This is another marathon blog penned by Geoffrey. It’s for the runners who will appreciate it.
This was our second visit to Boston and our first international travel in 2 years following the borders reopening after COVID and the government’s removal of the MIQ requirement. Although the main purpose for the trip was Geoffrey’s marathon event we still had a few days in Boston to catch up on the sights of this must-see city. Feel free to contact me if you are interested in knowing more about travelling there.
Over to Geoffrey …
This was my 15th marathon and the one where I was least interested in the time that I would run.
Running Boston is every marathon runners dream – it is iconic for many reasons – it is the oldest marathon in the world, runners need to earn your spot with a Boston qualifying (“BQ”) time, its where women broke the male-only barrier, spectators and volunteers are unlike any other marathon, it has a long and storied history (both inspiring and tragic) – the list goes on. The point is – Boston is very special – and I was incredibly lucky to be there at the start line …
COVID had wreaked havoc over the global marathon calendar for the last 2 years and the 2022 event was the first “return to normal” Boston marathon since 2019. The qualifying BQ window therefore included early 2020 – a period where I was at my fittest and fastest. I was scheduled to run the 2020 Tokyo Marathon but the mass participation event was cancelled and I was lucky enough to find and enter an alternative event in Napa Valley, California. Very lucky. Entries to Napa Valley were closed just a day after I entered due to the late influx of runners from the now-cancelled Tokyo event. On a perfect running day I then managed to run 3 minutes under the BQ time but this still did not guarantee an entry Boston. Let me explain. Typically there are more applicants for each Boston event then the field size limit will allow so some applicants miss out. You therefore need to have a qualifying time faster than the required BQ as entries are accepted on the “fastest-first” basis. However a number of circumstances played in my favour for the event. Boston is run on Patriots Day but for the 2022 event this coincided with Easter Weekend which didn’t work for many people. Secondly many international border restrictions were still in place so there were far fewer overseas applicants. Thirdly the organisers required all runners to be COVID vaccinated which didn’t work for many runners. This all resulted in fewer applications so that the organisers were able to accept all applicants which was the first time this had occurred since 2011.
Race Day conditions were perfect – fine, cool and just a slight breeze to keep you cool as the day warmed up. I savoured every moment, every step, every breath during the run. The course starts from Hopkinton and passes through 8 New England towns finishing in downtown Boston. It’s a point-to-point route consisting of fast downhills and a couple of soul-crushing incline passes. Unfortunately due to a number of muscular injuries leading up to the event I was unable to complete my usual marathon training build-up so I knew beforehand that my legs would start to complain at around the 25km mark. And so it proved – I had to really grunt it out over the last 10k but I was sustained by reminding myself that I was running in my dream marathon event.
My finishing time was 4hrs 53min – more than an hour longer than my BQ time – but the dream was fulfilled.