Marathoner who died is remembered
By Peter Demarco, Globe Correspondent, 4/21/2003
As he enters Cleveland Circle this afternoon, he will pass by the spot where his sister-in-law, Cynthia Lucero, collapsed during the Boston Marathon last year, becoming only the second runner to die in the race's 106-year history.
Stirling will still be 4 miles from the finish line, but his race will be over. From that point on, he said, he will be running every step for Cynthia.
''When everything first happened, I couldn't even think of running a marathon,'' Stirling, from Long Island, said yesterday. ''But the more I thought of it, I remembered telling Cynthia that I wanted to run a marathon with her one day.
''I would like to finish the race for her. She deserves that.''
The Boston Athletic Association is making sure every registered runner also remembers Lucero, who died of a condition known as hyponatremia brought on by the excessive drinking of fluids.
Before today's race, runners received brochures titled ''The Right Way to Hydrate for a Marathon,'' which explain the dangers of hyponatremia as well as dehydration. Excessive consumption of fluids can cause a potentially fatal dilution of sodium in the blood.
Public address announcements stating the risk of hyponatremia will be made in Hopkinton at both the Athletes' Village and the starting line.
Race officials were also considering the installation of scales at checkpoints, because weight gain during the race may indicate the onset of hyponatremia. They planned to push runners to consume sports drinks, which are loaded with electrolytes that balance the system's sodium and fluid levels.
Though his race will be marked by sorrow, Stirling -- who will wear Lucero's registration number, 15,611 -- predicted today will be a good day for her family, her fellow runners on the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's charity running team, and her former colleagues at the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology, where she had just completed her dissertation.
The marathon epitomized the Ecuador native's indominable spirit, her strive to succeed, and her love for being with people, Stirling said.
Rick Muhr, Lucero's running coach on the charity team last year, said all 160 members will wear a button with her picture.
''But more than what people wear, it's what they will feel in their hearts that's going to make the real difference,'' he said. ''I think Cynthia's spirit will be carried in each of their hearts.''
This story ran on page B1 of the
Boston Globe on 4/21/2003.
© Copyright 2003 Globe Newspaper Company.