Wayne Crews lost 20 pounds over the past year, and found himself in the best shape of his life when he returned home to Minnesota from Cary, N.C., and approached the starting line outside the Metrodome just after dawn Sunday.
A little more than three hours later, he reached the finish line, with a good enough time -- 3:12:11 -- to qualify for his first Boston Marathon. But his entire body revolted at the notion. He needed the support from a running-club friend and about three bottles of water dumped on his head to feel better.
"Typical story: Way too much ambition," Crews, who once lived in Rochester, said of a pace that his mind favored but his body finally rejected.
Crews convinced four friends from his running club to venture north with him for what was supposed to be a "cold" marathon. Instead, friend Dulce Altabella awoke Sunday to hot, humid conditions reminiscent of her native Spain. An IBM engineer, she completed Sunday's run just in time to hear Crews' name announced as a finisher 40 seconds behind her, so she turned to offer comfort with a strong shoulder and a wet bottle of water.
"My goal is be the first woman from Spain to finish," she said, "and if I'm not, I'll be seriously upset."
There are 8 million stories in the naked city, and more than 10,000 of them in the Twin Cities Marathon. Here, on an unseasonably hot, humid Sunday in October -- 74 degrees and 87 percent humidity at the 8 a.m. start, the warmest in the race's 26-year history -- are six of them, culled from the finish line in downtown St. Paul: