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Some Thoughts on the Boston Marathon and Some Rule Changes for Dreamers Like Me

Posted Apr 18 2011 12:00am
Today was the 115th running of the Boston Marathon. To many the pinnacle of long distance running. For some it is the beginning of their elite careers while others it is the ultimate race after years of preparation and dreams. But for any that run those historical streets the world is watching for that handful of hours.  For those hours the runners are considered the best in the world, even those like me who will come in near the back of the pack. I don’t know of any other sport where on a championship day like Boston 26,000 people all are equal at the start. They all have followed their dreams, met the same qualifying times and finished their training to get to that point. But once the gun goes off the race is on and the elite soon distance themselves from the rest of the pack.
As I mentioned a week or so ago I think many people that get into running at some point dream of Boston. It is the Super Bowl or World Series for the Marathon race. Even I have the thought that someday most likely many years from now I may be fit enough and fast enough to qualify. Even to qualify you move from the causal runner to a competitive runner. That is running against a given time to make the grade and to show you can run at a certain level. I would think that when you qualify that you no longer are that average runner but now you are in a new level or category of runner, that of a Boston qualifier. Even if you would not run at Boston (I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t at that point) you are now talked about in a different light or manner.  
So here I am after three years of dreaming and halfheartedly trying to get back into running. At the moment I can run maybe a half mile or so without stopping. I know that I can and have walked a half marathon without difficulty but slowly. How in the world could I ever get to the point where I could qualify for Boston? Listening to Tracy during the Oshkosh race reinforced the desire to try for it. Her first marathon ever was Boston and she spoke of it in a special and almost hollowed manner. Her description of the crowds along the race were energizing. It is something that any runner should be given the chance to do. I thought last night as I was having a sleepless night that with the demand for Boston they should change their rules. Anyways trying to play an angle I now submit the following rule change suggestions to the Boston Athletic Association and the race itself. Maybe at least one of these changes can get me to Boston.·         The elites are of course are allowed to run annually. Their career span is short enough without having to deal with my rules.·         If a runner qualifies and runs they will not be allowed to run in that age group again. That is unless they placed in the top 100 in their age group. This should allow a lot of people to run the Boston who may not be able to. So to say it more simply, you can only run once in your age group.·         If you have not run in an age group and have qualified you have up to the end of the age group to run the race. This allows people who either have health issues or cannot register for a given year a chance to see their dream come true.·         If you complete two of the other major marathons in a given year (like Chicago, NY or London) you should be allowed to run Boston. This would give you a trifecta.·         If you are married at the race or have a baby at the race you run it free. Ok, if you have the baby you get to run it the following year.·         There should be a lottery for 1000 people to be drawn to run the race. The cost is a minimal donation to a local running club or school track/racing program.·         If you are Irish you would be allowed one race in your lifetime. OK, if you are a Boston resident the same rule applies. ·         If you are over 70 and still can finish a full marathon you would be allowed in. ·         The top 100 people who beg the best for a slot should be allowed in once. ·         If you can name all of the winners in order you should be allowed to run Boston once. ·         Anyone who writes rule changes that are accepted should be allowed to run once.Well I can now start dreaming of Boston for next year. OK, first I have to focus on just finishing my first marathon that I will officially register for tomorrow. I was thinking while I wrote this that it’s sad in a sense that as a younger man I would dream of wealth, power and well you know other things. Now I dream of running 26 miles as fast as I can at a place called Boston as a major dream in my life. Is there something wrong with me? Maybe I’ll ask one of the 26,000 people who achieved their dream and finished Boston today.
Congratulations to all of the winners and finishers. Job well done.
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