Corbin’s story of Qualifying for the Boston Marathon

At 17, Corbin might be the youngest BQ(Q) entry ever.

Name: Corbin

Sex: Male

Age (at the time of first BQ): 17

Height (at the time of first BQ): 6’0″

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 155

At which marathon did you get your first BQ? Bayshore Marathon

Tell us a little about the race. This was my second marathon and it took place on a very pleasant day for northern Michigan. Mid 50’s at the start with little wind. The course is quite flat with just a couple small rolling hills. I kept right on 7:00/mile pace for the first 13. Then I put down about 10 miles at 6:40 to 6:50 pace simply due to feeling good. Of course that caught up to me for the last few, which were closer to 8 minute miles, but I still finished under 3:03.

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? 5 Years

Did you run in college or high school? Yes

What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ? 2500

How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ? 1500

Approximately how many races did you run in that year? 5

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 Focused on high mileage, ran modified work outs with the track team

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

Did speed work play a role in your training? If so, how? Yes, I was part of my high school track team at the time. I ran most of my speed workouts with them, often just doubling the workout’s distance while running at a slightly slower pace.

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ? I think an essential part of BQ training is consistency. Running almost everyday for months before the race and getting up to the high mileage weeks are more important than any single workout or long run.

How Max Qualified for the Boston Marathon

Damn, this dude ran a lot of miles at a young age…

Name: Max

Sex: Male

Age (at the time of first BQ): 22

Height (at the time of first BQ):  6′ 1″

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 160

At which marathon did you get your first BQ? Lincoln Marathon

Tell us a little about the race. Hot (76 at finish) day on a relatively flat course. Inclines and declines are very slight until about 16 miles. The last half marathon is a spoke out and bank with the out portion being uphill and the back being downhill. There is also no shade on the back half (ugh)

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? 8 years

Did you run in college or high school? Yes

What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ? 13,000 mi

How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ? 2,200 mi

Approximately how many races did you run in that year? 2

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

Did you run with a running club or utilize a coach? No

Did cross training play a role in your training? If so, how? I lifted weights 3x/week for the first 2/3 of my program, but only did bodyweight workouts the last month as an attempt to increase my “peaking”.

Did speed work play a role in your training? If so, how? Yes. Pretty much just basic interval workouts and tempo runs a few seconds faster than race pace. Tempo runs great for building confidence

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ? In my opinion increasing mileage is the best route to take towards decreasing your time. I ran about 50-60 mpw during my training and wish I could have been in the 60-70 range.

Also in general, you can never hydrate too much.

The Boston Qualifier Questionnaire — Sam

Name: Sam

Sex: Male

Age (at the time of first BQ): 41

Height: 5’7″

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 140

At which marathon did you get your first BQ? Run for the Red Poconos

Tell us a little about the race. 2:48 marathon debut, ran with a teammate, quiet heavily downhill course, plastic cups, ran relaxed. Took of 8 minutes 6 months later in NY with more targeted training.

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? 18 months

Did you run in college or high school? Yes

What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ? 3500

How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ? Didn’t answer

Approximately how many races did you run in that year? 12

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

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

Did cross training play a role in your training? If so, how? no, but regular body weight exercises

Did speed work play a role in your training? If so, how? generally two workouts a week, one 5K or faster, one HM/MP

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ? Run many different paces as part of your training. Keep easy days easy so hard days can be hard. You only get out the work you put in.

Max Elbaum, Author, Activist, Boston Qualifier

Max Elbaum isn’t just an accomplished runner, he’s also the author of the excellent Revolution in the Air: Sixties Radicals Turn to Lenin Mao and Che. Revolution in the Air is the first serious look at what happened to the American Left after 1968 and its an excellent read (I reviewed the book here).

Huge thanks to Max for taking the time to do this,

Name: Max Elbaum

Sex: Male

Age (at the time of first BQ): 51

Height: 6’3″

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 170

At which marathon did you get your first BQ? Napa Valley

Tell us a little about the race. 3:26:53. Every mile within 10 seconds of 7/53 per mile pace. Cool day, excellent running weather, very pretty course.

