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A Great Race for the morons
Dan Levin
June 23, 1975
Thousands made it to Marblehead but nobody won. That's the rule
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June 23, 1975

A Great Race For The Morons

Thousands made it to Marblehead but nobody won. That's the rule

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"I don't believe it," someone else said, "a Volkswagen, a purple Volkswagen."

The oar-propelled phenomenon bobbed there, 100 feet from shore. The men inside did not seem to know what to do; there was very little precedent to go by. Slowly the VW drifted shoreward. The waves seemed to cradle it, and finally it nestled at the water's edge, too high to be swamped. Pete Talmadge jumped out, 26 years old and boyfriend of Louise, and he held an impromptu press conference. It was a 1965 VW, he said, or rather the shell of one. It floated on seven inner tubes, and for speed it was no threat to the Harvard varsity crew. At 8 a.m. it had still been in the Charles River, 20 miles from Marblehead, so Talmadge and crew carried it ashore, put it on a trailer and drove it 19 more miles and put it to sea again. But no one really minded.

By noon 120 half barrels of beer had been consumed—1,800 gallons—so no one really minded anything. As Killer Kane was saying, "We're just a bunch of people having a good time. That's the bottom line." And it is.

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