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Labatts Toronto Marathon
Toronto, Ontario
October 5, 1980

Lou Orazietti of Sault Ste. Marie, competing in his 5th marathon, finished in 281st place with a time of 3:04:09. Norm Abott placed 307th with a time of 3:09.

Article by Jeffrey Labow, Monday, Oct 6, 1980

Bill Rodgers, the No. 1-ranked marathon runner in the world the past three years, felt terrible. He was tight. He could not relax. The cold and wind had him all tied up inside.

Ron Tabb of Eugene, Oregon, who was sweating in Baton Rouge, La, on Saturday, said he almost froze his "little tail off" because he felt he was working hard and seemingly not getting anywhere in a hurry.

Rodgers and Tabb, though would have a hard time convincing the other 1,411 competitors who completed yesterday's Labatts Toronto Marathon, that they were having any major problems.

Rodgers, 32, the four-time Boston Marathon winner, who had placed seventh in a 10 K race Saturday won by Matthews Motshwarateu of South Africa in Purchase, NY, won the marathon event in 2:14:46. Tabb finished second in 2:16:56. Joe Sax of Toronto, a former Canadian 10,000 metre and steeplechase champion, placed third in 2:17:12.

"I kept saying that it was normal," Rodgers said. "But I felt terrible for the first half of the race. I usually like it cold, but I couldn't get relaxed."

The starting field of about 3,000 ran west along the Queensway and into the wind until they turned for home about 20 K into the race. Temperatures at the beginning of the marathon was 5 degrees Celcius and although the wind was not particularly stiff, it was strong enough to make a difference.

Tabb, who placed third in the last Boston Marathon, and Etobicoke's Mike Dyon, winner of the Hamilton Around the Bay Road Race in both 1979 and this year, set the early pace. It took a pack of runners, including Rodgers and Sax, almost 30 K to make up the difference. Dyon pulled out after 25 K and was limping from a sore hip when he arrived by car back at the finish line in Varsity Stadium.

"I knew the leaders had to drop back eventually because so much effort was going into fighting the wind," Rodgers said. "But I was still worried after about 20 K. I just wasn't sure if they were going to drop back. When we made the turn I could see Mike (Dyon) dying. There was a big gap between the first two guys and our pack. It might have been as much as a minute."

"Then Joe (Sax) seemed to take the pace and I stayed with him until we caught the leaders at 25 K. Even then I was really tight. I knew a lot was going to happen in the last half so I wanted to have some strength left."

Tabb, 26, said he conceded the race to Rodgers after about 32 K.

"I could feel that I was getting tired", Tabb said. "I didn't say anything to him. I just dropped back. I knew at that point that unless Bill faltered, I would get second. I was tight and I was freezing. We were going into the wind and I knew we'd have to turn around somewhere, but I hadn't had a chance to go over the course before we started and I didn't know where the turn was."

"I was pushing the pace in the first half and I remember thinking that if I keep doing this for 20 miles, I'll be in trouble. I was getting teed off because I felt I was working hard, but the time didn't show any results."

Sax, 27, said he was elated with the third-place finish since it was the first time he had run a marathon. He also learned a few things.

"Rodgers tapped me on the shoulder at one point and said to cool it, that I was going too fast and that there was a long was to go. He made a move at about 30 K and I went with him."

"Then Rodgers and Tabb started exchanging the lead back and forth. I didn't want to have anything to do with it, so I sat in behind. But I felt that I was coming up on Tabb at the end."

Andy Palmer of Wellesley, Mass, finished fourth in 2:17:24, while Ted McKeigan of Toronto was fifth in 2:20:28.

The top woman finisher was Wendy Cecil-Stuart of Aurora who completed the race in 2:58:32. She finished 208th overall.

"I just wanted to break three hours," Mrs. Cecil-Stuart said. "I didn't care where I finished as long as I was under three hours."