My Boston Marathon Journey (to Register)
You may love or hate the Boston Marathon, but thoughts of Boston have been woven through my running journey since almost the very beginning.
The journey started three years ago. I had started running three months prior. I remember sitting next to my friend on a bus as we admitted to each other in hushed tones that we wanted to qualify for Boston. We were almost ashamed to admit it because it seemed too impossible. At that point, I knew I would have to maintain a 8:23/mile pace for 26.2 miles. I think I had run several miles at that pace.
Call me your typical naive baby runner for my first marathon. I went into the 2009 NYC Marathon and maintained pace through around 15 miles. I hit the halfway point in 1:50:08 and then ultimately finished in 3:59:48.
My next attempt was supposed to be the 2010 New Jersey Marathon except I got injured two weeks before the race and couldn’t run it. I also couldn’t run for several months after that, but insisted on attempting to qualify on WAY too little training in the 2010 Marine Corps Marathon. Don’t attempt this. That is all I will say. 2010 was not the best running year by any means.
In 2011, I finally trained hard and got it right at the Reykjavik Marathon and BQed with a 3:39:06 and hit the magical sub-3:40:59 time except it wasn’t so magical anymore. It was the year they changed the qualification process and only the fastest finishers got in. I wrote how I would be devastated if I had run 24 seconds too slowly unknowingly. I was 22 seconds too slow. I have to say a bit of the magic of Boston had been ruined for me and the goal became less about Boston and more about improving as a runner. I vowed to run a sub-1:40 half and sub-3:30 marathon the following spring/summer.
And a dream of mine came true when this arrived in my mailbox on Friday.
I am a far different runner than the one who only wanted to run a marathon at 8:23 pace, but at the end of the day I AM STILL SO EXCITED TO FINALLY GET TO RUN THE RACE. It has definitely been a journey. For fun, since it has worked in the past and all, let me throw out that I am looking for a 3:1X finishing time.
Boston Marathon Registration Analysis
Unfortunately, I felt the effects of some of the growing pains of the race as it became oversubscribed when I couldn’t get in with my BQ under the new registration procedures. Ultimately, I do think the BAA wants it to go back to where a BQ means you get to run the race, which is why they lowered the times for everyone by five minutes starting this year. The tiered registration is in place to ensure the fastest people will always get into the race, but I think they will lower the times again if at some point people who want to run the race do not get to run it.
This year I predict that everyone who has a qualifying time and registers in the first two weeks will be able to run.
Last year due to the sequential confirmation numbers people were able to keep track of exactly how many people had registered during the BQ-20, BQ-10 and BQ-5 windows. From some analysis on the Runner’s World Forums those numbers fit the equation y=22873e^.0807x. That equation predicts that 6,817 runners would have singed up during a BQ-15 window last year otherwise known as this year’s BQ-10 window. Unfortunately, this year we only have two data points that the BAA has given us, but one of them is the BQ-10 which had 6,581 apply. There is slight discrepancy in the action in the first 24 hours, but for now I will attribute that to people worrying that it was going to sell out the first year of the system.
Based on this year’s BQ-10 data point (analysis is always risky with one data point!), I think that the trajectory will almost exactly follow last year’s and about 15,000 will apply. Coupled together with the 1,417 time qualifiers who deferred that will equal about 16,400. Based on the 21,600 spots that the BAA is claiming that means at the end of the two week period about 5,000 spots will remain. I think this means registration will last through the end of the month and there will be some happy racers in the marathons that occur in the first week of October.
Of course, once more numbers are published my analysis might change.
Previously I thought that people would have adapted to the new standards and ran faster. However, we did have a very hot spring and summer. Based on the current numbers it appears that the effect of people adapting to meet the new standards was equal to the number of people who did not re-qualify due to the very hot weather this year. It will be interesting to see if this changes in future years.
Have you run the Boston Marathon? Do you want to run the Boston Marathon? What are your thoughts on the registration process? ARE YOU RUNNING IT WITH ME THIS YEAR?