This coming April 21, I'll be crossing the finish line as a runner in the 2014 Boston Marathon after being one of 467 people selected out of 1,200 applicants for the special invitation for those the Boston Athletic Association described as being "personally and profoundly impacted by the events of April 15."
I'm honored for the opportunity to run on behalf of all the survivors and families affected by the events of that tragic day, and am going to train hard, and run the race harder. I simply saw the invitation posted and said to myself, "Why not me?"
Last April, I saw the attack, the heroic first responders, and my city in a state of shock up close but I continued to do my job, which was to show people what happened on Boylston Street via the images captured in my camera and tell people what I saw.
I've run this marathon before, I've been in those bars and restaurants on Marathon Monday, those were all our neighbors on the sidewalk, and they are our friends who are doing so great in rebounding today, from Jeff Bauman to Heather Abbott to Paul and JP Norden, the Richard family, and the rest of the brave survivors. I want to run strong for them and do my part in showing the world that Boston Strong is not just a theme but a reality that will be demonstrated by runners, volunteers, and spectators alike on April 21, sure to be one of the most emotional days in Boston history.
It's been 14 years – and 35 pounds – since I last ran the Boston Marathon as part of the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge team. I finished in under four hours in back-to-back years ('99 and '00). I'll never qualify for Boston, so this is also a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to do something special... and make my primary care physician very happy when I weigh in next spring. The challenge now is to drop more weight and properly train to put myself in a position to finish strong on April 21. A four-hour race is a long shot, but I'm sure I can get in under five.
I'll be posting here from time to time with updates on training and happenings around town, along with my friends Ty Velde, and Rich "Shifter" Horgan, and providing other observations with less than 18 weeks to go before race day.
With this being a last minute opportunity and decision, my training started from rock bottom. Coming off a full-year of rehab off a torn hamstring, I packed on the pounds and weighed in at 249 the day I found out I had been accepted on Dec. 4.
I ran the 8th annual Donahue's "5K Turkey Trot" in Watertown on Thanksgiving Day and came in No. 34 out of 37 Clydesdales, finishing in 34 minutes. Horrendous effort by my standards!
Slowly but surely, I've cut down the calories, and have picked up the pace and miles to get this marathon training jump-started. Breaking up with Little Debbie was not easy, neither was driving away from Pepperidge Farm for the last time. A fortunate business trip to Orlando and Miami allowed me to drop a quick 15 pounds as I pounded the pavement in the hot Florida sun for seven of the last nine days.
Now I'm back in Boston. When I stepped off my arriving flight at Logan at 11 p.m. Monday night, the sharp frigid air shot up through the gap between the plane and the gate connector and sent a shockwave through my system. The realization that I'm not going to be running in the South Beach sun on Ocean Drive hit me like a snowball in the face.
It's going to be a whole new ballgame now running on the snowy hills of Newton and the icy path around the Charles River. And it's primarily going to be a solo effort, without the benefit of a training team to fire me off the couch when the long runs are due and the temperature drops into the single digits.
So I'm off to do the cold-slippery-snowy run and make the transition back. As my old running coach for Dana-Farber Jack Fultz, winner of the 1976 Boston Marathon, says, "There's no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing."
… so it's out the door and on the road I go.
Steve Silva can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @stevesilva
The Boston Athletic Association will provide a limited number of invitational entries to the 2014 Boston Marathon to people who were most impacted by the bombings at the finish line of the 2013 race.
People who want to be considered for an invitational entry must submit a written request via the BAA's website, and photos, videos, or any other material will not be accepted. Applicants must have been "personally and profoundly impacted by the events of April 15, 2013"; be able to complete a 26.2-mile marathon in six hours, 30 minutes or less; and be 18 by April 21, 2014.
Deadline for submissions is Wednesday, Nov. 27, at 5 p.m., and those chosen will be notified Dec. 4. The invitation is only for the 2014 event, can't be transferred to anyone else, and runners chosen must pay a $325 entry fee.
The field for the Boston Marathon will be 36,000, including the invitational entries.
A Boston Marathon qualifying time or fund-raising is not required.
2013 Boston Marathon champion Lelisa Desisa won the BAA Half Marathon Sunday morning, breaking the course record set just last year.
The Ethiopian won the 13.1 mile race just six months after winning the full marathon title on Patriots' Day.
