Boston Qualifier Questionnaire — Cris Gutierrez

Name: Cris Gutierrez

Sex: Male

Age (at the time of first BQ): 25

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

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 130

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

Tell us a little about the race. I had run competitively in college up until my last season of graduate school in 2016. I had moved to a new city and struggled to get back to running consistently aside from local pub runs. I swore I would never run a marathon; years of people asking me when I would run one had me turned off at the idea of it. Eventually some people at run club had convinced me to do it and with the help of a night of drinking and a cheap entry fee I signed up for Erie. I had no intention of running Boston. I figured I would get a qualifier but I would just run Erie to say I could qualify and that’s it.

Going into Erie I had peaked out at 80 miles a week with a 20 mile long run with the last 10 at 6:00’s. Then I got hurt a couple weeks into it and hoped that I could just muscle through it. Went out conservatively for 10 at 6:20 pace and cranked the pace down. Ended up with about a 4 minute negative split and ran 2:41:05, good for 8th. Could barely walk afterward and figured this would be the last time I did it. A couple days later signups for Boston opened up and I made the decision to sign up.

The training journey to Boston changed my perspective toward the distance and made me a better runner. I trained much harder going into this buildup and while I did get hurt coming into Boston I still managed a big PR, 2:34:46 good for top Ohio finisher in 2019. Boston broke me at 22 but I finished the race realizing that I had some potential at the distance and decided to pursue marathoning. I ran my 3rd marathon in October to PR again with a 2:30:25. I’m heading back to Boston this spring for some redemption. I’m working on staying healthy and trying to break deep under 2:30. Regardless if this ends up being my last Boston for the foreseeable future (I want to run the other majors) I credit Boston for reigniting my love of running and inspiring me to chase after a crazy goal to make a certain race in 2024.

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? 12 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? 876

Approximately how many races did you run in that year? 1

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? Training philosophy was just to get to peak at 80 miles a week and complete a 20 miler with the last 10 at Goal Marathon Pace

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? I cross trained when I got hurt. That’s basically it. Stationary bike.

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ? No.

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Boston Qualifier Questionnaire –Andrew

Name: Andrew

Sex: Male

Age (at the time of first BQ): 24

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

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 155-160

At which marathon did you get your first BQ? Marine Corps Marathon

Tell us a little about the race. I was incredibly excited to run my first marathon, particularly so with the incredible atmosphere and support that comes from one of our nation’s most historic marathons in our nation’s capital. I was equally nervous, despite what I considered being well prepared, as I certainly had a healthy respect (and some fear) for the distance.

Because I was in unchartered territory with MCM being my first full, my time goal ranged significantly from anywhere from 2:45-under 3:00. Workouts indicated I was capable of the former, but seeing and hearing horror stories about the final 10k and how the wheels can come off in a very real way left me cautious and not overly ambitious.

I remember feeling incredible for the first half and having to force myself to not run faster than my body was trying to get me to go at the time, hitting the half in am what felt like a very relaxed 1:22 low. I continued to feel good through about 16-17, when it got noticeably more challenging to keep 6:15s going. I maintained pace through 20 or so when I started to fade slightly. The last 10k is essentially an out and back, with the out moving away from the city and away from spectators and support. The crowd and energy throughout was amazing, but I definitely felt its absence on the lonely stretch from miles 20-23. By that point, I was in significant pain, different than all of the track and XC races I had experienced. The last mile, I would’ve sworn I was running 9 minute pace or worse, which I later found out was about 7:25 or 7:30. My body and mind were gone at that point and I was just trying to get to the finish line so I could stop! I ended up in 2:49:37 for about a 5 minute positive split.

My good friend was also running his first and anticipated finishing around 4:00. I said depending on how I felt, I would try to run in the last mile or so with him. I look back on that hopeful promise and laugh, realizing how naive I was about what the effort would take out of me.

Overall, it was an amazing first marathon experience!

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? 12-16 years depending on what counts as training

Did you run in college or high school? Yes

What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ? really hard to even guess… 12-15,000 miles?

How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ? I’m guessing I was around 50-60 miles per week for the buildup on average, although I don’t have my specific logs from that time.

Approximately how many races did you run in that year? 3 or 4 including the marathon?

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, Get consistent miles in and focus on solid long runs. Most long runs became progression/tempo runs which got me physically and mentally tough and ready to hurt.

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

Did cross training play a role in your training? If so, how? Hardly at all.

Did speed work play a role in your training? If so, how? I did a few Yasso 800 workouts and tempo runs. Coaching HS at the time, I did most of what the kids did with some modifications, so there was definitely hill work and other quicker workouts I am having trouble recalling at the moment!

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ? Be realistic in you time goals, especially for the first one. Put in the miles, respect the distance and practice fueling consistently before hand. You will lose more calories and water than you realize. Shoot for a general time goal but don’t let that overshadow your accomplishment of finishing a very difficult feat. Enjoy the experience and give yourself adequate time to recover with some very easy active recovery before jumping back into things.

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Boston Qualifier Questionnaire — George

Name: George

Sex: Male

Age (at the time of first BQ): 23

Height (at the time of first BQ): 5’10”

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 165

At which marathon did you get your first BQ? Rock n’ Roll Raleigh (2017)

Tell us a little about the race. It was my marathon debut – was getting back into running after taking a short break. I was running in college before but was very out of shape and had no idea what it would be like to race beyond 10 miles. So basically your usual first marathon story – first half was 77, hit 20 miles in 2 hours, and finished in 2:45 aka blew up. In retrospect the course was very hilly too.

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? 20,000?

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

Approximately how many races did you run in that year? 1

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?

