The Boston Marathon is the world’s oldest annual marathon, originating in 1897. Held annually in Boston, Massachusetts, 30,000 runners show up to be a part of history. Over 500,000 spectators line the streets to cheer the racers along the course.
The Boston Marathon is different in many ways from the local marathons we have around here. It’s a point to point race, going through three different towns. This means the race ends in a different place than where it starts.
Security at the race is over the top due to its high profile. I’m sure you all remember the bombing in 2013 when three people died and 280 people were injured from two bombs that went off near the finish line.
Another way the race is different is that you can’t just register – you have to qualify at another race. Your qualifying time is different depending on your age and gender. The older you get, the longer your qualifying time gets, but as you get older, it’s harder to run faster.
Not all marathons are “Boston qualifiers”. They have to get certification from the Boston Athletics Association. Some of those races nearby us are the Kamloops Marathon, Vancouver Victoria, and Seattle.
Another reason the Boston Marathon is different is everyone there is fast. They’ve all earned the honour to be there. They aren’t there to get a t-shirt – they want to be part of this amazing historic race, to live it.
I started training for the Seattle Marathon almost immediately after finishing the Death Race ultramarathon in August. I didn’t train to finish, I trained to qualify for Boston. My qualifying time is 3hrs 25min, but they let the faster runners register first until the race is full. What that means is if your qualifying time is 3hrs, and you finish in 3hrs, you still won’t get to register because the people who finished in 2:45 etc., will fill up the race first.
Race day in Seattle was cool, but it wasn’t raining. Fifteen thousand people were in Seattle to race the half marathon and Marathon. Seattle has a great course that includes a huge floating bridge, around Lake Washington, and of course Seattle’s downtown which has the Space Needle.
My wife Juanita came to Seattle with me for support and she also ran the half marathon with a great time of 2:01.
I ran with a pace group for a finishing time of 3:05. I did well for the first 32 km, then the course has a bunch of hills at the end which I struggled with. In the end I finished with a time of 3:09 – 16 minutes under my qualifying time and also my fastest time in the marathon.
So my family and I will go to the Boston Marathon in 2017, as the 2016 race in April is already filled up. We will make a nice little vacation out of it with a week or so in New York.
Hopefully this story will inspire you to go for your dreams or goals and appreciate the amount of work you have done to get you there.