Still a Runner

A Blog by Mary Lou Harris

Qualifying for Boston through the Ages and through Age Groups

As a young pipsqueak, age 58, and latecomer to marathons, I ran my first Boston Marathon in the W55-59 AG. At that time, Boston’s qualifying time for me was 4:15. I’m still making that trek to Boston every few years. While I’ve increased in age by 12 years, my qualifying time (70-74 AG) has increased to 4:55. Sound like an easy qualifying time? Think again.

I’ve begun following a new (at least new to me) blog, Mathematical runner.com. In a recent post, titled ‘Which Age Group has the Easiest Boston Marathon Qualifying Time?’ I learned that the easiest qualifying time does not belong to the group of persistent (mostly) white-haired ladies (mostly) lining up in the fourth wave.

In reviewing the data, Ray Charbonneau says that older women runners have the toughest qualifying times. Having debated this very point over a number of post-training run refreshments, I’ve found there are strong feelings about Boston qualifying times and their perceived equity. So, although they lost me in the finer points of the math, Mathematical Runners supported my view that qualifying times are a bit tough(er) for older women.

 

010_7A

Harrisburg Marathon, my first marathon, 2003, a decent finish but not a BQ. In fact, I was such a novice, I didn’t know anything about BQing.

 

Another point made in that blog is the scant number of women in the senior age groups. I have noticed the number of participants in my age group dwindles every few years, and seems to dwindle more rapidly than the number of men in the same age group. Still, no matter how few women are competing, there are some incredibly talented women in their sixties, seventies and beyond. If I can finish mid-pack in my Boston age group, I call it a victory.

A few years later I learned how difficult it was to BQ and that getting older didn’t necessarily make it any easier.

Those of you who enjoy exploring the math of all this will certainly enjoy other posts in Mathematical Runner as well, particularly those who are following all things Boston in the countdown to 2018 Patriot’s Day April 16.

Read on and run on.

 

Advertisements

5 Comments»

  suzlearnsfrench wrote @

Thank you for the suggested blog – I yearn to qualify for Boston but at 52 my best marathon is just 4:35 I have a way to go.

Run on –

  Still a Runner wrote @

Suz, I believe you can get there. Pick a qualifying marathon that works for your running strengths (climate, terrain, etc.) When I became aware of the qualifying system, my goal was not necessarily to run Boston, but to improve my distance running to meet the qualifying time. Continuer à courier et bonne journée.

  suzlearnsfrench wrote @

That’s funny you say that about meeting the qualifying time… in 2012 my husband qualified for Boston but had no desire to actually run Boston – he doesn’t care for the HUGE races. But he was very happy to say he qualified for Boston.

I find myself very stiff these days. I need to do more yoga. Last night I ran just 5 miles and I am so stiff today. But the weather is finally getting nice – so I hope to run more.

  Cordell Affeldt wrote @

Congratulations once again, Mary Lou! You’d deserve high compliments for perseverance and style alone. Admiring your running and your writing . . .

  Still a Runner wrote @

Thank you, Cordell. From one who is known for her style, that is a wonderful compliment.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: