The BQ(Q) – Tom Rushton


Tom Rushton


Tom Rushton

Age (at the time of first BQ):




Weight (at the time of first BQ):


At which marathon did you get your first BQ?

Edmonton Marathon 2016

Tell us a little about the race.

I had planned to run the Ottawa Marathon (May) to qualify but as things happened I had to work that weekend. Turned out to be a good thing as record heat almost cancelled the Ottawa race. I put off finding another qualifier until it was almost to late and signed up for Edmonton (late August) a little last minute. As this was my first road marathon and my first road race period in over 2 years I was a little worried about pacing so I found some good people and stuck with them until the mid point (1:28:44) then took over pacing and tried to be the ‘cheer-leader’ for the sub-3 hour crew, sadly the group thinned and I was the only one that made that goal. My objective was to run 2:59:xx to get under the 10 minute cut-off but make it as easy as possible since I was on vacation that week and had some long runs planned in the backcountry rockies that I didn’t want to miss. Happily everything went according to plan and I was able to continue things no problem.

I’ve done trail marathons and ultras so the distance wasn’t a concern and also posted a 33 minute 10k a few years before (my last road race) so qualifying was only a ‘formality’ although I did want to respect the distance, and it is a much different beast than a trail. I did a 50k about a month before and it was so much easier!

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ?

13 years

Did you run in college or high school?


What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ?


How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ?



Approximately how many races did you run in that year?


Did you follow a canned program? If so, which one? If not, can you give us an idea of what your training philosophy was?


Did you run with a running club or utilize a coach?


Did cross training play a role in your training? If so, how?

Sometimes I swim, bike or climb, but just randomly.

Did speed work play a role or specific workouts play a role in your training? If so, how?

I usually run most of my runs at a quite low intensity, but have good natural speed, so about 2 weeks before I made sure to do some work above the ‘race pace’ of the marathon when I was on the roads. For Boston I will do a lot more targeted speed work.

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ?

I felt that the others I was running with in the race all were running to close to their maximum during the first half, although I was making a sincere effort to go easy, it was still a little harder than I’d like at the end. Having a good aerobic base of low intensity mileage really paid off big time for me.

Also I enjoy run with groups and do that often, during the qualifying race I found myself thinking about things in ways I never would in a training run (Is it normal I’m breathing like this? Is my stomach ok? what about now!?) so finding a group and just chatting a bit (it’s marathon pace, you should be able to do that at least in the first half!) stopped me from that and kept me in the moment and remembering what I like about the sport.

Starting easy is really important, I was shocked at how many runners ran 10 minutes or more slower on the second half – and even more that started way fast in the first km. Start slow, and you’ll see better results than hammering the first piece!


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