BOSTON (CBS) – It’s been 30 years since the last American runner won the Boston Marathon, and the man who carries that title is getting tired of hearing about it.
“The loudest cheer when an American wins will be from me,” said Greg Meyer, who won the famous race in 1983. “I don’t want to be the last American to win. It would be great for our sport if another American stepped up to win.”
Meyer, now 57, will be racing for the first time since he was the first person to cross the finish line at Copley Square 30 years ago. This time, he’ll be running with his two sons.
“I’m excited, as always. It’s great to be back, and the B.A.A. makes returning champions feel so special. Running with a couple of my kids, it’s been great. This year I’ve been coach of the Hancock team so I’ve been able to do some long runs with them. It’s been great training.”
“Boston is the soul of distance running,” he said. “The enthusiasm for the Boston marathon and the people who come all weekend long, it’s fabulous. You feed off it and you go home more pumped up and excited about running than when you got here – except you hobble more.”
Meyer is hoping the title of “last American to win Boston” won’t be attached to him on Tuesday. But with the top three men — Ryan Hall, Meb Keflezighi and Abdi Abdirahman — dropping out, it’s hard to envision him passing that proverbial torch onto another male runner.
Gallery: Elite Runners
But one of the many elite women is a different story.
“I think an American woman has a good shot. The men, with the top three Olympians dropping out, the odds become great unless it’s another hot day and everyone else slows down. On the women’s side I think there’s a chance.”
Desiree Devila came very close in 2011, running the fastest race by an American female at 2:22:38, but finished second. She won’t be running this year, but there are two runners Meyer thinks has a chance.
“Kara Goucher knows the course, and Shalane (Flanagan) grew up here,” he said. “Desy, although she isn’t running, showed them it can be done. Even though she came up a hair short, she showed them you can race the Kenyans and you can beat them.”
“My gut tells me Shalane has the best shot. She’s a New Englander and there’s a hunger in her that makes it different,” explained Meyer. “It helped me living here. Look at the people who won here, there’s a connection to being close to this course. You get caught up in it and it’s a passion that this is the race you want to win.”
“I read that’s how she feels. This is what she wants out of life,” he said of Flanagan.
Should Flanagan, Goucher or any other American to be the first to cross the finish line, Meyer joked he’ll send them a case of Sam Adams 26.2 beer, made special for the Boston Marathon.
But the beer or the title, those won’t matter come Monday afternoon should an American claim the 117th Boston Marathon.
“I remember the year that I won, someone said I just missed the record,” he said of his 2:09:00 finish in 1983. “It doesn’t matter, it was about winning Boston. It’s not about being the last one to win. I’m satisfied with having won it once; I’d love someone else to do it again.”
Tune in to the 117th Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013 on WBZ-TV, the only station with start-to-finish coverage of the race!