The Boston Marathon represented the end of a two year pursuit for me. In 2000, I set a goal to qualify for Boston and reached that goal in the Twin Cities Marathon that same year (a personal record of 3:09:52). The qualifying time was good for two years. I was very busy with medical school, so I decided to run Boston the following year.
By that time, I had met my wife-to-be, and we spent several days touring the historic city. (She was in OT school and couldn’t get any time off. She told her professors she had scabies and couldn’t come to class for a few days! Nobody asks for proof when you tell them you have scabies!) This trip was more of a vacation than a race. We walked on the Freedom Trail, went to a Red Sox game, drank at Cheers, and gorged on seafood.
I took a narrated bus tour of the course. It was really cool to finally make it here and be surrounded by so many other runners who dedicated themselves to the same goal. It can be argued the Boston Marathon is the most famous and prestigious road race in the world. The great thing about marathon running is the chance to compete in the same event as the best in the world. Not many people can play in a Super Bowl with Tom Brady or a World Series with Derek Jeter, but I was able to “play in the Super Bowl of Running” for one day.
I was not in great shape for the race and labored to a four hour plus finish time. The course was 26.2 miles of history, and I didn’t mind a single minute spent on the course. The entire course was lined with enthusiastic spectators who are as much a part of the race as the runners themselves. I took a disposable camera with me on the course and tried to capture what I could of the race. For me, however, the race was fairly anti-climactic. This was about the destination AND the journey. To this date, qualifying for and running the Boston Marathon remains my proudest accomplishment.
[Cut & Run is a web journal devoted to Dr. Scott Swanson’s goal of running a marathon in all 50 states, a task he completed on November 16, 2014. “As a practicing orthopaedic surgeon, I have to balance the demands of a busy practice with the training necessary to reach my goal. Some days, quite literally, all I do is cut and run.” In his blog, he shares training, health, and life lessons learned from seventeen years of marathons and medicine.]