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In what may be his final Boston Marathon, MIT senior Daniel Feldman covered the 26-mile, 385-yard course in two hours, 23 minutes and 32 seconds on Patriots Day, finishing 32nd overall, 30th among all male runners and seventh among men from the United States.
Feldman, a civil and environmental engineering major from Portland, Ore., topped his previous best time of 2:30.51, recorded last year when he finished 52nd overall. He finished 62nd in 2000 in 2:33.
Feldman's run this year was generally uneventful.
"Most of the time I was just by myself and focusing on running fast and finishing with a good time," said Feldman, who was competing in his third Boston Marathon and fourth marathon. "My final time was probably much better than I expected. In some respects it was fun, but it was painful too."
A member of the track team before he decided to concentrate on marathons, Feldman trained by running 10 to 15 miles a day.
"I'll probably do other marathons again, but I'm still undecided about Boston," he said. "Because I'm a senior, it will be difficult for me to make it back to Boston again in future years. But we'll see."
Members of the MIT community were a presence along the route as friends and classmates cheered vociferously and offered water to official and unofficial runners from MIT and elsewhere from Hopkinton to Copley Square.
Krzysztof Fidkowski, a junior from Macungie, Pa. running in his second marathon, finished in 2:48.12, topping his time in last February's Hyannis Marathon by three minutes. He ran Boston unofficially two years ago in 3:02.
"My run felt great," said Fidkowski, who is majoring in aeronautics and astronautics. "I said hi to a number of runners and asked them what time they were going for, but I pretty much ran my own race." He hopes to compete again next year.
Stanley Hu (S.B. 2000 in computer science and engineering, M.Eng. 2001) covered the course in a personal best time of 2:56.30, his first sub-three-hour marathon. Hu, who is on the technical staff of Vanu Inc. in Porter Square, did not compete last year due to an injury.
Dreaming of a 2:50 finish, Hu pushed himself to run miles 14 to 17 in just over six minutes each. He paid for the effort.
"My calves cramped momentarily when I got knocked off my stride running up the Newton hills, so I backed off," he said. "My calves felt fine after that one incident, but my pace started to slow. My excuse: the course got harder. And it started to hurt.
"I saw so many people who I knew--guys on the MIT distance team camped out on Heartbreak Hill, fellow members of the Greater Boston Track Club scattered all over the course and even friends I hadn't expected to see out there. I tried to smile and wave to them." He is undecided about competing in the Boston Marathon in the future.
Kathleen Huffman, a sophomore majoring in materials science and engineering, ran unofficially, accompanied by her boyfriend, sophomore Phillip Kelleher, during the first half of the race and by Boston College student Becky Pferdehirt at the end. Pferdehirt "literally pulled me the last 400 meters so I could finish," said Huffman, who is from Findlay, Ohio, and had never run the distance before. Her unofficial time was 3:41.
MIT Safety Officers David Barber and Brian Foti, competing for Team Brigham, which raises money for needy women and children, encouraged each other for the entire race and crossed the finish line together in 5:29.05. It was the first marathon for both.
"Absolutely unbelievable," said Barber. "What a fantastic atmosphere, from the bus ride out, to the crowds cheering your name, to the overwhelming Heartbreak Hill, to the sight of the finish line as you round the corner onto Boylston Street, to actually crossing the finish and realizing, 'Wow! I just ran the Boston Marathon and finished.'"
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on April 24, 2002.