Qualifying for the Boston Marathon: a Goal

I started running for exercise when I was in middle school and then competitively when I got to high school. I ran cross country, indoor track, and track & field all four years of high school (I also threw the javelin!). I was never a star but I did manage to come in 3rd place on a few rare occasions my senior year. Nonetheless, I learned to love running and it’s been a great resource for me to stay in shape since then. I haven’t always kept up with it as I should but ever since we got a treadmill in January 2011, I’ve been really getting back into it. In particular, I’ve been running increasingly more challenging races like the BAA Half Marathon last fall and a Tough Mudder a few weeks ago. Having survived these, I find myself now looking towards new challenges.

I’ve always wanted to run a marathon, but the training regimen has never really meshed with my schedule especially with all the travel I do as well as having two little kids at home who constantly desire my attention. As such, I’ve never tried. If I were to do a marathon, I’d really like to run the Boston Marathon in particular as the course runs not too far from our house and I love the thought of my family and friends cheering me on from multiple locations along the way. However, I never imagined in my wildest dreams that I could possibly qualify for Boston (I do realize that this means that I’d have to run a different marathon first) and I’ve not been particularly comfortable with the idea of asking for donations to participate on a charity team.

Despite these reservations, my thinking on this matter changed recently after discovering online pace equivalent calculators developed for training purposes (Runners World has a simple one that I like). Basically, these are tools that take your pace for a given race and estimate how you might do on a different race assuming you had done the proper training for that distance. After playing around with a few different ones for a bit, plugging in different races that I’ve done, the estimations seemed earily accurate. In the process of playing around, I entered my high school PR for a 5K (20:00) and noticed that it gave me a marathon time of 3 hrs and 15 min which just so happens to be the qualifying time for the 40-44 age group for the Boston Marathon. Now, I’m not quite 40 yet, nor can I run a 20 minute 5K right now, but I’m actually pretty close (my last 5K was just over 21 minutes) and my body has clearly done it once before. Anyways, having always wanted to beat this high school PR, I find myself wondering whether maybe I could actually qualify for Boston if I put the training in. So, I’ve set myself a goal, I’m going to beat that PR and if I can do so sometime in the next 4 years before I hit 40 and still manage to keep up the training and the distance, then I’m going to defy my pre-conceptions and qualify for the Boston Marathon.

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2 thoughts on “Qualifying for the Boston Marathon: a Goal

  1. Good for you! It’s a great goal to have. When I got back into running 6 years ago, I was in a similar condition as you are, though I was already over 40. Over the years, I improved and was fortunate to qualify. Thank god for the age groups! It is a great race, and you will definitely enjoy running in it.

  2. This update is very late in coming, but since I posted this back in May 2012, I’ve run two marathons including the Boston Marathon in 2013. Unfortunately, I didn’t qualify for the marathon, but instead ran with the Children’s Hospital team. I was very fortunate to finish 20 minutes before the bombs went off at the finish line, but I was still close by when it happened. Luckily, everyone I knew participating in the race was and still is OK. I do still hope to qualify for the Boston Marathon one day, especially after everything that happened, but I’m definitely going to need more time to train.

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