My friend Shelley Viggiano recently blogged about qualifying for the Boston Marathon. By the way- check out her blog, she's an awesome writer! It's a goal many of us runners have. Adding a "BQ" to your accomplishments is a badge we wear with pride. It's tough to do. If I were to qualify this year, I would need to run a 3:10. Given my aversion to speedwork and inherent laziness, it's not happening. After next year, I will gain an additional five minutes. BFD. Shelley's blog forced me to ponder this odd accomplishment. It is THE measuring stick used to quantify your ability as a runner.
Then I remembered this elevation chart from Stan Jensen's run100s.com website.
The small red area represents the Boston Marathon... the pinnacle of the road racing world. The big wavy line represents Western States, the pinnacle of the ultramarathon world (in the US, anyway.) Neither race is the toughest in the world, but both are the most prestigious races in their particular genre. Note "Heartbreak Hill"... a art of the Boston course known for it's treachery. Doesn't look too bad compared to WS, does it?
What's the point of this post? I have no idea. Even though I'm more or less mocking the Boston course, I'm not fast enough to qualify. It IS a goal of mine... just secondary to my ultra goals. Why is this such a major goal for us? Why do we obsess about this singular race?