Desisa's time of 1:00:34 beat the mark of 1:01:44 set in 2012 by Allan Kiprono.
A third-place finish in the half marathon gave Stephen Sambu the BAA Distance Medley title. His cumulative lead over Kiprono through the first two races was 26 seconds, and he did more than enough to keep the lead and win the medley.
On the women's side, New Zealander Kim Smith set a event record of her own en route to winning her second straight BAA Half Marathon, and she also clinched her second straight Distance Medley title.
The Providence resident ran a time of 1:09:14, besting the previous event record of 1:10:52. In winning the Distance Medley, she and Sambu each take home a prize of $100,000.
The field was expanded to include more than 5,000 runners who were prevented from finishing in 2013 because two bombs exploded near the finish line, and also to accommodate increased interest in the 2014 race.
“The BAA is aware of the significantly increased interest in registering for the 2014 Boston Marathon,” BAA executive director Tom Grilk said in a news release. “The rolling admission schedule will provide runners with the fastest qualifying times in their age and gender group the ability to have their entry accepted in an orderly and systematic manner. We understand many marathoners and qualifiers want to run Boston in 2014, and we appreciate the support and patience that the running community has demonstrated because of the bombings that occurred this past Spring.”
Registration will again be conducted on a rolling basis that gives priority to the fastest qualifiers.
The BAA explained the process as follows:
On Monday, September 9, eligible runners who have met the qualifying standard for their age and gender by 20 minutes or more may register. On Wednesday, September 11 at 10:00 a.m. ET, if space remains, registration will open for those who have met their qualifying standard by 10 minutes or more. If space remains, registration will open on Friday, September 13 at 10:00 a.m. ET for those who have met their qualifying standard by five minutes or more. Registration will close on Saturday, September 14 at 10:00 p.m. ET. If space remains after the first week of registration (Monday, September 9 through Saturday, September 14), then registration will re-open for all qualifiers from Monday, September 16 at 10:00 a.m. ET through Friday, September 20 at 5:00 p.m. ET. If space remains after this initial period, then on Monday, September 23 registration will re-open to anyone who meets the qualifying standards. Registration will remain open until the maximum field size is reached.
The Globe's Shira Springer has more details on today's announcement in her story here.
The 2014 Boston Marathon field will be 9,000 runners stronger, Boston Police commissioner Ed Davis said Friday morning on NECN.
Jack Fleming, director of marketing and communications for the Boston Athletic Association, told Runner's World that details have to be worked out with the cities and towns that the marathon passes through.
"We really do need to work with all of the cities and towns and the larger, coordinating Commonwealth agencies," said Fleming. "[The growth of the field] is happening. However, it is too early for us to state the field size that might ultimately be set."
The marathon's usual field hosts some 27,000 runners. The 5,633 official entrants who were unable to finish the 2013 marathon because of the bombings are guaranteed entry into the 2014 marathon. It is not yet clear if these runners will count toward the additional entrants in the field.
The runners from this year's marathon who are guaranteed entry must register by Aug. 29.
Dick and Rick Hoyt, the father-son team that has run 31 Boston Marathons together, was honored with one of the most prestigious honors at the ESPY Awards Wednesday at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles.
Team Hoyt received the Jimmy V Perseverance Award, named in honor of the late North Carolina State men's basketball coach, Jim Valvano.
"Thirty-seven years ago, no one would even talk to us, but because my Dad said yes when I asked him to push me in the first race, and my family, especially my brothers Rob and Russ, have always stood by us and helped us persevere, even with so many people telling us we did not belong, we are here," said Rick Hoyt, who has cerebral palsy and spoke via an electronic device. "It only proves the wisdom of Jimmy V's words: 'Don't give up, don't ever give up.'"
The award was presented by actor and Boston native Ben Affleck.
"As you might imagine, we are even more thrilled because the life motto of Team Hoyt – which has inspired thousands of people around the world to better themselves through athletics and to not tolerate people with disabilities being denied the opportunity to participate in life – is yes you can," Rick Hoyt said.
Valvano is famous for his impassioned speech about never giving up at the 1993 ESPYs as he battled cancer. Valvano died the same year, but his foundation continues the work he began.
