Today is Patriots Day in New England, the day of the Boston Marathon.
I love the Boston Marathon because it was the first city marathon to include an official wheelchair division - thanks to the persistence of activists, especially the pioneering road racer and chair designer Bobby Hall. I've also written a lot about Jean Driscoll, who won the women's wheelchair division an amazing eight times in her signature yellow racing chair.
By contrast, an official wheelchair division in the New York City Marathon came much more recently, and only after a long, ugly battle. I'm very proud to have contributed to that fight. I covered the situation for years, which is how I came to know Hall. My notes from an interview with Allan Steinfeld, then the president of the New York Road Runners Club, were to be used in evidence in the last big lawsuit, but NYRCC finally settled out of court. My long wrap-up of the fight is here, from an excellent but now-defunct online sports magazine called SportsJones.
Two Canadian women are entered in the 2005 wheelchair division, Diane Roy and the well-known Chantal Petitclerc. There are some Canadian men running the wheelchair division, too. I'd like to see 24-year-old Christina Ripp, one of my favorite wheelchair basketball players, wear the laurels this year.