We set off from the house, nice and easy. Bill Rodgers said he still ran six times a week, about 40 miles. His strides were light and effortless; he talked easily. He spoke about his longtime friendships with fellow runners; his famed running centers, the last of which closed in October; his new book, "Marathon Man." He mentioned the three-time winner Cosmas Ndeti of Kenya, who had given his son the middle name Boston. He stopped to say hello to a pair of unleashed dogs. (Rodgers usually stops for crazy dogs. He said he's only been bitten once.)
The road wound down to a barn and an open field, and then out of the sun and into the woods, where we ran over tree roots and pine needles. "I think next year I should run Boston," Rodgers said suddenly. He'd been considering running in 2015, the 40th anniversary of his first win. But this felt right. "I think I am going to do it, no matter what. I want to do my part. Make a statement."
It had been a painful week, in the sport and beyond. Everyone felt it, including Boston Billy. But he was hopeful. "The beauty of the sport is always there," he said. "You can't take that away. You can't."