Marathon Runners

Today is a day that many marathoners dream about, talk about, prepare years for and aspire to in a way that is unique to the sport of running.

Today is the day that upwards of 25 000 people will be propelling their bodies, one foot in front of the other, for 26 miles 385 yards (42.195km) in what is arguably one of the world’s most prestigious road racing events.

This third Monday in April (Patriot’s Day in the United States) is the day that for the last 114 years has hosted the Boston Marathon.  It is the oldest annual marathon in the entire world.

For those of you who haven’t been exposed to the world of marathon running, the Boston Marathon is like the Masters in Golf, like the World Series in Baseball, the Superbowl in football or like the Stanley Cup finals in hockey….

But…

…instead of only genetically gifted professional athletes competing, mere mortal amateur athletes can compete…

…If they are fast enough.

One of the things that makes this great race so amazing is that in order to toe the line on the 3rd Monday in April in Boston, you must run a qualifying time at a certified marathon.  Qualifying times are determined by your age on the date of the Boston Marathon in which you will be participating.

The Boston Marathon tightened the qualifying time standards after this year's race sold out in record time. The last time qualifying standards were adjusted was in 2003. That year the qualifying times for athletes 45 and over were relaxed. For the 2013 race, the qualifying times will be lowered by five minutes for all groups.  Source: USA TODAY research

Qualifying times for the 2012 marathon:

Age group

Men

Women

18-34

3:10

3:40

35-39

3:15

3:45

40-44

3:20

3:50

45-49

3:30

4:00

50-54

3:35

4:05

55-59

3:45

4:15

60-64

4:00

4:30

65-69

4:15

4:45

70-74

4:30

5:00

75-79

4:45

5:15

80 and over

5:00

5:30

 

Qualifying times for the 2013 marathon:

Age group

Men

Women

18-34

3:05

3:35

35-39

3:10

3:40

40-44

3:15

3:45

45-49

3:25

3:55

50-54

3:30

4:00

55-59

3:40

4:10

60-64

3:55

4:25

65-69

4:10

4:40

70-74

4:25

4:55

75-79

4:40

5:10

80 and over

4:55

5:25

The first time I got the notion in my head that it would be a good idea to take approximately 42 000 steps in a row, I was still 2 years away from the start of my first marathon. 

Even in my first tentative lessons about what was required in mental and physical stamina to make it to the finish line of this endeavor, I heard whispers about ‘Boston’.

In almost every conversation that I have had about marathon running, The Boston Marathon is mentioned and discussed.  It is a race that once qualified for and completed brings prestige and pride to a runner like no other running endeavor. When other runners see an athlete wearing Boston Marathon Finisher paraphernalia, it becomes whisper and awe worthy.

To hundreds of thousands of recreational runners, qualifying for the Boston Marathon has become the Holy Grail of running. 

Registration for today’s 115th running of the Boston Marathon caused some controversy when it sold out in a record 8 hours.  Traditionally the race's online registration is open for months, but this year thousands of qualified runners were shut out from being able to register. 

With more and more interest and participation in marathon running, and many runners having qualifying for Boston on their ‘To-Do’ lists, more people are qualifying for Boston each year.  

This has encouraged race organizers to tighten the standards for qualifying as well as change the way that registration happens. Rolling registration will be implemented for the 2012 race. Registration will be based on qualifying times with the fastest qualifiers (in relation to the qualifying time for their age and gender) being accepted first until the race is full. 

This will make the process for those hoping to get a spot in future Boston Marathons even more arduous and challenging.

I have to admit that in my ‘pacer-not-a-racer’ running style, there is little hope that my current finishing times at my current age bring me even close to qualifying for Boston.  I have however, wondered: ‘What if I dialed it up a notch…..could I run that fast?’

My truthful answer to that question, even with the new qualifying times is….’Maybe….someday’.  The good news about that answer is that as long as I can maintain the speed that I’ve got right now, I will have a Boston Qualifying time in about 10 to 15 years…which means that someday I will be old enough to run Boston 🙂 

For now, I remain a recreational runner whose running Bucket List includes qualifying for and running the Boston Marathon.  Until I can accomplish these feats of strength and become part of that special club surrounded by mystique and prestige, I shall remain a dedicated supporter from the sidelines to my friends, patients and colleagues who are already there.

I wish the best of luck to those athletes running the Boston Marathon today, especially those who will head to the start line there for the first time. You are truly taking fabulous running steps into the history books of sport.

Peggy

  

Dr. Peggy Malone is a Chiropractor and an Athlete who helps other athletes to overcome injury and get back to their sport. She also inspires patients from all walks of life to take control of their health to be as happy and as healthy as they can be.

A former varsity Basketball and Rugby player, she has since entered the world of endurance athletics where she has completed 2 Ironman Triathlons, 3 Marathons, several Half Marathons and many other Triathlons, Road Races and Off-Road Adventure races of varying distances.

Her own athletic endeavors and injuries have given her valuable insight into working with athletes in her practice for both the care of injuries as well as for the improvement of athletic performance.

Her eBook Shin Splint Solutions has helped hundreds of athletes get past the pain of Shin Splints and get back to doing what they love.

 

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