Brent McDermott’s story of qualifying for Boston Marathon

Name: Brent McDermott

Sex: Male

Age (at the time of first BQ): 32

Height (at the time of first BQ): 5’11”

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 150

At which marathon did you get your first BQ? Light At The End of The Tunnel

Tell us a little about the race. This was my second BQ attempt of the spring, the first being Glass City in Toledo. After a disappointing performance in Toledo- 3:20 after racing on a black-and-blue ankle from an injury the day before, I signed up for The Tunnel on a lark with nothing to lose. My original race plan called for a negative split of 1:37 / 1:33 to come in at 3:10, but at the halfway mark I was at 1:31:30 and gaining speed. My splits continued to speed up by a few seconds per mile until mile 22, when I posted my first 7:00+ since the opening 10K of the race. A persistent sidestitch / charlie horse led to me Galloway-ing for 1.5 miles, and averaging a 7:35 pace for miles 23 & 24. At that point I assumed my BQ chances were for naught, but with “the wall” in the rear view mirror, I pressed on, shooting for a PR. At the 26 mile mark, I realized that I still had a puncher’s chance of squeaking in under 3:05. I gave it everything I had for the last quarter, and stopped the clock at exactly 3:05:00, precisely the cutoff point for my age group. Barring a fluke with the BAA adjusted qualifying times, my application will be denied. That being said, the satisfaction of a BQ is much greater than I anticipated.

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? 12 years

Did you run in college or high school? No

What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ? 15,000

How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ? 2,000

Approximately how many races did you run in that year? 8

Did you follow a canned program? If so, which one? If not, can you give us an idea of what your training philosophy was? No, The turning point in my training came when I went from averaging approx. 40 miles/wk. with ONE tempo run, 3x easy days, and ONE long run, to the following: ONE tempo run, ONE interval workout, ONE 10-12 mile progression run, 2-3 easy runs and ONE long run per week, taking my mileage into the mid-50s. Following this regiment in run up to a fall marathon in 2016, I shaved 16 minutes off my marathon PR, and then took another 11 minutes off to BQ at this race. The interval training, middle distance progression run seemed to have the biggest impact on my racing.

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

Did cross training play a role in your training? If so, how? Nope. I did incorporate more hip strengthening exercises and foam rolling to keep limber.

Did speed work play a role in your training? If so, how? Yes. Once a week intervals (usually Yasso 800s) and once a week tempo runs of 6-7 miles with my running club improved my endurance, and lactic threshold.

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ? After experimenting with a few different training philosophies, I found something that worked for me, and committed to it. Getting faster didn’t happen overnight, but consistent training led to steady improvements.

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