Only in the Boston Marathon

Updated: April 9, 2013, 8:37 AM ET
By Doug Williams | Special to ESPN.com

In the early days of the Boston Marathon, some runners were accompanied by cyclists who provided water -- or something stronger -- to keep them energized.

"They did crazy things like put ammonia and water on a sponge, almost like smelling salts, to get a runner to perk up," says Richard Johnson, curator of the Sports Museum in Boston. Other runners got whiskey or even strychnine, says Tom Derderian, a runner and marathon historian who has written two books about the race.

"It ...

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