My first Boston was in 1997. I had tried hard to qualify so I could run the 100th anniversary Boston Marathon in 1996. I did three marathons in December 1995, trying to qualify, and missed by several minutes each time.
The final attempt was the “Last Chance Marathon” in Tampa, a one-time marathon set up as one last opportunity to qualify for the 100th. It was a three mile loop in a park that you had to run nine times. I got dizzy and didn’t make the cut.
I was able to qualify the next year at the Blue Angel Marathon in Pensacola. I didn’t realize I had run a qualifying time; someone had to tell me the day after the race. I have run Boston every year since, except in 2009, but more on that later…
My first Boston, 1997, was my finest hour (or finest three hours, to be more exact). I ran a PR that still stands today (and is unlikely be improved upon any time soon), 3:13.
|Big Foot leaves his mark…|
After that, my Boston times have been very consistent. In 1998, I ran only six seconds slower than the previous year. Then at Boston in 1999, I was only two minutes slower than the year before. I was able to run another 3:15 in 2000, and so on… I am pretty sure I have run a qualifier every time I have run Boston.
I’ve run 70 marathons, but the 16 in Boston have been my favorites. I love Boston, it loves me. The Boston Marathon means more to me than anyone could know. I can’t explain it, but I always run my best there. Every year! I don’t know why.
|I can always find my size shoes at the Expo…|
I love it in a way that I cannot describe.
I do have at least one blemish on my Boston record: I didn’t run in 2009, because I FORGOT TO REGISTER!
Hotel booked? Check!
Flights booked? Check!
Bags packed? Check!
Got toothbrush? Check!
Registered??? Uh … Uh… Uh… Oh, noooooooooooooooo!
That moment of realization will haunt me for a long, long time.
John (Big Foot) Akin
Do Not Pass!! I Am Not In Your Age Group!!!
For more personal accounts of the 1997 Boston marathon, click here.
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