Running Boston often appears on many marathon runners radars, it had appeared on mine. I did however think a qualifier was a long way off, perhaps 5 years down the line. That was until I had breakfast with a friend of mine.
We were chatting about marathons and I flippantly said yeah cant run Boston this year as its the same day as Manchester. “No it isn’t Simon, its the day after”. Wait so if I ran Manchester quick enough I could get on a plane and run Boston? Then jump on another plane and run London?
After realising it was possible there was only one thing left to do, find a qualifier. It turned out there was one, and only one qualifier left in the UK. Therefore, I had one shot, the only snag, I hadn’t trained since returning injured from the USA.
I turned up to Birchington-on-sea barely fit enough to run a half and had to run a Boston qualifier. It turned out to be one of the toughest races in recent memory. The course itself was a simple out and back repeat, with an aid station back at the start. The first half went reasonably well, then my lack of training shone through, my body just wasnt conditioned to run a marathon, it had been two months of little training while I healed.
My stomach shut down shortly after the half way point, my legs turned into rocks and my guide runner had begun to “motivate” me in his own particular fashion. After a few difficult moments and the very real thought of backing out of the race, it was time to just dig deep. I somehow inched across the line with 2 minutes and change to spare to qualify for Boston. The race had been hell 13 miles of constant struggle. It taught me a valuable lesson, never take distance running lightly, turn up trained or just dont turn up at all.
Thankfully, I did eek out that time, partly due to the “motivation” from my guide and partly because we had travelled way too far to qualify for Boston and I just couldn’t fail.
But now the adventure is on, running 3 major marathons in 7 days!