"What do you think?" I asked.
"It's under 4:50 mile pace."
"We can't let them get more than 80 yards."
By two miles we caught them. At 10,000 meters, reached in 29:47, the six of us were together, 100 yards in front. The crowd was immense, six and eight deep, mile after mile, and it roared at us with sustained fury. It possessed thousands of paper Japanese flags and slashed and beat the air with them in a frenzy of exorcism. The evil spirits surrounding Usami were given, at the very least, headaches.
Moving with us was an entourage of official buses and police motorcycles. The camera truck vented oily, black exhaust. When it came too near we would shout and wave it away. Frank, saving his breath, merely spit on it.
A little butterfly of a Japanese kept fluttering up to us and falling back. At eight miles I dropped back with him, in crisis. The symptoms of midweek had returned, weakness and swimming nausea. I deluded myself. World-record pace would kill them all. It was infinitely more wise to run economically, give them their too costly lead and take it back when it counted.
Robinson and Rummakko passed me.
Manners passed me. In spite of slowing I felt no better. I was cooked.
The course turned gradually into the wind. Frank took refuge behind Foster and Nikkari. Farrington ran at his side. They had left all settlement and ran now between white sand dunes and low pines. The crowd vanished and they could hear each other's breathing. The pace slowed.