I have been very vocal about both my goal to BQ and my goal to run all six Marathon Majors before I’m 30. When I discovered that I wouldn’t be running the Tokyo marathon in Feb I worried that I wouldn’t be able to achieve my goal, especially with my 3 month hospital placement as part of my dietetics course next year affecting both my time off and my finances.
So when Adidas gave me a bib for this year’s Boston marathon race, I jumped at it. However I have mixed feelings about running Boston without having earned the illustrious BQ time – for me that’s a sub 3.35, and I know there have been some rather negative responses for my decision to do so.
But it’s Boston, how could I say no.
I have dreamed of racing Boston for years, have read every race recap, followed online each year and watched as some of my friends, and some of my favourite bloggers have turned Right on Hereford, Left on Boylston.
Since hearing the horrendous news about the 2013 marathon bombings, I knew that one day I would run it. Running for those that couldn’t finish the marathon that day, those who didn’t get to go home that day, and to celebrate the family of runners around the world that grieved for that tragic event.
I know I haven’t earned my qualifying spot (and some people feel I don’t deserve to be running because for this) and I will never claim to have got this bib from anything other than a sponsor. I did wonder whether I’ll feel weird having not technically earned my place on the start line, however, after speaking to my coach yesterday, I am even more confident that I have a BQ in me, and that it will happen. So even though I’m running Boston this year without a qualifying time, I will be back to re-run it when I do have a qualifying time and I’m sure it will be just as magical. I know there are people who wouldn’t have taken up the place without the time, and I probably wouldn’t have either if I hadn’t had the Tokyo disappointment, but I couldn’t turn down this opportunity to achieve my Marathon Majors goal. I likened it to someone running with a charity bib or covering it for a media outlet – which is technically what I’m doing (even if it’s only for a blog). I feel that although I haven’t earned my BQ, I have worked so hard on my blog and earned my bib that way instead.
It’s the 50th anniversary race of Kathy Switzer becoming the first woman to finish the Boston Marathon with an official race bib! It’s going to be an awesome race to be part of, and with all the women’s rights amazingness going on right now, Boston is going to be even more kick ass celebrating this milestone moment for female marathon runners.
Timings are perfect. The race this year falls over the Easter weekend, which means that I won’t have to take any time off from uni. The following two years I have hospital placements from February- April and I don’t know that I’d be able to take a long weekend to run the Boston marathon and run the Tokyo marathon whilst studying and working. Additionally, although I enjoy early morning training, 5am training runs every day on placement would probably be the death of me, and my social life.
My coach who lives in Connecticut, is going to be there. We’ve skyped, chatted on the phone, texted a lot but I’ll get to meet Mary in real life in Boston. Plus about 35 other athletes and coaches from the McKirdy Trained will be there – I’ve never been part of a proper running club, although I really want to be – and so this is as close as it will get right now. I am so excited to be able to join them for a shake out run and a carb loading lunch.
Although neither my Mum or Tom can come (both of them have been there at 5/6 of my marathons), amazing Zoe has said she’ll try to come up for a weekend in Boston and cheer me on. After running New York with her in November, I might make her jump in for a couple of the hills.
Lastly, I can’t not address it, but with all the immigration controversy going on in the US, I am of course a little more hesitant to travel to America. I love the United States, having lived in both Virginia and New York at times in my life, and have travelled extensively there. The current climate really saddens, scares and angers me, especially the new government’s attitude towards ‘immigrants’, climate change, women’s rights, LGBT rights and torture, as well as our government’s reaction (or lack of reaction) to it all. However, while I know some people are boycotting American companies and all travel to the US, I don’t believe that harming individual Americans (majority non-Trump voting as it turned out) and US companies with no ties to the president will help to change these policies. (However I love what companies like Starbucks and AirB&B are doing!).
Ultimately, I am so excited to be running Boston this year, and although my goal won’t be to BQ there this year, I know I’ll be back in Hopkinton with a qualifying time someday. Thank you so much to every single person that has commented or messaged about this amazing opportunity- I am so grateful to all of you and to Adidas! Xx