How to Qualify for Boston Marathon?

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2014 Qualifying Times:
The current qualifying for Boston Marathon in the 18-34 Age Group is 3hrs 05mins for Men.

Credits: Boston Athletics Association

Credits: Boston Athletics Association

Let’s break it down:

42.195km = 3hr 05mins = 185mins
1km = 4min 23secs
2.4km = 10min 31secs
10km = 40mins 23secs
21km = 1hr 32mins 07secs

This means I would have to run at a speed of 4min 23sec/km throughout the entire marathon. To run a very even marathon is pretty impossible given differences in elevation along the course and fatigue setting in. In order to meet this 4min 23sec/km pacing, I have planned break my PB on three major distances starting with a SUB40 10km this year, followed by a SUB1hr30 21km in 2014, SUB4hr FM in 2015, SUB3hr30 FM in 2016.

Target Time:
2013 – 10km : < 40’00”
2014 – 21km : < 1:30’00”
2015 – 42.195km : < 4:00’00”
2016 – 42.195km : < 3:30’00”
2017 – 42.195km : < 3:05’00”

I definitely think these are achievable goals if the work is put in.

Why Boston?

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Ever since I started running competitively, I was interested in racing overseas. Then I realised many people were doing this too. Planning vacations around races, killing two birds with one stone. It is like a fantasy to do what you love most, for me its running and traveling. Every time I searched for “World’s Best Marathon” or “Top 10 Marathons in the World”, Boston Marathon kept coming tops.

Holy Grail
It is often mentioned that Boston is the Holy Grail of Marathon running. It is the world’s oldest annual marathon, and is one of the six marathon majors. It is such a good race that many people want to go run there. If 9mins 44secs is the Gold Standard of Individual Physical Proficiency Tests (IPPT), Qualifying for Boston is the Gold Standard of all marathons. You get to carry this badge of honour for the rest of your life. The pride of being a Boston Marathon Finisher is immense.

Qualifying Times
Hence, since the demand of runners is so high, while the supply of entry slots remain the same, the organisers had to introduce a qualifying time in order to ensure the smooth running of the event. You have to earn your right to be amongst the pack. Even with the qualifying time, race entries gets snapped up within hours of it being released. So people all around the world are getting faster, it will be no surprise to me that a couple years down the road, the qualifying time will be cut even further.

Boston Marathon 2013
I think this was the incident that spurred me on to challenge myself to qualify for Boston. The Bombings that occurred at the Boston Marathon 2013. Seeing and reading the news of how people were killed & lost their limbs made me very emotional. There was a indescribable bond between the running community during those dark moments. Everyone was rallying behind those that were affected by the blasts.

The indomitable spirit in the people there was amazing. Many said they would run it again in a heartbeat, people who lost limbs wants to qualify for the wheelchair category. Many runners I have met are very positive people & have a never-say-die attitude and all they have on their mind is to FINISH. This notion was very much reinforced from this incident.

Personal Challenge
I am not going to lie, this is very much a personal challenge. I have gone through many tough challenges before, & I definitely see this as a tough challenge, but one that is very much achievable. I want to constantly pave the way for others around me to believe; believe that anything is possible. I want to inspire my family, & future generations in my family to go forth & conquer. I might not be the most intellectual or gifted, but I want to be the most determined. The one that never gave up, no matter what.

As much as I have talked about the other reasons, I see qualifying for Boston Marathon as a milestone in my life. Qualifying for Boston 5years down the road when I turn 30, would be ultimate way to celebrate my turning of age. Call it a early mid-life crisis, but I don’t want to think that my life has already peaked, I want it to be an upward curve where I am always on the pursuit to climb new & higher peaks.

Let’s just say I have even bigger plans after Boston.