That Boston is the greatest marathon in America (much less the world) is pretty much incontrovertible. It’s the oldest marathon, held on the same historic course and played out in front of wildly enthusiastic crowds that absolutely lives for Patriot’s Day. Boston is the one race every marathoner dreams of running and I’ve always felt every marathoner should get that chance once – qualifier or not.
But with the field limited to 30,000, there are plenty of qualified runners who don’t get into the field because their qualifying times just aren’t fast enough. That’s a shame.
It’s such a shame that one of my friends – so as not to embarrass him, I’ll call him Chuck – has decided to take one tiny step to allow one more runner into Boston. Chuck loves Boston. He loves the race so much he has gone a couple of times to Boston even though he wasn’t running those particular years. Instead, he cheered on his friends who were.
But this will be be Chuck’s fifth and final year of running Boston. His time from Boston last year is 25 minutes faster than his qualifier so getting in is not a big deal. What is a big deal is he feels by running Boston so many times he is taking up a valuable spot that essentially prevents somebody else from running. And maybe that anonymous someone has never run Boston before and maybe never will.
“I think as many runners as possible should have the same opportunity I’ve had to run Boston,” says Chuck. “I just feel that when I run it, I deprive someone of that chance. If I don’t run next year, someone else can run it instead of me and experience Boston like I have. One of the guys in my training group ran a qualifier, but didn’t get in because he was right on the cusp. It would have been his first Boston and maybe if I don’t run, he could.”
Chances are it wouldn’t have worked out exactly that way, but either this is the most selfless thing I have heard of – or the most nonsensical. Maybe that one extra person will get in but that person will be completely anonymous and unknown to him.
Doesn’t matter, says Chuck. He just wants someone else to have that chance to run Boston, whether he knows that runner or not. But does that then make folks who have run 10 straight Bostons (and counting), highly self-concerned and selfish?
If I was still running Boston, I wouldn’t give a hoot about taking up another qualified runner’s spot. Running is such an individual sport that the only one who really counts is you. When you run, you’re only running for yourself and few others care.
My friend isn’t going around telling everyone why this will be his final Boston and his unselfish act. Part of me thinks he’s crazy, but someone, somewhere next year who he doesn’t even know will be eternally grateful for the chance to run Boston.
O Our Central Texas runners who qualified for and ran in the US Olympic Trials Marathon on Saturday in blistering heat had mixed results. Several went into the race with lingering injuries and although, most gutted it out to finish, only two – Allison Macsas and Anita Perez – were truly happy with their performance. Although Macsas isn’t particularly good in the heat, she finished 22nd in 2:42:36. Anita Perez of Universal City also had a terrific effort as she rallied to finish 33rd in 2:44:16, just 13 seconds slower than her PR. Elizabeth Northern of Fort Worth (who was second in 3M) finished 69th in 2:49:57. Jennifer Bergman, who lives in Austin some of the time, was 61st in 2:49. Becky Wade of Houston was 85th in 2:53:35, Lauren Smith of Houston was 88th in 2:53:21 and former UT star Allison Mendez placed 89th in her second marathon in 2:53:25. Nora Colligan of Austin was hurt going in but finished in 3:07:33. Andrea Duke of San Antonio, who has finished 46 marathons, suffered from dehydration and pulled out after 14 miles. Among the guys, all were dinged up but Will Nation had the best day, finishing in 2:25:54 in his second marathon, good for 41st. David Fuentes toughed it out to finish 85th in 2:34:46 and Rory Tunningley did the same to finish 89th in 2:35:53. Kiya Dandena of Houston and occasional Austinite Scott MacPherson DNF’ed.
O Although the conditions were awful – virtually guaranteed by a mid-morning start to accommodate live TV – the best marathoners got through to qualify for the Olympics. The top three men – Galen Rupp, Meb Keflezighi and Jared Ward – certainly aren’t flukes. And the top three women – Amy Cragg, Desiree Linden and Shalane Flanagan – are inarguably our best as well.
O On Austin Marathon Sunday, APD found a body floating in Lady Bird Lake that afternoon, right off the south shore near the Ann Richards Congress Avenue Bridge. When Austin firefighters recovered the black man in his 50s, he was pronounced dead. No name has been released. The race was unaffected as the body wasn’t reported until the afternoon.
O Earlier in the day, Lani Nguyen Martinez of Pflugerville was hit by a car while running the Austin Marathon and suffered a concussion and strained neck muscles. Nguyen Martinez had just passed the 17-mile mark (around 11 a.m.) when she was hit from behind on Foster Lane, between Great Northern and Shoal Creek. The 76-year-old driver had driven around a barricade and disregarded a police offer’s warning to hit Nguyen Martinez who was aided by fellow runners and aid station volunteers. She was rushed to North Austin Medical Center where she was treated and released later that day.
O Gilbert Tuhabonye, Burundi’s gift to Austin, will be honored this Sunday (February 21) as Abilene Christian University’s Young Alumnus of the Year. ACU awards two alumni each year – Young Alumnus and Outstanding Alumnus. Tuhabonye, who attended and ran for ACU in 1999-2001 before moving to Austin, will be honored as part of ACU’s Alumni Day, starting at 12:30.
O Ryan Hall, who recently retired from competitive running at the age of 33, will be running the Dallas Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon on March 20th. Well sort of. Hall will run the 5-K on March 19th at seven-minute pace with anyone who wants to go with him. The next day, Hall will pace the 1:45 half marathon group.
O The UT men and women are both ranked number five in the country in indoor track. The men rank behind Arkansas, Tennessee, A&M and LSU, while the women are only behind Florida, Oregon, Georgia and Arkansas. The Big 12 Indoors are next weekend in Ames, Iowa.
O The Maton brother-sister act – Matthew and Ashley – both had big days in an indoor meet in Seattle. The Matons, who lived in Westlake for several years, both run for the University of Oregon. On Saturday, Ashley PR’ed by three seconds in the indoor mile with a time of 4:38.18 to get fourth. Matthew, one of the most highly regarded freshman in the country, finished second in his heat of the 3000 in a massive PR of 7:59.13.
O What I’m listening to this morning: “Sweet Dreams” by Patsy Cline. Never saw the biopic by the soundtrack is great.
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