So last night a good friend and fellow runner informed me that the Boston Marathon had closed registration for the upcoming 2010 event. This was two months before the record closing from last year. I had been convinced that I had until mid to late January to run another marathon in an attempt to qualify for this year’s race. Disney or Miami – those were the two marathons I was looking at. Based on my performance during the first half of the Manchester Marathon I thought I just had to run smarter and I would be fine. Despite my awful crash and burn in the second half, I felt like I had learned a thing or two that I could take into the next marathon.
But then my friend emailed me and told me the news. My first reaction was, “Okay, I can’t qualify for this year’s Boston. How else can I get in?” There are many charities that are awarded bib numbers that I could work with. My friend who emailed me is running for the American Liver Foundation (if you have a moment, please check him out at http://liverrunner.blogspot.com ) and he suggested that there may be a few spots left on his team. He also suggested running for Dana Farber. Another running friend mentioned the Doug Flutie Foundation. I went online and began checking out the various charities, wondering which would offer the easiest path to an official number. They are all good and well deserving charities.
I never got past the splash pages for any of the charities, some of which are somewhat close to my heart.
The truth is I started this journey, this quest if you will, with one thing in mind. I wanted to run a marathon and qualify for Boston. I wanted to be able to say, “I am a Boston Qualifier!” A few months back I saw a movie called “Spirit of a Marathon”. The movie followed the paths of several different people, of various running skills, as they prepared for the Chicago Marathon. One runner in particular put a lump in my throat. He had run several marathons, always with the hope of qualifying for Boston. He had had a good training cycle and thought that this year might be the year.
At one point he looks at the camera and says, “there are different levels of runners. There are runners. There are marathon runners. And then there are Boston Qualifiers.” I got chills hearing that. My eyes even got a little leaky. I was completely crushed when later in the documentary he injured himself and was unable to run.
I want to be on that level of Boston Qualifier. I may never reach it. I know there are ways to get in that are just as honorable. There is nothing wrong with running to change and save lives. It is just not the path that I want to take.
So now I know that I will not be running Boston in 2010. I will still run part of it. I plan on pacing my friend through parts of the race. But I hope to still run Disney in January and run a qualifying time to apply to the 2011 race. Just like a marathon itself – you get hit with bumps and challenges. The key is to power through them and achieve the goal.
That is my quest.