On Monday I will be running in my first ever Boston Marathon. It is a big deal.
For many people the idea of running 26.2 miles without stopping is not just unexciting but unfathomable. I hope to show with this entry why I am tremendously excited to run in this race.
The Boston Marathon is the oldest race of its kind in America. I will be in the 113th edition. That’s right, this race has been going on every year since 1897. It is widely considered one of the best marathons in the world. It is a race that just bleeds history. I will be running with around 25,000 people. That’s right, so many people want to run this race that they have to put a cap on the number who can officially enter. I will have good company on race day. Ryan Hall and Kara Goucher, both 2008 Olympians, are expected to finish near the top and both have a good shot at winning. Bill Rodgers, an American who won Boston 4 times in 6 years in the 70s will be running for the first time in 10 years.
This is not an easy, flat course. The elite guys who want to set world records go to places like Chicago, Berlin and London. The guys who decide who run Boston (and elites generally only run 1-2 a year) simply love the course, the experience and the running. The course is mostly downhill for the first half making it seem deceptively easy. But than when you get into the teens, the hills start. They are notorious and infamous, none more so than the last, called heartbreak hill. It’s not big, it just comes at the one point in the race you would prefer it not to.
I want to run fast and get under 3 hours, 7 and a half minutes faster than my debut marathon in january at Disney World. I am under no illusions that this is an ambitious and difficult goal to meet. I will have to stay focused and run hard the whole time. I have to hope my legs don’t tighten too bad near the end as they did as Disney. I will have to run with a confidence that to be honest I very rarely have.
Ultimately though this is more about the experience than the time. Boston is run on a holiday that’s only here in New England, Patriot’s Day. The race, in it’s entirety is shown on network TV here. To be a local experiencing this for the first time is a huge highlight of my running career and my life.
I don’t know when I will cross the finish line on Monday, but when I do I’m going have a smile on my face.