From the Masses, an Elite Emerges at Boston
Stephen VanGampleare, an engineer from Colorado, ran negative splits on his way to an Olympic Marathon Trials qualifying time.
The night before the 2019 Boston Marathon, Stephen VanGampleare slept on a buddy’s couch, in a studio apartment across from Fenway Park. The 28-year-old’s feet might have hung off the end—he’s 5-foot-10—but he was too grateful for the hospitality to admit it if he was the slightest bit uncomfortable.
“I don’t have much of a problem sleeping on a couch,” he said.
On Monday morning, he got up, met a few other runner friends at 5:45 a.m., and took the T down to baggage check for the race. From there, they boarded a yellow school bus out to the athletes’ village near the marathon start in Hopkinton. He ate a bagel with peanut butter, a banana, a crunchy peanut butter flavor Clif bar. He got comfortable on a plastic trash bag in the soggy grass, waiting until it was time to walk the 0.7 miles to the start. On the way, he stopped in the CVS parking lot on Main Street and changed into dry shoes and socks.
And from that mundane marathon morning routine—one that resembled the ritual thousands of other runners went through on the same day—he took his place at the front of wave 1, corral 1, and ran 2:18:40. Wearing bib No. 143, he qualified for the Olympic Marathon Trials.
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