Ben Beach prepares for Boston 52nd Marathon just

A better way than to see it running. There is a rare neurological disorder at a beach, which is 69 years old now, which carries its left foot by mating gently, stretching the lower leg that aside and almost parallel to the ground with all progress.

“It's surprising, really,” admits Beach. “But I did my peace with that. This is how I have run now. ”

Beach, from Bethesda, Maryland, will start a Boston Marathon Monday and will try to extend its record to 52. It has been running a task-specific dystonia since 2002, when it was only 34 years old and tracked only years after Pennsylvanian Neil always Weygandt.

Weygandt retired from the race in 2011 at 64. In the next spring, Beach was equal to the mark and then ran Weygandt in 2013, the year of the bombings close to the completed line. In addition to thousands of other runners, Beach was still running when the course closed. But marathon officials announced those who were longer than a certain checkpoint, including Beach, official terminals.

The rhythm was not as difficult for the Beach, its best personal Boston run of 2 hours 27 minutes 26 seconds in 1981. In cold, wind and rain last year, the beach was finished until 5:46 : 59. Even while his record is being expanded, the 26.2 miles distance these days is hardly the leader going up the 18th lane at Augusta but more like up and out of the trenches into anybody's country.

“Last year was tough, and more than twice as long as it took in the good times,” said Beach. “That's the pathetic kind of me and I am disappointed that I have so much work. But we all need to grind it out some of the time at least. ”

With this self-confidence in his iron will, Beach is more willing to recognize the fate element in his amazing run – last year, he found himself in the emergency room before hernia surgery two weeks after Boston. This year, the week before the Cherry Blossom Ten Mile run in Washington-Beach this month is the only runner who has completed all Cherry Blossom race since its foundation in 1973 – put the remaining knee pain to prepare for ones. The beach finished the race in 1:44:45, just above its target speed of 10 minutes per mile.

“When it comes close to these two races, I am often more caring and paranoid,” he said. “But over the years, I have no doubt been very lucky.”

Chris Bain, from Cabin John, Maryland, is highly respected on a Beach storm. Like Beach, Eliminate his Boston strap as an undergraduate at Harvard. Remove is now coming with his 22nd Boston Marathon just. “I keep an eye on (Beach),” said Bain. “It's just 20 years before me. I would love to think that I can do what he has done, but it is hard to imagine, there is little plan. ”

Bain was a fruitful and talented local runner but now with three young children and 41 years of age, Boston is his current annual focus. “I don't know when (my streak) came to be a thing, but I love everything about the race.” Although Bain remains good about Boston qualified times – he finished in 2:42:56 two years since then – it's still three years from the Boston Fourth Century Club and the calming qualifying time of six hours.

Beach-long friend, training partner and Cherry Blossom race director Phil Stewart sent a Boston label, “Burden Benurden”, long before the beach owns. In a strange coincidence, Stewart also developed dystonia; while Stewart does not interfere, both of them received treatment at the National Institutes of Health. Beach Run and Stewart Boston met in 2013.

“When Ben got 50 years in a row,” said Stewart, “I think it was a bit more philosophical. If something came up now so that he could not run or was not qualified, he could live with him. "

This may be. But with the record strap of its own – and growing Ripkenesque every year – The Beach has a new and bigger goal: the record of 58 Boston finish, run by Johnny Kelley's marathon legend.

“Johnny Kelley isn't another I,” said the beach quickly. “It is an Olympic (1936 and 1948), it won Boston (1935 and 1945) and finished a second time (seven). I idol it for obvious reasons. ”

But if the Beach can be kept streak through 2025 – another six years, when it would be 75 – 59 Boston Marathons will have finished it, the largest ever. “If I can continue, it's within reach. But it is harder to imagine now than it was 15 years ago. ”

Some friends suggested that the beach would end on its own terms and that it would try to try something else. Because dystonia limits its passing several times a week, beach swim, bikes and rows are regular. In addition, his wife and three adult children have his unnecessary support, which he regularly brought to Boston for his annual pilgrimage.

“I feel good about the streak,” he said. “And I don't want it to finish. I am hit with how adaptive people are. Runners know that even the smallest imbalance will guarantee injury, but here I am, and I'm still turning. How my body has changed – I'm surprised. ”

It is not alone in this regard. “I like Ben Beach,” said Dave McGillivray, director of Boston Marathon race. “What he has done for more than half a century is soft reflection. The real deal is it. ”

Wind or cold waves and stormy, running with the elites or just wearing the discrete time, depending on the Beach, hitting the left leg, to be finished. Because of the Beach, spring and good day is always to run it, with cherry blossoms along the Potomac and the magnolia trees on Commonwealth Avenue bloom.

Photos: The Boston Marathon through the years:

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