As Mejia dropped back, the crowd booed and threw paper cups. "It was a bad thing for them to do," said Shorter. "I didn't like it, but I got a kick out of it. That anyone would feel that strongly about me either way is flattering."
The next time Shorter passed the spot where he had nailed Mejia, he yelled at an official. "I just wanted to let him know a guy needed a step before he could cut you off, and that Mejia didn't have it," he explained. "Every time I passed him I kept yelling, 'International Rules of Competition No. 31 says you have to have a step.' "
The marathon began under a hot afternoon sun. Halfway through the race, Shorter, who had been flirting with dysentery all week, discovered he had to go to the bathroom. "And I'm proud of myself," he said later, "because I did it discreetly. I looked around for the right place for nearly 10 minutes. I saw a truck, but I didn't do it there because I figured everyone would follow me. Then I ran past a billboard. Finally, I just dived down into a little ditch. There were two people there, but they were men."
When Shorter disappeared into the ditch, Moore figured he was through. "When he stopped," Moore said, "he told me to go on, that it hurt too much. He said, 'I'll see you in the stadium.' Then about a mile and a half later this figure comes up alongside and says, 'Boo! Hi, Kenny, I'm back.' And here's this fresh grinning face. He said, 'I feel great, really ready to run.' Mejia took one look at him and almost ran into a ditch."
"I tell you, it was cathartic," said Shorter. Later, he and Moore figured that he had to run at about a 4:40-mile pace to catch the leaders. "And he says, 'Come on, let's step it up,' " Moore recalled. "But he went a tick too fast. I told him and he slowed a little. But soon he was going a tick too fast again. I knew I'd never finish at that pace but, after asking him to slow a little three or four times, it was obvious I was holding him back and I told him to go on."
A few miles later the heat caught up with Moore. "I thought I was doing fine," he said. "I've never had heat prostration before. I didn't feel it coming, but all of a sudden it was like I was in a cocoon, just—swoosh—this terrible heat sort of enveloping me. Some very perceptive ambulance driver wisely pulled me out of the race. Another half mile and I'd have fallen, and I'd have probably scarred myself, and my wife, Bobbie, wouldn't have liked that."
Ahead, Shorter also was thinking of calling it a day. "I never thought I'd finish," he said. "I came around this bend at about 26 kilometers and I was ready to quit. But then I thought of the guy who had finished third in the Nationals and couldn't come to the Pan-Ams because I wanted to run in two races and I knew he'd be teed off if I didn't finish, and so I just kept going."
He kept going right into the stadium, the winner in 2:22.40, nearly four minutes ahead of Mexico's Gaspar Jose Garcia, to become the first 10,000 meter-marathon double winner in Pan-Am history. Mejia finished fourth.
"And you know," said Moore, "I think it will be a long time before I stop dreaming about that grinning face coming up behind me."