 split for the 22nd mile (until then, the pace had been 5:04), and before long he couldn't believe how far ahead he was. Again and again he turned to look back, and saw no one.
Back in the pack in the women's race, 5'1�", 99-pound Rosa Mota of Portugal was on her way to a 2:25:21, wire-to-wire victory. Her closest potential challenger, Joan Benoit Samuelson, three months pregnant, had scratched from the race because of a torn right thigh muscle. Runner-up Agnes Pardaens of Belgium finished in 2:29:50.
Among American men, only Dave Gordon of Eugene, Ore., who would end up fourth in 2:13:30, was within foghorn distance of Seko on this gray and damp afternoon. Such is the drought in U.S. men's marathoning that no American male has made the Top 10 of Track & Field News' world rankings since 1982. "We're going like this," said Bill Squires, Alberto Salazar's former coach, holding his arm at a sharp downward angle.
The final miles at Boston are flat or downhill, and Seko savored them. He had run Boston twice before. In 1979, as an identically crew-cut 22-year-old, he had watched Bill Rodgers go past him on Heartbreak and had finished second. In '81, however, he came back to win Boston in 2:09:26. Now, against the best in the world, he was about to win again.
Seko cruised down Boylston Street through a channel of cheering fans in windbreakers and rain slickers. He raised one fist as he broke the tape at 2:11:50 and smiled, satisfied. Since the Olympics he has married, and his life low includes a revved-up seven-month-old son named, no fooling, Subaru, who now gets to ride in a Mercedes.
Jones came across second in 2:12:37, and Smith was third in 2:12:42. "He just an away from us, and there was nothing we could do about it," said Smith. Added Tones, "The whole race was about survival, really."
Seko survived. So has Boston.