David D'Alessandro says there's a $imple reason Americans are nolonger world-class marathoners. Money.
'There is more money running 10Ks than there is runningmarathons,' says D'Alessandro, the John Hancock vice president andmajor mover behind the Boston Marathon. 'A marathoner can only runtwice a year. Their bodies get beat up so much, two times is it. Aperson can run a 10K each weekend. They can run 20 a year if theylike.
'The top Americans run 10Ks. Some of them can pick up $25,000 toshow up as appearance money if they have a big name, and others mightbe able to get $10,000. This is where the money is. It's not inmarathoning.
'That's why we will continue to keep the Boston Marathon as amajor international event. We feel the way Rob de Castella does.
'When he ran in our race and won it, he said that the two greatestvictories a runner can have are winning the gold medal in theOlympics and winning Boston. He said you run the Olympics for yourcountry, but you run Boston for yourself.'
This is the 10th anniversary of the marriage of John Hancock andthe Boston Athletic Association, which has controlled the eventthrough its 99-year history.
'The first two or three years we were together were a little roughat times,' says D'Alessandro. 'But since then, it has been terrific.Everything is smooth. We know what has to be done to keep this thebest marathon in the world each year and do it right while protectingthe tradition of the race. That's why we have agreed to another10-year deal with each other that will keep this thing going at ahigh level into the next century.'
D'Alessandro says this year's field is loaded once again. 'Thebest want to be here now because they know the rest of the best isgoing to be here to compete against. There are a lot of mind gamesin this marathon business, and we get to see some of the best of themplay out right here in Boston.'
What an idea for the Red Sox, especially on this weekend of givingand miracles. It came to me out of the heavens after Rog, Jose,Greenie and the bunch were quoted as saying the club could be a bigwinner this year if it could land Randy Johnson from Seattle.
How about this? Rog, Jose, Greenie and the bunch go to managementand say, 'We want this guy and we're willing to put our money whereour mouths are.' Then they pass the hat in the locker room and comeup with a couple of million in cash to close the deal.
This is not an original idea. Magic Johnson kicked back somemoney to the Lakers so they could sign players. Michael Jordan didit with the Bulls. A number of the 49ers had their contractsrewritten last year so the team could have the money to sign DeionSanders, who certainly helped put San Francisco over the top.
The Mariners have money problems. Give them a potful and tellthem to use it to sign up the other players they do not want to lose.Then everyone is happy, and the Sox won't have to give up some of theyoung talent they want to protect for the future. I'm sure when theSox top guns pick up on this idea, they'll be burning rubber to getto the nearest ATMs.
We now know why Forgetful Finneran does not want the state tobuild a megaplex. He can't count. Here's a guy who, as the majorityleader in the House of Representatives in charge of the state budget,loses $26 million. This is the same guy who didn't want to giveapproval to build FleetCenter unless Jerry Jacobs, owner of theBruins, repaired all the broken-down hockey rinks in the city. Whatdid Jacobs have to do with Boston hockey rinks? Nothing, butForgetful Finneran still wanted to shake him down . . . on behalf ofthe state, of course. I was delighted to read that Finneran had toadmit he can't add, because I've been saying all along that thereason House leaders (another word demeaned) Finneran and FumblesFlaherty do not want a megaplex is that they cannot deal with theidea of $700 million. It's just too big for them. The only way thiscan get done is if we get top business people who are used to dealingwith hundreds of millions and, most of all, won't lose $26 millionsomewhere in the accounting.
Congrats to former Boston College football standout Mike Mucci,who recently was promoted to lieutenant in the State Police and isnow commander of the station at Wellington Circle.
Message to all you Golden Domers in the area. The old coach, AraParseghian, needs your help. Three of Ara's grandchildren have beendiagnosed with a rare genetic disorder called Neimann-Pick Type C.This disease is fatal. There is no cure, and presently no treatment.Ara has decided to dedicate the rest of his life to raising funds tobattle this disease and has started a research foundation. On May15, a golf tournament will be held at Greenwich (Conn.) Country Club,one of the best tracks in New England, to help Ara. He will bejoined by Joe Theismann and Bill Parcells, to name two of the manysports celebrities to be involved. Get a group. Get a bus. Getinvolved. Maybe your luck against BC will change.