Research shows the success of a bacterial community depends on its shape.
"An amazing, moving, life-changing experience," said Monica Rixman, a fourth-year graduate student in materials science and engineering.
"The experience and the spectacle were great! Unlike any marathon I've run," said Ron Duncan (S.B. 1986).
Rixman and Duncan, both first-time participants in the Boston Marathon on April 21, were savoring the experience.
Duncan, an experienced marathon runner, covered the 26.2-mile course in 3:18.8. Rixman, running her first marathon, did 4:18.5.
"Completing the race against so many odds made me feel that all those things you tend to think are out of your grasp or impossible--maybe they aren't after all," said Rixman, who suffered numerous injuries while training and carried a bottle of throat spray during the race. "Completing the race made me feel as though if I could do that, I could achieve absolutely anything."
In an e-mail to friends and supporters, Rixman described the moment she crossed the finish line. "Crying, laughing, screaming, I wanted to hug every single person I saw," she wrote. The day after the race, she said, "I am hobbling around my apartment with a digestive system that is completely screwed up and quadriceps that won't even help me climb onto my stool to have breakfast ... I wouldn't have given up yesterday for anything. I will remember that day for the rest of my life."
"Every time I thought I was running too fast, I'd move to the edge and high-five some little kids so I would focus less on pace and more on spectacle," said Duncan, a circuit designer in Silicon Valley.
As he ran through Framingham, he heard someone shout, "Go Ron Duncan." Since he wore no identifying sign, he was surprised. Turning, he recognized an old friend, Cheryl Brown, and waved to her. Duncan advises runners to write their name on their bib, shorts or body to elicit personal cheers.
Approaching the finish on Boylston Street, Duncan reveled in the cries of appreciation and encouragement from the sidelines.
"'Don't go too fast. Soak it up,' I kept telling myself," he said. "But the crowd and the emotions put more spring in my legs and it ended way too quickly as I passed several runners down the stretch."
Leaving Duncan with one thought: "Do I really have to wait 365 days to do it again?"
Duncan's teammate and co-worker, Paul Osepa (S.B. 1982) finished in 3:42. Andrea Hatch, an administrator at the Picower Center for Learning and Memory, completed her 26th consecutive Boston Marathon in 5:16.05.
Daniel Feldman, running in his first Boston Marathon as an MIT alumnus, finished 25th in 2:30.27. He competed in his final three years at MIT, finishing 62nd, 52nd and 32nd. Feldman received the S.B. in environmental engineering science last June.
Junior Brian Loux, associate features editor of The Tech, ran 4:48.35 in the first road race of his life. "My back and legs have yet to congratulate me," Loux wrote in Friday's edition. "They'll get over it."