The Time You Won Your Town the Race

In the Spring of 1995 with the Boston Marathon two or three days away, Wellesley College held a conference allowing the press, students and the public to meet élite, women runners who had gathered from around the world to take part. At some point in the program, Uta Pippig was introduced; and at some point in her address, I realized that I may, at the end of the conference, easily go up and talk with her.

After the last speaker had said the last word, I headed towards her, but my plan had missed something. By the time I completed the rather short distance, she had become encircled perhaps six deep with reporters and amateurs much like myself.

Especially during Olympic competition, I always marveled at how really close are the athleticism of first and second (etc.) place; but how, in contrast, so much is made of being best. Yet there I was, falling into the very same pattern. So I scanned the area where other élite runners had been, and proceeded towards one of them.

Participants in the 2010 Boston Marathon in We...

Runners Passing Wellesley College

Her being from Switzerland allowed me to parlay two, for me, weak languages into a bizarre concoction: French-German. That delight completed with a promise to shout out her name, Franziska, when she ran by. I would do that and, in the years that followed, my lungs were joined by those of my Sharon who would in several more years become my wife.

At some point her name, Franziska Rochat-Moser, came up in a report on the New York Marathon: she had won it. I bent a few ears over that, but by the turn of the century, she seemed to have disappeared from the Boston. Wikipedia is an extraordinary source of information; it has just guided me to this European Athletics article. In 2002 Franziska had died of injuries incurred when an avalanche overtook her Alpine ski-trek.

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