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? 4 years seriously, another few years of occasional jogging before that

Did you run in college or high school? No

What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ? 8,500

How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ? 2,200

Approximately how many races did you run in that year? 4

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 Run every day, 1 long run on the weekend, 1 speed workout during the week

Did you run with a running club or utilize a coach? No

Did cross training play a role in your training? If so, how? No

Did speed work play a role in your training? If so, how?  Yes. My first marathon had been 4 years before, 4:14, trained for that with long runs but no speed work. After that I incorporated speed work into training and my times improved, got into the 3:30s and then the 3:26 at Napa

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ? I turned 50 after my fourth marathon and had been getting close to a BQ. So I started on the chase. I missed the first 3 times I tried for various reasons – too hot a day, had a cold, like that. But didn’t give up and in my eighth marathon – Napa in 1999 – I made it with minutes to spare. Boston in 2000 was worth all the effort. After that I got off the speed-at-all-costs train, kept doing marathons and ran a couple more BQs but more concerned with being able to run for the long haul than running a new PR or getting another BQ. I’m now 69, about to turn 70, have run 38 marathons, all different ones, rather than do any course twice use the marathons to explore new places. good luck to all, enjoy every mile.

How KG Qualified for the Boston Marathon

Name: KG

Sex: Female

Age (at the time of first BQ): 28

Height (at the time of first BQ):  5’4”

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 110

At which marathon did you get your first BQ?  Providence

Tell us a little about the race. It was my 3rd marathon. It was a good, well run race, in my hometown so no travel required, which I feel gave me a “home field advantage”. Small enough to have space running, large enough to always have someone nearby. Long stretches of no fans and quiet running by the ocean on a bike path. Some hills, but not too bad. I wasn’t actually trying for a BQ necessarily, but the conditions were perfect that day and I felt good, so decided to go for it about half way through the race.

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? 3 years

Did you run in college or high school? No

What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ? 3000

How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ? 1500

Approximately how many races did you run in that year? 10

Did you follow a canned program? If so, which one? If not, can you give us an idea of what your training philosophy was?     Yes Generic marathon training plan from coolrunning.com

Did you run with a running club or utilize a coach? No

Did cross training play a role in your training? If so, how? I did not do much cross training. Occasional hiking/walking on off days.

Did speed work play a role in your training? If so, how?          I did not do any speed work for this marathon.

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ? I’ve run 9 marathons now, 3 were BQ -#s 3 (Providence), 7 (Providence) and 8 (NYC). Performance varies due to so many things during such a long race. Traveling, staying in a hotel, eating at restaurants always results in slower marathon times for me (mostly, except NYC with perfect weather). I always do best at races where I can sleep at home, eat my normal food, and take a short drive to the race in the morning. Also, running on familiar streets or by familiar landmarks makes me feel more comfortable and relaxed. If BQing at a large race hasn’t worked for you, try to achieve a BQ at a local race.

Don’t underestimate the power of weather. The perfect weather always leads to a PR for me…bad weather (hot, rainy, snowy) typically adds 5-10 minutes to my marathon timBoston Qualifier Questionnaire Arte.

Boston Qualifier Questionnaire: Charlie

Name Charlie

Sex: Male

Age (at the time of first BQ): 45

Height (at the time of first BQ):  5-7

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 140

At which marathon did you get your first BQ? Tell us a little about the race. OBX Marathon

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? 30 years

Did you run in college or high school? Yes

What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ? 20,000+

How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ? 1100

Approximately how many races did you run in that year? 12

Did you follow a canned program? If so, which one? If not, can you give us an idea of what your training philosophy was? Focused on increasing long run every couple of weeks until I could go 26 miles

Did you run with a running club or utilize a coach? No

Did cross training play a role in your training? If so, how? No

Did speed work play a role in your training? If so, how? No

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ? After having run Boston 3 times now, I would say weekly/monthly mileage is the single most important factor. Being able to run 50+ miles weeks consistently is most effective training, then sprinkle in all the other extras.

Back In The Saddle (And Top Posts for 2017)

I took a pretty extended break from posting here, and wondered, really, if it was something I was even going to do anymore. But I miss writing for no other reason than the joy of it, I miss chronicling my ups and downs in fitness and life, and I miss sharing the many many stories you send me about qualifying for Boston.

So, I’m back.

To celebrate, here are the top posts and pages for 2017

1. The Boston Qualifier Questionnaire – no surprise here, the page collecting the hundreds of stories runners have shared of their journeys to the Boston Qualifying Time remains the number one page.

2. Data Analysis of the Boston Qualifier Questionnaire – my analysis of the data on how you get a BQ.

3. About – the perennial favorite i.e. the what the fuck is going on here page.

4. David Goggins Inspired Body weight Work Outs – a collection of body weight work outs inspired by navy seal and all around bad ass David Goggins.

5. S-Town’s John B. Mclemore: A Reading List – a collection of all the books cited by John B in the incredible podcast S-Town.

6. 2016: My Year in Books – an overview of everything I read in 2016 (2017 coming soon!)

