The year was 1999. Amby Burfoot, the 1968 Boston Marathon champion from Groton, was sick about what he was seeing.
Year after year, American runners had disappeared from among the leaders. Kenyans, Ethiopians, more Kenyans and more Ethiopians, American marathoning? What was that?
"It hurts," Burfoot said that day 18 years ago. "We're not producing. Boston and New York are ours, damn it, and we should have guys who are at least jousting for the victory stand."
With chants of "USA! USA!" urging American runners toward the tape and no longer pleading with them to merely survive, it has grown clear to the hundreds of thousands who line the...