The Boston Qualifier Questionnaire — Pete D

Name: Pete D.

Sex: Male

Age (at the time of first BQ): 41

Height (at the time of first BQ):  6’2

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 190

At which marathon did you get your first BQ?  Santa Rosa Marathon, 2017

Tell us a little about the race. It was a very hot day in Santa Rosa, but fortunately the race started early enough to beat the real heat (103F by noon, but not too bad before 9:30). It was a pretty flat course, but naturally the last few miles were a real struggle. I tried to stay on a 7:10 mile pace and just hung on at 3:09 overall.

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? About 20 years, in some form

Did you run in college or high school? Yes

What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ? About 10,000

How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ? Approximately 1,200

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, I have had a number of injuries and cross-train a lot, so I really listened to my body and made the plan up as I went. Still I tried to have a lot of discipline and generally plan a few weeks ago. I’d go longer/faster when I felt good and shorter and I felt lousy.

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

Did cross training play a role in your training? If so, how? Definitely. I play hockey, cross-country ski and use an erg machine to row at home (especially in the winter). I mixed in some lifting and yoga too. I think all that helps build a base of fitness so that you only need to focus more intensely on running for a shorter period — 10-12 weeks leading up to the race.

Did speed work play a role in your training? If so, how? Very little. I only did sustained speed, like longer runs at an even 6:50 to 7:10 mile pace. No intervals, no high-end speed.

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ? Stick with it and be wary of boxed programs, in my humble opinion. I’ve seen some programs that I believe are too rigid and probably won’t help a lot of people. I would recommend building your own and catering to your own issues, schedule, soreness, energy level, illness, etc. If you feel tired and got 3 hours of sleep, don’t follow it up with a long/hard run. If you feel great and happen to run into a beautiful sunset, add a few miles. Find motivation and inspiration when you can, and use it hit faster paces.

I have two young kids and work full time, so I run when I can find the time. It may actually take more personal discipline to freelance it rather than following a set schedule, but remember to really push yourself (pace and distance) on the days you feel good and ready for it, so you can scale back on the days you don’t.

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How Steve Harrelson Qualified for the Boston Marathon on his 11th try

Name: Steve Harrelson

Sex: Male

Age (at the time of first BQ): 43

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

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 175

At which marathon did you get your first BQ? Berlin

Tell us a little about the race. Berlin is a flat, fast course, and the weather was perfect. It remained about 55 degrees throughout the race. It is well organized, and there are plenty of water stops throughout the course. It’s a great place to qualify for Boston.

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? 19 years

Did you run in college or high school? Yes

What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ? 12,000 miles

How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ? 900 miles

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? Yes, Hal Higdon’s Advanced 2 Marathon Program

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 lift some weights 2-3 times per week…mainly dumbbells and push-ups for 30 minutes.

Did speed work play a role in your training? If so, how? My plan called for Yasso 800’s once every three weeks. Toward the end of my training program, I was running 8×800 under 3:10 each relatively comfortably.

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ? I did not qualify for Boston until my 11th marathon. Don’t ever give up!

The Boston Qualifier Questionnaire — Aaron Fox

Name: Aaron Fox

Sex: Male

Age (at the time of first BQ): 41

Height (at the time of first BQ):  6’3″

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 192

At which marathon did you get your first BQ? Mountains 2 Beach

Tell us a little about the race. This is a point to point race, about 700 ft net downhill that I specifically targeted for BQ. I needed 3:15, realistically 3:12, and trained/targeted sub 3. I started off with the 3:02 pacer, and left that group about mile 8. Felt great through 16-17 miles (half in 1:29:07), then the sun and miles got me, and I faded a bit the last 10k. Ended up 3:03:02 and ringing the BQ gong felt great.

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? 4.5 years

Did you run in college or high school? No

What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ? 9000

How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ? 2500

Approximately how many races did you run in that year? 6

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? none

Did speed work play a role in your training? If so, how? my coach loves strides, so I did a lot of those. once a week I did sessions of a couple min on, a couple min off, with the ratio increasing throughout the plan. but there were no prescribed paces. All effort based.

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ? For those of us with no running background, I really think it comes down to just an accumulation of miles. The specific plan can help a little, but at some point it just comes down to having thousands and thousands of miles in your legs. Good luck!

The Boston Qualifier Questionnaire – Phil R

Name: Phil R

Sex: Male

Age (at the time of first BQ): 44

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

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 152

At which marathon did you get your first BQ? Hartford

Tell us a little about the race. I starting running in 2011, but in late 2015 I shifted my focus to triathlons. This was my eight marathon and the fourth that I thought I had a shot to BQ, including missing by 62 seconds at New Jersey in 2015.

After spending a year between 2015 and 2016 training for Ironman Mont-Tremblant, I used all that built up fitness to slingshot my way into a BQ at Hartford and took full advantage of that extra 10 minutes I got going from 44 to 45 years old. I only had about six weeks between the Ironman and the marathon and most of that was spent recovering (the Ironman wrecked me). I think I had just enough gas left in my tank to hit that BQ. I ran a good, steady race and came in 3:22:39, for the BQ -2:21. I just hope that cushion is enough to get me into 2018.

