Getting phone calls for final words of advice, a lot of nervous nerves over the next 72 hours. Yes it is OK to break in a new pair of shoes on today’s 3 mile shakeout, knock around the expo for an afternoon in them, and they’ll be ready to roll from Hopkinton. And no, I wouldn’t try that new triple caffiene gel, stick with what you’ve had success with in training. Keep yourself reigned in the first mile. And then keep yourself reigned in the second mile. If you can do this for the first 18 miles you will be greatly rewarded. Go out too fast and you’ve lost your chance to be full of running when turning Right on Hereford and Left on Boylston. No flashing the “guns” when crossing the finish line, you haven’t conquered Boston, you’ve risen to meet its challenge. Be respectful of this, the most sacred of all marathons.
I’ve run Boston only once, the 100th in 1996. I come from a different time, when qualifying for Boston was to be held in high esteem. I reached the coveted sub 2:50 many times but always felt too awed by the event to line up, afraid that any performance would be insufficient for the maginficence of The Boston Marathon. But ’96 was special as the centennial. Entrants were assigned race numbers based on their qualifying mark, mine was 2:46:56 good enough for #2552. My splits were like this: 5K- 19:41, 10K-38:46, 15K-58:18, Half Marathon- 1:22:38, 30K-2:13:20. The last 12K was particularly rough as the downhills beat my quads to a pulp (living in Houston with no hills to train on). I ended up walking, and yes sobbing, most of the last 3 miles as person after person raced by. I ended up running 3:02:40 and I think I was 2547th overall, only 5 spots from my seed.
Ten years later as part of the Olympic Trials Site Selection Committee that awarded Boston our 2008 Olympic Trials I was put up at the Boston Marriott. My room # was 2547,same as my finish number. I got to share this circular tale with the BAA honchos and it was my treat.
I’m hoping my old buddy Ryan Hall can become the first American in 28 years to win Boston.