Revisiting My Experiences at the Boston Marathon 15 Years Ago

The 2 fastest marathons ever recorded occurred this past Monday at the Boston Marathon, yet Haile Gebrselassie's 2008 world record time of 2:03:59 at the Berlin Marathon is safe. Why? Because the Boston Marathon course, even with the infamous 88 foot climb Heartbreak Hill between miles 20 and 21, has a net downhill of 459 feet.

Geoffrey Mutai blitzed the course in 2:03:02, followed by Moses Mosop* 4 measly seconds later. They averaged just under 4 minutes, 42 seconds per mile...for 26.2 miles. And of course in 4th place was American stud Ryan Hall, who couldn't believe that while running 2:04:58 fastest ever time by an American, he couldn't even see the top 2 guys. Ryan was only 5 seconds away from 3rd place. Unbelievable times.

*Mosop was running his debut marathon. So while Mutai has the fastest recorded marathon time (yet not an official world record) in history, Mosop's claims to fame are 1) 2nd fastest recorded marathon time in history; 2) fastest debut marathon in history; and 3) world's fastest average marathon time (given the fact his average only includes one race).

Brings back memories. I've run 2 Boston Marathons, both "landmark" events.  My first Boston was the 100th Anniversary of the Boston Marathon in 1996. The centennial event was most memorable because it was (and I believe still is) the largest marathon ever run, with over 38,700 participants. It was a cold, cold day and I remember freezing my %^& off as we waited the several hours for the race to start at noon.

Me being the California boy, I wasn't prepared to stand around in the snow for 2 hours. My body must have sucked all the carbs right out to stay warm. But I was there for the festivity, not to run a personal best. In fact, I had run a 2:37 L.A. Marathon just 6 weeks prior, followed by a 16:18 5K and 16:23 5K 2 successive Saturdays prior to Boston. I gritted it out and with some effort and managed a 2:45 that day.

Although I was there "for fun" I kind of swore to myself that would be my once and only Boston as I didn't particularly enjoy the experience. Too crowded, too cold, too tired. Just not in my element.

But that negativity was forgotten as I decided to run the millenial Boston Marathon in 2000. What better way to start the new century than to run the Boston Marathon again!

I took this Boston race more seriously than the first time and was in somewhat comparable shape, having run a 2:36 at the Long Beach Marathon 5 months prior. About 2 weeks before the race I ran a decent 34:35 10K race.

But once again, Boston didn't quite go as well as I'd hoped for. It was freezing cold again and there was a strong headwind. I remember literally shivering, teeth shattering, at the end of the race. Just wasn't my day. I managed a 1:18 through the halfway point but at Mile 15 had to make a pit stop that lasted about a minute. From there on out I gradually slowed and finished in 2:43:49. Respectable, but not what I was looking to do.

I jotted down my mile splits from that 2000 Boston Marathon and am reminded, and all of you looking to do Boston should be mindful of, the first part of that race is majorly downhill, to the point that you feel like you're running a 10K. It takes a lot of focus and concentration to hold yourself back slightly over those first 6 or 7 miles of Boston as they are mostly downhill (mile 1 I believe is an exception). I highly recommend some downhill training in preparation for the early race pounding at Boston.

Well I'm gonna cut it off right here but plan to talk more particular the new qualifying times and registration procedures. Over and out.