I am still a little bummed that I was unable to break that 3:15 I was trying for before the AG bump and I wish I didn’t need that extra 10 minutes, but I’ve got more marathons in me and will keep trying for that. Up next is Space Coast later in 2017.

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? 11,000 miles

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? 15

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? I was strictly a runner for five years, but running a marathon after focusing on an Ironman meant I did a ton of biking and swimming. I was only running about 30 mpw for the eight months leading into my BQ marathon, but they were mostly hard effort miles.

Did speed work play a role in your training? If so, how? More tempo runs than speedwork. 60-90 minute tempo runs once a week, and a good portion of my other runs at steady-state.

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ? Well, I am still trying to figure that out. I was just fortunate enough to get that 10 minute bump at a time when I was in decent shape.

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.

How Luis Qualified for Boston After 10 Tries

Thanks to Luis (and his coach) for sharing the story of a long, but ultimately successful road to a BQ! Congrats Luis.

Name: Luis Fajardo (@LuisFajardoCR)

Sex: Male

Age (at the time of first BQ): 43

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

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 148lb

At which marathon did you get your first BQ? Spring Chance BQ.2 Marathon

Tell us a little about the race. After several attempts, I selected this race because is designed for BQ. This is a 5K loop (8 times) race and you can bring your own hydration. I needed all the variables in my favor and this race delivered. I was also fortunate enough to have good weather on race day ~43F at the start.

At my age (43), I needed 3:15 to qualify but I was aiming for 3:10 to guarantee (I hope so) and spot on 2019 Boston Race. I finished in 3:09:42.

Everything went smooth, besides a couple of wrinkles (had to stop to get a rock off my shoe, lost about 1min here and a bathroom break another minute here), but the most difficult part came at mile 25 with a light cramp on my right calve, I ran the last mile very conservative and playing in my head with the time I had left so was able to hit the time I wanted even with those difficulties. Last mile was the longest in my life.

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

Did you run in college or high school? No

What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ? 10,000

How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ? 1800

Approximately how many races did you run in that year? 3 half marathons one each month prior race

Did you follow a canned program? If so, which one? 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? Yes, I did 3 days of strength training, I did it on hard days so easy days were easy

Did speed work play a role in your training? If so, how? Yes, I did once a week of track workouts

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ? I want to share with you all what my coach sent to me after my qualification, this explains so much what I went thru for this race. I’m now working even harder as I want to do sub 3hrs in Boston next year (2019), but the main thing I can say to anybody working hard to archive a BQ is to BELIEVE, and enjoy the ride, seriously, after so many defeats I learn to appreciate every workout and focusing on doing my best every day. You can’t control the outcome, all you can do is do your best every day and the results will come, BELIEVE and HAVE FUN!

“THE DREAM: TO QUALIFY FOR BOSTON
The character: A specimen that defines a RUNNER. Somebody that was born loving running, mono-conversational RUNNING, sleeps RUNNING, wakes up RUNNING, eats RUNNING, reads RUNNING, listens RUNNING.
The challenge: Some runners have the physical “gift”, the ability to engage in running motion and feel like the wind, like you are on wheels, you flow, you feel fast, smooth, EFFORTLESS, you keep changing gears, going faster and faster and the machine responds, everything clicks. You train for a few weeks and you can already outrun everybody in your hood, and in school.
In addition to the physical “gift” you also have the mental “gift”. The ability to direct the voices in your head that tell you to slow down when suffering strikes, they have the ovarian or testicular fortitude to override the message and actually either keep the pace or even run faster. You are tough SOB, INDESTRUCTIBLE mentally.
Our character did not come from the assembly line with those engine options or computer software. The tools to work with were your average legs, 2-cylinder heart, outdated cooling system and software. However, the operating system had a glitch, the persistence software was hacked at one point and was the only director running the machine. Gradually, HE HAD TO COMPLETELY REBUILT BOTH THE ENGINE AND THE SOFTWARE to become BOSTON BOUND.
PERSISTANCE: firm, or obstinate continuance in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition.
Marathon 1- FAILED
Marathon 2- FAILED
Marathon 3- FAILED
Marathon 4- FAILED
Marathon 5- FAILED
Marathon 6- FAILED
Marathon 7- FAILED
Marathon 8- FAILED
Marathon 9- FAILED
Marathon 10- FAILED

BOSTON QUALIFIER TIME : 3:15

Marathon 11 – TODAY – TIME RAN: 3:09

SUCCESS IS NOT THE ABSENCE OF FAILURE; IT IS THE PERSISTENCE THROUGH FAILURE

The SPECIMEN’S name is LUIS FAJARDO. After the 10th FAILED Marathon, his son asked him, “are you going to run another one after 10 FAILURES in your Boston qualifying quest?”. He replied, I DID NOT FAIL, I just discovered another WAY OF HOW NOT TO RUN THE MARATHON.
They can because they think they can ~ Luis Fajardo
Good Timber DOES NOT grow with ease, the stronger the wind, the stronger the trees ~ Luis Fajardo
The mind is its own place, and in itself CAN make a Heaven of Hell, or a Hell of Heaven, YOUR CALL ~ Luis Fajardo
DO NOT find FAULT, FIND remedy ~ Luis Fajardo”

Coach: Omarto Fumero, Miami, Florida

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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!