Sport: Marathon

For a long time Joie Ray was the best miler in the U. S. But he was more than that—he had what journalists call color. He would boast about what he was going to do and then he would do it. People called him "Chesty Joe" but they admired him and Ray kept on running and boasting and driving a taxicab in Chicago. Over a year ago he quit competition. Everyone said he was through. And then Ray announced that he was going to enter the 26-mile Boston Marathon on Patriots Day.

It was a crazy thing to do. Ray had never...