Friday, April 17, 2015

My road to the 2015 Boston Marathon

Every single person racing this Monday has a different story of how they made it to Boston. This is mine:

Let's go all the way back to the beginning...

I ran my first marathon, the Philadelphia Marathon, in 2005 at the age of 24.  I didn't quite know what I was doing and it took me 4 hours and 29 minutes to finish, but I was ecstatic to finish.

As a newly christened marathoner, I was certainly aware of Boston and its prestige, but I just never bothered to dream of one day qualifying.  My next two marathons also took me well over four hours, so I honestly didn't think I was physically capable of it.

But then my 4th marathon happened.  Something must have clicked with my training that year, or I was finally coming to better understand the distance, because at the 2009 Philadelphia Marathon, I ran a 3:30, shattering my PR by 42 minutes.

I was seriously impressed with myself and wondered if a BQ might now be in the cards.  Even if I originally thought a BQ was a 3:20.

I decided that if I went all in, I would stand a chance at taking another 20 minutes off of my PR and run my first BQ.

The following summer, I started my training regimen and put my heart and soul into it.  I trained harder and smarter than I ever had before, and it all paid off.  I needed to run 3:10:59 or faster, and I ended up finishing in 3:09:45.  I had never been more proud of myself than in the moment I crossed the finish line that year.

I also made a YouTube video documenting my training that year.  You can watch the video here.

Unfortunately, my timing was pretty lousy.  2010 was the same year that registration for Boston sold out in 8 hours.  Three months after I qualified, the BAA changed the registration rules to the current system of allowing the fastest qualifiers to register first.  Even though I qualified fair and square under the rules in place at the time of my marathon, I was subject to the new rules put in place after I qualified.  When registration rolled around in September, it was official: I did not make the cut.  I was heartbroken.

I let myself sulk for a little, but I ultimately knew what I had to do.  I just had to suck it up and train all over again.  It took a few years and a few false starts, but I finally made a concerted effort again in 2013.  Everything had changed now, though.  I was now 3 years older, married with a full-time job, and the qualification time was now 3:05 flat.  I once again went into the Philadelphia Marathon that year with more doubt than I care to admit, but once again prevailed with my current PR of 3:03:05.

I then had to wait nearly a year for registration to come around, all the while wondering if BQ-1:55 would be enough.  Turns out it was - but by less than a minute.  But no matter.  I was finally in.

But all that hard work only earned me... more hard work.  Over the past four months, I've run roughly 800 miles.  Every single one of those miles was run outdoors, many in some really tough conditions.

The dream was officially born in 2009, and now here we are over 5 years later, and I'm finally on my way to Boston.  We're leaving for Boston tomorrow, and on Monday the dream finally comes true.

If you've followed me for any or all of this journey, thank you.  This one's for you.


  1. Congrats and Good Luck Monday Scott! Run well and safe!

  2. Hope you have a fantastic time. You earned it!

  3. I've been following your journey for some time, but I didn't realise your first marathon was 4:29 - that means there's hope for me yet! All the best today - I hope you do yourself proud :)

    1. Most definitely. Just takes a lot of patience and hard work, but you can do it!

  4. Wow can I just borrow some of your determination?? Awesome story!!


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