7. Fitness Habits of Disgraced Generals – a light hearted post on the fitness regimes of Generals Paterues and McCrystal

8. Milo of Croton – A resource page on the ancient greek wrestler for whom this silly project is named.

9. How I read 52 Books a Year – A guide to reading more.

10. The BQ(Q) Sage Canaday – Pro runner and all around nice guy Sage Canaday shares his story of the first time he qualified for Boston

The Boston Qualifier Questionnaire – Dave Munger

Name

Dave Munger (http://mungerruns.blogspot.com)

Sex:

Male

Age (at the time of first BQ):

44

Height:

6’2″

Weight (at the time of first BQ):

190

At which marathon did you get your first BQ?

Richmond 2011

Tell us a little about the race.

Richmond was the perfect race to qualify for Boston — perfect weather, perfect terrain, perfect race organization. I needed a 3:25 to get in, which worked out to a 7:49 pace. I opted to go out around 7:30 and kept that up for the first half of the race. With some time in the bank I kept it under 7:49 through 20 miles. Then it was that tough slog to the finish. My slowest mile was 8:30 but I managed to hold it together enough to finish in 3:22:55, a 15-minute PR and a BQ!

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

30 years

Did you run in college or high school?

Yes

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

20,000

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

2,700

Approximately how many races did you run in that year?

10

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

Yes, Jack Daniels

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

Yes

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

Not much. I did a little strength training, Pilates, that sort of thing.

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

Yes, I did a lot of intervals and tempo work. I think that helped get me comfortable and strong for MP

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

For me, high mileage is the key to a marathon training plan. I need to run a lot of miles at an easy pace. Just getting those miles under my feet seems to be the only way to really kill it on race day. And of course, always be aware of your body and deal with any signs of injury sooner than later!

Boston Qualifier Questionnaire – Rory Jenkins

Name

Rory Jenkins

Sex:

Male

Age (at the time of first BQ):

19

Height:

6’1’

Weight (at the time of first BQ):

180

At which marathon did you get your first BQ?

Baltimore Marathon

Tell us a little about the race.

I sat out cross country season for my college and decided to do a fall marathon for fun. It was my first marathon or any race over 5 miles for that matter. I was in about 16:40 5k shape at the time and had done 20 mile training runs pretty easily under 7 min pace. I figured I could at least run under 2:50. Race went off, and I felt great. First half was in 1:21 but by 18 miles the adrenaline rush was over and the wall hit me hard. I had to walk jog the last 8 miles. I felt like it was taking forever and I was going to run 4 hours or something, but really I did not slow too much on the running sections and only lost time on the walking I did.

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

4 years

Did you run in college or high school?

Yes

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

5000

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

2500

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, but similar to Daniel’s philosophy

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

No

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

Biking/weight training 1-2 a weeks

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

Yes, I always love mixing things up to push myself and keeping the workouts interesting.

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

 

Boston Qualifier Questionnaire – JT

JT qualified in 1983! Always cool to get a response from someone who ran Boston back in the days of the first running boom!

Name

JT

Sex:

Male

Age (at the time of first BQ):

29

Height:

5’10”

Weight (at the time of first BQ):

146

At which marathon did you get your first BQ?

1983 Grandma’s, Duluth MN

 

Tell us a little about the race.

Ran 2:40:18, my first and only marathon. 6:20 at the mile, 60:00 at 10, 1:20 at 20. Ran the last 10K in 40:18. To this day I keep asking why the hell I couldn’t have run 19 seconds faster!
Never ran Boston. Didn’t feel confident I could go any faster so I passed on it.

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

6 years

Did you run in college or high school?

No

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

6,000

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

2,500

Approximately how many races did you run in that year?

20+ (5Ks to 1/2 marathons)

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,

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

No

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

Didn’t

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

Probably stepped on the track 10X or so to run repeat quarters, fartlek workouts were definitely part of my training.

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

I was a 37 minute 10K guy in my late 20s running 30 miles a week. Made a commitment to run my marathon about 9 months ahead of the race. Slowly and steadily built my mileage up to 50-60 miles / week. About 3 weeks to a month prior to the race I had two 70+ mile weeks. Had 6 or so Sunday long runs of 20+ miles. Longest was 24 miles about three weeks prior. I tried to focus on making miles count. I was always looking to train at 45 seconds slower than my 10K race pace. As I was getting closer to my marathon my 10K PR dropped to 34:30 so I ran a lot of miles in the 6:15 – 6:30 range. Raced a lot on Saturdays before a Sunday long run. My Sunday long runs were always under 7:00 pace. FYI, just read thru my training journal a few weeks ago.