Part One: Laying the Groundwork
by Bob Molinatti
What a difficult task to look back over the many racers who have provided us with so many special moments in history. How exactly does one go about deciding who to add to the most exclusive list of racers, while at the same time omitting others who might potentially be deserving. The “best” are the ones who just had a way of standing out above the rest. So lets get to it!
The 4 basic attributes, characteristics or strengths I have laid out are: Major marathon victories, Longevity of career, Versatility, Social and historical significance.
- Significant wins on the road, in particular or maybe even specifically winning the Boston Marathon goes a long way towards securing a top position. In my mind, Boston was our Superbowl. Miami Dolphins QB, Dan Marino won a lot of big games, set many passing records and is in the Football Hall of Fame. But make no mistake, he will never be in the discussion of the Greatest of All Time/G.O.A.T. He just won’t. Why? because he did not win a Superbowl-period. (Side note: while winning Boston certainly has significant weight in making the top 10 list, it is not necessarily a sole factor to make it onto the top 10 list.)
- How did this racer perform in the Paralympics? I see this as relevant due to the fact that winning in the Paralympics means you can perform to the highest level in more than just one venue. Versatility matters. Winning road races is critical, but rounding the track at 20 plus miles per hour just inches from fellow competitors is another whole skill set. While silver is a pretty nice medal to have, gold medals add to an athletes cachet. Winning is winning.
- Longevity. Hey, anyone would dream of one Boston Marathon win and one Gold medal at the games. That would look pretty cool on your mantle over the fireplace, but there are too many champions who have accomplished this task multiple times. Sustaining a career goes a long way toward earning a spot on this prestigious list of athletes. After all this is very exclusive company and it only goes to reason that the list will feature those who stood the test of time.
- Historical and social significance. There are those who have carried themselves and communicate in a way that furthers the understanding that sacrifices made are very real and not just present for inspirational moments to uplift the public at large.
There are those who may not always agree with my picks, but understand that I am doing this on the basis of the criteria I established above and as well what I witnessed covering the sport for nearly 2 decades. I can only vow this; I will strive to be objective and fair. The reason I pick one over another will be based on the formula in the 4 items above and reflection of athletic performance.
The 6 part series will be released one week at a time:
Part One: Laying the groundwork
Part Two: The honorable mentions
Part Three: The countdown, 10, 9 and 8
Part Four: Racers 7,6,5
Part Five: Racers 4,3,2
Final: The G.O.A.T