Fifty years ago, cameras were trained on the Boston Marathon through the eyes of Walter Hewlett, who would win the Heps cross country championship by 55 seconds that fall, and one of his professors, Erich Segal, who authored the bestseller Love Story.
The footage includes the 19-year-old Hewlett disputing the number of possible fans along the route with 26-year-old Segal suggesting that he couldn’t begin to account the numbers watching in Kenmore Square.
Segal — an accomplished sprinter in high school — transitioned to the marathon when he enrolled at Harvard and ran at Boston for nearly 20 years. This marathon was his best ever — finishing in 2:56:30, good for 63rd place, despite nasty 40-degree weather.
Hewlett, running his first marathon, finished 16th in 2:32.44, the fastest ever run by a teenager at that time. Hewlett — now a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences — would serve on the board of directors of the Hewlett-Packard Company for two decades and was a member of the Harvard University Board of Overseers and the Stanford University Board of Trustees. He has also served as the chairman of the board of the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation since 1994.
Segal — who passed away in 2010 — provided color commentary for the 1972 and 1976 Olympic marathons for ABC Television. He not only called Frank Shorter’s marathon victory in Munich with Jim McKay, he had also been his professor for two courses at Yale University.
When an imposter entered Olympic Stadium ahead of Shorter, it was Segal who lost his cool, shouting “That is an impostor! Get him off the track! This happens in bush league marathons! Throw the bum out! Get rid of that guy!”
Runner’s World’s Amby Burfoot would call it “one of the most unprofessional, unbridled and totally appropriate outbursts in the history of Olympic TV commentary.”