Every sport has their penultimate game or series. For running, there’s THE Boston. It’s legendary.
Besides being the oldest continuously held marathon, started in 1897, the Boston marathon is unique in many ways.
Spend some time with a runner, and they may mention “qualifying for Boston” or, to some, just “qualifying” or “BQ” The Boston marathon doesn’t just allow the first 26,000 registrants in, and it doesn’t allow first time marathoners in, either. To receive a Boston number to pin to your shirt one must have ran a marathon in the past year that meets the qualifying times for their age group.
Even meeting the time limit does not guarantee a place. Due to high demand, the admission process is has become more stringent, so that the fastest times reserve the first spaces, and the closer to the time cut off, the less likely you’ll get in.
This meritocracy makes the Boston marathon special. Each runner knows they earned the right to run in the race.
This race is also one of the World Marathon Majors series, which brings with it the best runners in the world to compete. Regular people who trained hard and earned a place there get the opportunity to race with the fastest people on two legs. It’s like getting to play basketball with the best of the NBA, but the pool of runners draws from all over the world.
But the most unique part is the community that comes together to support this event. Over 8500 volunteers and half a million spectators show up to support the runners. Usually the only people you’ll see lining up with that much enthusiasm for a road race are those that have friends or loved ones running in the race! But at Boston, it is a true community party, with many out there just enjoying the excitement of the race and cheering for strangers. For a distance runner who puts in so many long, lonely miles during training, this aspect is extraordinary.
The Boston is an unforgettable experience.