After reading all of the news about the awful events at this year’s Boston Marathon, it’s difficult to imagine that anything positive could come from it. However, it appears that the a lot of people in the running community have decided to turn this tragedy into inspiration. I have read several different articles this week about how runners are doing things like running a mile for each victim or running 26.2 to show their support. It’s also widely understood that next year’s Boston Marathon will be really difficult to get into because of the large number of people who have made it a goal to qualify for Boston in 2014. Myself included.
I have always considered running the Boston Marathon to be unattainable. The time I would need to finish it is 3 ours and 25 minutes and that doesn’t even guarantee that you are in. The people who qualify with a time 20 minutes faster than that get first dibs. Then the runners with a time 10 minutes faster can register. Finally, if there are still spots open, the runners who simply qualify get to register and the faster runners get priority. Basically, qualifying gets you foot in the door but the faster you are, the better your odds.
I have been spending a lot of time riding bike lately and have only been running once or twice per week because of it. Although I recently did a 4-miler at a 7:35/mile pace which was encouraging. If I could figure out how to hold that pace for 26.2, I would finish in 3 hours and 18 minutes. This would qualify with seven minutes to spare. Since the pace required to qualify equates to 7:48/mile, my strategy is to spend the summer doing speed workouts 1 or 2 times each week and try to get my 4-mile pace down to 7:00/mile. If I can push my anaerobic threshold that far, I believe it’s possible to sustain a 7:45 pace for 26.2 miles.
Unfortunately, since the only marathon I am registered for is in October, it will be too late to get into Boston in 2014 so I would have to wait until 2015 to get in. One good thing about that I guess is that if I come up short in October, there will still be plenty of time to register for another marathon and try again.
I realize that this won’t directly help the victims or their families but it does seem like a way to make something positive out of something horrible. Maybe these people can feel a little better knowing that what they are going through is inspiring people out there to start running or people who already run to push themselves a little harder. They need to realize that their suffering and loss is NOT going unnoticed and they are actually helping to improve and extend the lives of hundreds if not thousands.