Forgive me for continuing to be hung up on the Boston Marathon, but the elitism of the world’s best race recently came home to roost. Last weekend after a group workout, a bunch of the recent class of Boston marathoners were exchanging war stories of the death march that was Boston, 2012.
Meanwhile, just a few feet away, was a friend of mine who was looking on longingly at the Boston runners who were all sporting the beautiful shirt from this year’s race.
My friend, certainly no slouch, simply does not have the wheels to nail the qualifier he needs to get into Boston anytime soon. If everything came together on a perfect day, he might be able to run a respectable 3:30, but nowhere close to a BQ.
“I’ll never get in,” he moaned last weekend. “Never. All I want is to just run Boston once.”
I’ll you what: He should be able to run Boston at least once—qualifier or not. Every marathoner should have that chance.
Now I know what all you Boston qualifiers are probably saying: “I had to qualify. He should too. It isn’t a race for everybody.”
(Before you get too smug, it wasn’t all that many years ago that the BQ was 2:50. Chew on that.)
Anyway, my point is that Boston should have some provision (a lottery) which allows a select number of non-qualifiers (say, 5000) the once-in-a-lifetime chance to run the race. But just once.
Before you object, allow me to point out that approximately 5000 non-qualifiers run Boston every year as charity runners who raise a certain amount of money. They don’t have qualifying times (some have never even run a marathon) and yet run it as full-fledged Boston marathoners. This year, I witnessed numerous charity marathoners crossing the finish line on Boylston Street around 5 p.m. Their struggle was just as tough as the folks running an hour or two faster.
I say, good for them.
But in my perfect world, I would afford another 5000 non-qualifiers (all who have run marathons) that same opportunity. A fourth wave would have to be added and all lottery runners would start in the back of the back of the pack.
How would this impact all the qualifiers? Not in the least. Qualifiers would still get a preferred wave start and the slower, lottery runners would be 30-40 minutes in the back.
Then, would allowing additional non-qualifiers in Boston, somehow diminish the accomplishment of getting a BQ? Of course not. You would still be in exclusive company and deserving of a special spot on the starting line.
Finally, would the additional runners dilute or somehow detract from the quality or experience of the race? On the contrary, I think it would enhance Boston by opening it up—or at least the possibility—to all marathoners.
Doing so, would make Boston the most democratic of all marathons. This is the birthplace of marathoning and Boston should be a race that every marathoner has the chance to run—regardless of ability.
- Last add Boston (I promise): Further proof of the horrendous marathon weather comes from BQ stats. Last year when the temp was 61 degrees and there was a tailwind, 43 percent (10,374) of the Boston marathoners requalified. This year with temps soaring into the low 90s, a paltry 13.1 percent (2705) ran BQs.
- The RunTex Foundation has officially signed a contract with the city to produce the Trail of Lights in Zilker Park (December 16-23). According to the terms of the deal, the Foundation must raise at least $500,000 by September 1st. RunTex owner Paul Carrozza told the Statesman he expects the Trail of Lights to cost about $1 million, but his intention still is to keep the event free of charge.
- Scott MacPherson, the top dog in Austin running, will go after an Olympic Trials qualifier tonight at the Penn Relays in the 3000-meter steeple. ScottyMac, who has a steeple PR of 8:38, but he ran that in 2009 in the NCAA finals in which he finished fifth. Scott needs an 8:32 to get the ‘A’ qualifier for the Trials. After Penn, MacPherson will run another steeple on Tuesday night on the island of Guadeloupe in the Meeting International.
- Former UT superstars Sanya Richards-Ross and Leo Manzano are also running Penn. But neither has to worry about Trials qualifiers. Richards-Ross is running the 4 x 400-meter relay and Leo the Lion is running the Distance Medley. Several members of the UT men’s team are also running Penn. The meet will be televised by NBC (KXAN) on Saturday at noon.
- At the Payton Jordan Invitational at Stanford, California, a host of locals are running in search of Trials qualifiers. Treniere Moser of the Austin TC is running the 1500 (qualifier is 4:12.93), while Kara June and Lennie Waite of Rogue are both running the steeple. Waite already has a steeple qualifier, but June needs to run 9:55. Betzy Jimenez of Team Mizuno and Dacia Perkins of Rogue are in the 5000 (qualifier of 15:35) and former Villanova and Arkansas star Megan Flowers-Skeels, who lives in Fort Worth and runs for Team Mizuno, is in the 10,000 and needs a 32:45 to get the ‘A’ qualifier for the Trials.
- Last weekend at the Mount San Antonio Relays in Southern California, Lennie Waite finished eighth in the 1500 in 4:37.51. Kara June was fifth in the steeple in 9:58.41 and Megan Flowers-Skeels was sixth in her first 10,000 in 16 years in 34:48. Former UT runner Allison Mendez was third in her 10,000 heat in 35:01. Current UT runners Sara Sutherland and Marielle Hall ran in the Olympic Development heat of the 5000. Sutherland ran 16:10.51 (just a second off her PR), while Hall recorded a 16:22.83.
- Congrats to my buddy Brian Wilson and his wife. He and his wife welcomed new born Juliet last week who comes right on the heels of the recent adoption of a second son from Korea (19-month-old Jude and 3 ½-year-old John).
- Also congrats to Melinda and Rolando Roman on the birth of their son Sebastian.
- An idea whose idea has come. The San Antonio Road Runners are waiving registration fees in all its race for anyone over 70 years old. Not sure this pertains to the San Antonio Rock ‘n’ Roll races, but anyone 70 or older deserves a little love.
- The Brushy Creek Trail up in WillCo, between Champion Park and Brushy Creek Lake Park, will be closed for at least a month while a concrete sidewalk is installed. Walkers and runners who use Brushy Creek are not happy for a bunch of reasons: There was no public hearing and folks who use the trail had no input. Plus, the sidewalk, they argue, will ruin the most scenic section of the trail. And finally, while the sidewalk is being put in, there won’t be any detour around it. Can’t say as I blame them. No runner or walker wants concrete on a trail.
- The RetailMeNot Austin Marathon Relay (it used to be the Silicon Labs Relay) announced this week that Adidas will put up $100,000 to any team which can break the two-hour barrier. Repeat: $100K. This time bonus was offered last year, but it is a darned near impossible goal for any team of mortals. It’s possible a team of elite Kenyans might be able to do it, but I wouldn’t bet on it. Anyway, the race is September 23rd.
- The USATF finally has a new CEO. Max Siegel, a sports marketing specialist who has been on the USATF board, has been named as its new chief exec. Siegel, 47, is the founder of his own sports marketing company (Max Siegel, Inc.) which has been working for USATF to revamp its marketing, sponsorship and broadcasting. Siegel’s background includes the head of Dale Earnhardt Inc. and in the music industry. Siegel already lives in Indianapolis so he won’t have to move.
- What I’m listening to this morning: “Late for the Sky,” the great, great, album by Jackson Browne which never gets old.
Have any juicy news for me? (It doesn’t have to be entirely true.) If you have something, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.