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MARATHON NOTEBOOK

On a rainy day, bright spots seen

Considering the way morning broke in Hopkinton, Guy Morse was pleased with how the rest of yesterday unfolded.

"We certainly did catch a break with the weather," said the executive director of the Boston Athletic Association. "It was bad out there. We've never seen it so bad."

The rain overnight and early yesterday morning caused race officials to scramble with the infrastructure in Hopkinton. Because of flooding in a lower field where portable toilets are usually set up, Hopkinton High School and Hopkinton Middle School were opened and made available to runners before the race.

The conditions, said Morse, "cost us great anxiety during the night. The conditions were too bad to re-tent. So we came up with the idea of working with the school system to open up the schools to provide heat and other things. It was a collaborative effort to go forward."

According to Morse, there were 20,646 official runners, meaning that approximately 10 percent -- a lower number than expected -- didn't show for the race. And there were fewer dropouts than expected, although any hurting runner would have been shuttled to Boston by bus.

"That's a testimony to the runner," Morse said. "That runner qualifies, enters here, and wants to run. That was our motivation, to make sure the runner got that opportunity."

Morse also praised the volunteers and said that even during the worst of the storm, there was no consideration of postponing the race and running it today, citing the challenge of obtaining permits and dealing with runners' travel schedules.

Early show
While Morse was pleased with how Hopkinton shaped up, he laughed when asked about this year's 10 a.m. start.

"How ironic is that?" said Morse, who might have benefited from two additional hours of prep time. "I still think it's the right thing to do. We're more likely to have a warm day than one of these days. If we have one of these days in every 111 years, we'll deal with it.

"In retrospect, it might have been better. Conditions improved as the day went along. At the same time, I think everyone will be pleased to be finished and out of here by 4 or 5 o'clock instead of 7, 8, or 9."

Peter Gilmore, the top-finishing American male, said the 10 a.m. start wasn't a big deal for him. He said one of the bigger challenges of early races is to transport runners to starting locations. For the New York City Marathon, runners have to travel to Staten Island for the start.

"There are so many races that start early in the morning," Gilmore said. "It's nice to be out at 10. If it was hot, it would have made it a lot different."

Commanding lead
With his victory, Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot all but clinched the World Marathon Majors title and a $500,000 bonus. Cheruiyot's 75 points from three straight victories give him a 50-point lead over a quartet that includes countryman Stephen Kiogora ( third yesterday), Ethiopia's Haile Gebrselassie , Kenya's Felix Limo, and Brazil's Marilson Gomes dos Santos , all of whom are running in London Sunday. Latvia's Jelena Prokopcuka , second yesterday, increased her edge in the women's standings to 20 points over Kenya's Rita Jeptoo and 25 over Ethiopia's Berhane Adere, who will tie for the lead if she wins in London . . . Impressive marathon debut by Samuel Ndereba , who finished ninth in 2:17:04. Along with four-time Boston champion Catherine Ndereba, whose personal best is 2:18:47, their combined effort shattered the global brother-sister mark held by Tanzania's Simon (2:11:34) and Banuelia (2:24:59) Mrashani .

Sense of pride
Brian Wean, who was featured in the Globe yesterday for overcoming an addiction to drugs and alcohol on the way to qualifying for Boston, finished in 3:13:40. "That was hard," said Wean. "That was tough, and the weather was not really forgiving, but it was better than everyone expected it to be. But, God, that second half is kind of tough. I'm so thrilled to be done. I'm proud of how I did. I may not have PR'd or broken three [hours], but I finished the Boston Marathon and I feel pretty awesome. I hurt pretty much the whole way, but that's OK, too. It's all about the experience. I'll definitely be back."

Windbreaker
Prokopcuka, at the front of the lead pack for a good chunk of the race, wasn't pleased with having to do the grunt work into the wind. "No one wanted to help me," said Prokopcuka. "I had to run along and make the pace. I don't like jogging. When I was behind the girls, I was simply jogging." Gilmore, who manned the back of the men's lead pack, said there were moments when the runners opened up, giving him a jolt of the wind. "It was blowing hard," said Gilmore. "I could see that's why those guys were just jogging." . . . Given the conditions, fan attendance dropped off dramatically, especially along stretches of Beacon Street, where crowds usually run several bodies deep. "I imagine that when the weather is nicer, the crowds would be tenfold," said top American women's finisher Deena Kastor.

Trail blazer
When asked about the separate start for the women, Kastor tipped her hat to Kathrine Switzer, the first woman to enter (under "K.V. Switzer") and run Boston in 1967 . . . Red Sox wives Dawn Timlin (4:26:29) and Shonda Schilling (4:53:58) ran without the company of Kathryn Nixon, who competed last year while husband Trot was still a member of the team.

John Powers and Shira Springer of the Globe staff contributed to this report.

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