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Boston mess occurred

Wet conditions hamper locals

April 17, 2007|by ANDREW MASON

Mark Cucuzzella made the most of a wet and chilly day in Boston on Monday.

Cucuzzella, 40, of Shepherdstown, W.Va., finished 138th overall in a field of more than 20,000 runners at the 111th Boston Marathon. He covered the legendary 26.2-mile course in 2 hours, 41 minutes, 15 seconds. He placed 14th in the Masters (40-and-over) division and - for the second straight year - first among Tri-State competitors.

"The conditions were about as hard as I've ever run here, and I've run this 15 times," Cucuzzella said. "It was just cold. The temperature was like 50, but you were going into a headwind in the rain, and that's what makes you cold.

"But it was a fun experience being out there. Everyone was experiencing the same thing and trying to help each other out."

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Other local finishers included: Rebecca West, 27, of Chambersburg, Pa., who finished 6,759th overall in 3:35:09; Laurie Dymond, 41, of Chambersburg, who was 9,786th in 3:47:19; and Benjamin Herrmann, 32, of Greencastle, Pa., who was 11,420th in 3:56:15.

Former Chambersburg High star Ed Schlichter, 24, of Charlotte, N.C., went through the first 5K checkpoint in 16:40 - on pace for a 2:21 marathon - but finished in 2:57:28 in 725th place in his Boston debut.

"I wanted to go out hard, and I went out hard," said Schlichter, whose goal Monday was to break 2:30. "I knew it would probably cost me in the long run, but I wanted to give it a go. I guess I have too much pride.

"I felt great aerobically, but I was battling leg cramps the whole way."

Cucuzzella, whose best time at Boston is 2:24, had hoped for a better placing in the Masters division. His time last year - 2:31:42 - would have made him the third Master on Monday.

"I was hoping to be top-five. I also was hoping to get a better day. The cold rain and winds, they zap you," Cucuzzella said. "I went from 6-minute pace to 7-minute pace the last 6 or 7 miles. It wasn't a complete death shuffle, but a partial death shuffle.

"At this point, though, I'm feeling pretty good about the day. I'm done, I'm 40 and I've got a job and two kids. To them, whether you run 2:30 or 5:30, they don't care."

Schlichter also was able to put a positive twist on things.

"I had fun with it. The crowd was amazing," he said. "I'll take a lot away from this experience.

"As disappointed as I am, I know some people really look up to 2:57. I just wanted to run a lot faster."

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