Originally I wanted to write a piece on 2013. That day is so engrained in every runners memory. We all remember where we were and how we reacted. To be honest, I still can't do it. It's too emotional.
Instead, I want to talk about one of the aspects that I think makes Boston so special, and that is the qualifying standards. New York and Chicago rely on a lottery that has come under a lot of pressure recently. Boston still maintains a qualifying time to make the race.
The first time I heard that Boston had a qualifying standard and New York did not, I was a freshman in high school. I had just started running track and I was a sponge absorbing the sport. I immediately decided that I wanted to do Boston more then any other marathon. 10 years later, I still have not qualified for the Boston Marathon. I've ran four marathons, and none of them have been close to the required time.
Not having a BQ (Boston Qualifier) is something that bothers me. Not daily, but every time I start to plan out my next marathon training I think about it, and I dream of how great it would be to reach that time. I've seen people celebrating their accomplishment, and that makes me even more excited for when my day hopefully comes.
People celebrating simply qualifying to run a race shows just how special this event is. It's a triumph that holds a special place for amateurs. The vast majority of us will never run in the olympics, but having thousands of people qualify for this prestigious race is special.
Adding to the pride is actually getting into the race. According to Runners World, 4,562 runners who met the qualifying standards did not gain entry to the race. Over 4,000 runners ran fast enough, but were unable and will have to try it again next year. I've seen the face of someone who ran a time fast enough to qualify for Boston, and one day I want to see the face of a runner who has successfully registered for Boston.
Today as you watch the race, enjoy it. Take it all in and enjoy everything that the Boston Marathon has to offer. But as you watch the professionals storm through the course, think of the average Joe's and Jane's who put in countless miles to not only train for today, but to simply qualify to run. That is what makes the Boston Marathon so special.