The $75 million Mitt Romney has spent on his presidential campaign appears to have more than paid off; polls now show that Romney is favored to win not only the Republican presidential nomination, but also the Boston Marathon.
"I didn't even realize he was running," said Roxbury, Massachusetts, resident Wanda Cooke, "but now that I do, I'll definitely support him. It would be great to see an American win. And a Massachusetts man at that!"
The news that Romney was competing in the race came as a surprise to many because in order to compete in the Boston Marathon, runners must generally complete another documented marathon within a relatively stringent "qualifying" time. Romney, who has never before run a marathon, is clearly not a qualified runner.
However, the Boston Athletic Association, which hosts the Boston Marathon, allows a limited number of non-qualified runners to compete on behalf of a charity, provided they raise at least $4,000 for the organization. Apparently, the BAA allowed Romney to register as a charity runner based on his political action committee's $10,000 donation to the faith-based nonprofit organization National Organization for Marriage in 2008.
And now, following a plethora of sporty television commercials, a coveted endorsement by Nike, and a double-page ad in the Boston Herald proclaiming his athletic prowess, Romney is a clear favorite to win the race. If Romney does indeed take the race, he'll be the first American man to win the Boston Marathon since 1983.
Last year, hopes were high for American Ryan Hall to win the Boston Marathon, but he finished in a disappointing 4th place. While many had initially favored Hall to win the 2012 race, polls now show Romney with a significant lead over Hall.
During a training break yesterday, Romney told a group of Bostonians enjoying the sunny weather along the Charles River, "As I see it, the Boston Marathon is part of a bigger picture. The original marathon happened when a soldier ran from Marathon, Greece, to Athens to carry the message of Greece's victory over Persia. On marathon day, I'll be carrying the same message of victory to the American people."
One of the spectators pointed out that Pheidippides, the original marathon messenger, collapsed and died after delivering his victory message.
"I don't plan to do that," laughed Romney.