Race day dawned crystalline and calm. Then at breakfast, in full view of Farrington, clouds scudded up from the southwest and it rained. Frank and I sat by ourselves.
"I don't feel like I have to win this, you know?" said Frank. "I want to, but I'm calm."
We were bused to the stadium, where we would start and finish, and were put in a bare, unheated room under the stands. We slathered Vaseline in our shoes and wherever skin rubs against skin. Remembering the Pan-American marathon in Cali, where he had to seek relief in a cane field, Frank went out to find a toilet.
"It's banjo, isn't it?"
"Yes. Would be embarrassing to get that mixed up."
Farrington was peering at an infinitesimal blister on Robinson's heel and saying, "Now that's going to be trouble...." when we came under attack. Fireworks exploded somewhere and a crowd of crazed, clucking officials swept us out onto the field.
We jogged a mile to warm up. The Japanese runners were grim except Usami, who smiled at friends in the crowd. The rain had stopped but not the wind. We were assembled on the line.
The starter's gun refused to discharge. We were reassembled and, finally, set off. More skyrockets detonated overhead. Usami jumped for the early lead. He did not get it. Farrington darted out of the inside lane and stayed in front until we were out of the stadium. Foster and Shalomilov kept close. Frank and I were fifth and sixth until Nikkari elbowed through.
Once on the road, the wind was behind us. The route followed the westward curve of the coastline out onto a fiat, sandy peninsula. We were to return over the same road. Usami took the lead and his pace immediately split the field. Farrington and Foster stayed with him. Frank, Nikkari and I surrendered 30 yards.