Friday, February 18, 2011

Why I won't be running Boston

For those marathoners who have been hiding in a closet this week and missed the news, the Boston Athletic Association just announced new qualifying standards for their glorious marathon. The Boston Marathon, or "Boston" for those who are close friends, is one of the few marathons left in the US that require the runners to meet certain standards of speed for entrance. Standards which used to define "runner" but now just define "faster runner." Mind you, non-elite athletes can meet these standards. The times are graduated for sex and age (the older and femaler you are, the slower you can run).

It was JUST BARELY POSSIBLE that if I maintained my current PR of 5:30 until I reached 80 years old I could qualify. Now that dream has been taken away from me. The new qualifying standard for an 80 year old woman has been dropped to 5:25. While that's a 12:24 minutes/mile pace, I can't even hold that for a half marathon, let alone a full. Thanks a lot, BAA, for changing my future.

Fine, I'm joking. As a confirmed back-of-the-packer who has dreams of being a middle-of-the-packer, I have no problems with the change of standards. Lots of people are running marathons and why shouldn't the fastest runners have some way of showing off their speed. If too many people apply then raise the standards. If it's still too crowded then raise them again. I always thought that even though I might be running the same route and day as a 9 minute miler or a 7 minute miler (not even counting the elite 5 minute miler), the race experience is entirely different for each of us. This just confirms and gives them their own race. Most of the Rock 'n' Roll/Competitor races are for my people, the poky ones. Let Boston skim the top tier and RnR skim the bottom.

I'll keep running whatever race allows for 6 hours, keep trying to beat my best time and hope that there is a medal and a bagel left for me at the finish.

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