Did speed work play a role in your training? If so, how? No? But then again I didn’t do long workouts – the volume hovered around 60 and the toughest workout was 4 x 1 mile, which was probably at faster than 5k pace if I’m being honest

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ? All these answers just show my stupidity/arrogance in leading up to my first marathon, and I wouldn’t advise following the training I just outlined. Build the volume, get an accountability partner/coach, and do longer/slower workouts

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Boston Qualifier Questionnaire — Dave M

Name: Dave M

Sex: Male

Age (at the time of first BQ): 28

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

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 170

At which marathon did you get your first BQ? Colorado Marathon (Fort Collins, CO)

Tell us a little about the race. Great course: point to point with a large net downhill. It is at altitude though, so if you’re not from the mountains could be a struggle. Really pretty course though, with most along the Cache la Poudre river. Race went exactly to plan, going out faster the first half and then hanging on for the flatter last 6-7 miles.

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? 14 years

Did you run in college or high school? Yes

What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ? 16,000

How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ? 0

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, up to 90 mile weeks. Some speed work thrown in. Long runs up to 24 miles. Just lots of consistency. Strength is the key to the marathon.

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

Did cross training play a role in your training? If so, how? Only when hurt. I would ride my bike

Did speed work play a role in your training? If so, how? Yes, lots of tempos and some intervals. My key workout was a 10 mile tempo straight into 6 x 800m on the track at slightly below goal marathon pace. That was a killer workout.

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ? I signed up for Boston after my first qualifying, but didn’t get to run due to injury. 10 years later and I just qualified again last year (at the Lake Place Marathon). So I’m signed up for Boston 2020, and trying to stay healthy this time. More recently I’ve been doing very little speed work (mostly just occasional tempo runs). Just trying to get good base and hitting my long runs pretty hard.

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The Boston Qualifier Questionnaire — Andy B

Name: Andy B

Sex: Male

Age (at the time of first BQ): 19

Height (at the time of first BQ): 5’10”

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 135

At which marathon did you get your first BQ? Chicago 2010

Tell us a little about the race. This was my first marathon, and came about in the year where I first raced distances more than 5 miles in length. Managed to qualify for the A corral at a half marathon early in the summer, and thereafter focused more on building an aerobic base than on hitting workouts (i.e. primary goal was to increase my mileage). Living in Chicago at the time made this as logistically easy as a race could be (wake up early, hop on train, walk to start). Ran the first half too fast and had a quite substantial positive split (1:21 and 1:30 – oof!), but still managed to finish under my goal of 3:00 with some room to spare.

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? Sporadically for 5 years, 1.5 years focused

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? 1200

Approximately how many races did you run in that year? 3

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, Likely something pulled from Hal Higdon’s website

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 really; I biked a little, but I didn’t consider it as part of my marathon plan.

Did speed work play a role in your training? If so, how? For this one, no (unless you count work done prior to training for this race specifically)

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ? I think if I had trained like I did further out from my high school running days I wouldn’t have been within sniffing distance of 3 hours. I’ve had much better races after incorporating tempo and interval work into my training. Also have had more success at racing shorter distances, which I see as having gone hand-in-hand with improved marathon performance. Taking a step back from the marathon and focusing on shorter distances (5-10km) has also helped me a lot.

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The Boston Qualifier Questionnaire — Tom C

Name: Tom C

Sex: Male

Age (at the time of first BQ): 31

Height (at the time of first BQ):  5’10”

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 153

At which marathon did you get your first BQ? Phoenix/ Mesa Marathon

Tell us a little about the race. This was my first marathon after dropping down from ultras. I originally ran 2:54 on a whim at the American Discovery Trail Marathon back in 2011, but didn’t come back to the thon for several years due to competing in ultras and in general just running trails all the time. I did a decent 12 week buildup with my mileage peaking around 60 including multiple 20+ mile long runs, threshold work, and 1k – 2 mi repeats. I loosely followed the HOKA Naz Elite training plan on Final Surge which I purchased.
The race was okay. I was out in under 1:20 for the half with a goal of breaking 2:45 which seemed reasonable. Right after the half the wheels came off. Breathing was fine since I live and train at ‘6300, but my legs weren’t ready to run 6:10s. I ended up finishing in 2:50, which I was lucky to get given how badly I blew up.

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? Since age 12. I ran competitively in high school and D1 in college

Did you run in college or high school? Yes

What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ? A lot. But I took six years off of running after college.

How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ? 2300

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? No, I loosely followed Hoka NAZ elite’s advanced training program. Basically, if I can get my mileage up and do a tempo per week I’ll do okay. I mix these in with a lot of strides after easy runs.

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? A little. But I find that repeats less than 800 don’t really lend well to marathon training.

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ? If you BQ in the Vaporfly, you cheated.

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The Boston Qualifier Questionnaire — Garrick Chan

Name: Garrick Chan

Sex: Male

Age (at the time of first BQ): 27

Height (at the time of first BQ): 5 ft 9

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 138

At which marathon did you get your first BQ? Chicago Marathon 2019

Tell us a little about the race. Marathon debut. I ran the first half in 1:17:20 and then I somehow negative split the 2nd half by running 1:16:53. I ran my first marathon in 2:34:13, which qualified me for Boston 2021.

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? 17 years

Did you run in college or high school? Yes

What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ? I do not know.

How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ? I do not know.

Approximately how many races did you run in that year? 12 races before marathon, 2 races after marathon

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?  I have a coach and I followed his plan.

Did cross training play a role in your training? If so, how? I didn’t cross train.

Did speed work play a role in your training? If so, how? There was little speed work in my training for the marathon. I do believe that lowering your times in shorter distances can help you in longer distances.

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ? Surround yourself with the right people and implement a strong work ethic. You will reach your goal of a BQ if you do those things.