With just days remaining until the Boston Marathon, runners are at their last stretches of preparation for the marathon.
As a spectator, I can’t help but feel some sort of guilt, knowing that in just a few days I’ll be watching those memorable faces of dread trying to climb the notorious Heartbreak Hill.
This year, I’ve vowed not to be just another Bud Light toting spectator, chanting aimlessly at any pained runner. This year, I’m going to be informed, and know more about the legendary people and moments I’m about to see.
In order to qualify to run the marathon, the runners must have run the qualifying time by September 25, 2010. These qualifying times correspond with age group and gender. Participants must be at least 18, and have proof of qualification with their application. The race must be an official race, as noted by the Boston Athletic Association. A list, though not all-inclusive, of recommended races can be found here.
The times for 2012 are as follows:
These times are for runners only. The marathon also hosts entrants in the Push Rim Wheelchair Division, Mobility Impaired Division and Visually Impaired Division. These qualifying standards are also based on age and gender, but remain unchanged from recent years. Qualifying times for these entrants can be found here.
The race will be split up into 3 waves, split according to the type of participant and the qualifying time. Members of each wave are recognizable by the color of their bib.
Upon entering the marathon area, runners go to Athletes’ village to relax, stretch and get light refreshments and prepare themselves for the race ahead. Then, the runners are split into Corral time (time when they are allowed to exit the village and enter the marathon), and the race begins. The schedule of release is as follows:
So, what does this mean for the spectators?
These athletes should, by no means, be overlooked or missed. Not only are they often fan favorites, but they serve as equally or more inspirational as runners. These are the most elite athletes of the sport, and the Boston Marathon is one of only three races where these athletes are required to meet a qualifying time. Thus, the best of the best come here, and absolutely do not miss it. Where some of the world’s greatest marathon runners will overlook Boston in exchange for other marathons, it is not so for athletes with disabilities. You will see all of the best and only the best athletes with disabilities at the Boston Marathon.
A guide to understand what disabilities qualify for which division and see more qualifying times for athletes with disabilities, look here.
Last year, Masazumi Soejima, 40, won the push rim wheelchair division. He lost his legs at 23, due to a building collapse. He completed the marathon in 1:58:50. Wakako Tsuchida, 37, won the women’s division in 1:34:06. She lost her legs in a car accident. Both are from Japan.
Ron Hackett, 56, of Canada, won the men’s Visually-Impaired Division with a time of 3:50:27. Hackett lost his sight in 1966 due to a drunk driver. Jennifer Herring, 36, of New Jersey, won the women’s Visually-Impaired Division, with a time of 3:37:02. Herring has been blind since birth.
Nicholas Roumonada, New York, won the Mobility-Impaired Division with a 4:07:05. After losing a leg to bacterial meningitis, the once nearly dead teenager is now a top marathoner. Adrienne Ramsey won the women’s Mobility-Impaired Division, finishing in 3:54:37.
Competing in the handcycle program, Christopher Ayres won the male division with an official time of 1:18:56. Ayres lost his right posterior thigh and nerve damage throughout his back and leg while deployed in Iraq as an infantry officer in the Marine Corps. Kelly Brush crossed the finish line first in the women’s handcycle program with an official time of 1:55:01. Brush sustained severe spinal cord injuries during a ski race in 2006, while a member of the Middlebury College ski team.
Geoffrey Mutai of Kenya won the men’s Running Division of the Marathon with an official time of 2:03:02. Mutai ran the fastest marathon ever, with a 3:32 per mile race. The Boston course does not meet the criteria to be eligible for the mark, so this time is not recognized by the International Associations of Athletics Federations. However, many still recognize his time as the fastest marathon time ever. Caroline Kilel of Kenya won the women’s Running Division with an official time of 2:22:36. She beat American runner, Desiree Davila by just two seconds. After winning the marathon, Kilel stayed in Boston to run the inaugural B.A.A. 10k race, a race traditionally following the marathon. Kilel also won this race with a time of 31:58 minutes.
So there’s your introduction to some of the race basics, and the top participants from last year. Stay posted, as I’ll be posting some follow up posts and projects relating to the upcoming marathon.