It started 11 years ago, in Milwaukee, actually, where Nate Sweeney and some buddies traveled to cheer for a friend running in a marathon there. Sweeney brought his boom box, put in “Eye of the Tiger” and set it on repeat for six hours.
The next year, he brought the boom box to the Baltimore Marathon course and Peggy O’Leary, who happened to be readying a tiger costume for Halloween (Roy of Siegfried & Roy had just been bitten by a tiger and another friend was dressing as the circus animal trainer), joined him in Charles Village.
Now, they’re one of the race's annual attractions, cheering every runner from first to last — quite a show of stamina itself — as runners head uphill to Guilford and 30th Street toward the 23-mile mark. By noon, the joggers have already been going for four hours and many look like they could use the pick-me-up.
Or a smile, at least.
“The best part is motivating people that walked up the hill to start running again,” says Sweeney.
(Dave Berdan, a Garrison Forest School science teacher and varsity cross-county coach, and Elizabeth Perry, of Pittsburgh, won the men's and women's events, respectively.)