"I don't think you could find two guys more proud to represent the city of Boston," Dick Hoyt said. "Next time you see someone in a wheelchair, or who can't talk, or walk, or they may talk or walk a little bit different, they are people too, and deserve to be able to live, learn, work, and play. Rick and I want to thank you all."
BOSTON – The men's winner at the Boston Marathon and the woman who won the Boston Athletic Association's Distance Medley in 2012 headline the field for Sunday's BAA 10K.
Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia will be looking for his second major Boston race victory just two months after his Marathon win when the 10K is held at 8 a.m. Sunday beginning near the Boston Public Garden. It is the second of three events in the BAA medley, which crowned Kim Smith of New Zealand as its women's champ last year.
“I am excited to be back and racing in Boston again,” Smith said. “Winning the [2012 B.A.A.] distance medley was something I had on my plans all year, so to be back is exciting and I hope to do well again.”
The medley also includes April's 5K and October's half-marathon.
Desisa, who has run a personal best 10K of 27:58 on the road, will be challenged in the men’s race by 2012 BAA Distance Medley champion Allan Kiprono of Kenya; 2012 Distance Medley runner-up Lani Rutto, also of Kenya; three-time Olympian Alistair Craig of Ireland; 2013 Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run champion Daniel Salel of Kenya; six-time NCAA All-American Stephen Sambu of Kenya; 2012 Paris Marathon runner-up Raji Assefa of Ethiopia; and 2013 James Joyce Ramble champion Amos Sang of Kenya.
Current men’s Distance Medley leader Aaron Braun of Arizona will looking to add to his point total after finishing second at the BAA 5K in April, when he ran a time of 13:40. Also running will be top American distance runner Jason Hartmann of Colorado, who finished fourth overall and was the top American finisher in both the 2012 and 2013 Boston Marathons.
Other Americans competing will be Nate Jenkins, who has a personal best of 29:33, and Mark Amirault, who will be making his professional 10K debut. Both are natives of Massachusetts.
Smith will be looking to defend her 10K and Distance Medley title against a field that will include some of the world’s best distance runners. The Providence, RI, resident has a 10K personal best of 31:23 on the road and won the BAA 5K in April. She will be challenged by Lineth Chepkurui of Kenya, who finished second to Smith in the 5K; 2013 Crescent City Classic champion Alice Kimutai of Kenya; 2008 Bellin Run champion Millicent Kuria of Kenya; James Joyce Ramble champion Chemtai Rionotukei of Kenya; Houston Half Marathon and New York Mini 10K champion Mamitu Daska of Ethiopia; and 2012 Distance Medley runner-up Aheza Kiros of Ethiopia.
“[I am] feeling confident, it will be tough for three events, [this is] a challenging series,” Smith said. “I have been running shorter track races, trying to prepare for [those]. All my preparation has been for the 5K and 10K right now so [the training has] worked out well.”
The 6.2 mile course begins near the Boston Public Garden, and the route goes through the Back Bay.
Following the race, there will be a special ceremony in which Desisa will be gifting his 2013 Boston Marathon medal back to the City of Boston. He will dedicate his gift to the city in honor of the victims of the bombings that took place near the marathon finish line two hours after he finished the race.
Dick and Rick Hoyt, the father-son team that has been a fixture at the Boston Marathon for more than 30 years, will receive the Jimmy V Perseverance Award at the ESPY awards in July.
Team Hoyt, recently honored with a statue at the Boston Marathon starting line in Hopkinton, will receive the award at ESPN's annual program on July 17 in Los Angeles. The Jimmy V Perseverance Award is given in honor of Jim Valvano, the late coach of North Carolina State famous for his impassioned speech about never giving up at the 1993 ESPYs as he battled cancer.
“Rick and I are grateful to be receiving this award, and learning that Jimmy Valvano’s motto was 'don’t give up, don’t ever give up,' is amazing as we have always said that there is no such word as “can’t” in the Hoyt vocabulary,” Dick Hoyt said via an ESPN press release. “Our motto is “Yes You Can” and we strive to always persevere even when others tell you that it cannot be done. We want to thank The V Foundation and the ESPYS for honoring us with this award.”
Runner's World has produced a poignant cover for its July edition, which focuses on the tragedy at the Boston Marathon and its impact on the running community.
Editor David Willey explained the cover in detail in a blog post on the magazine's website, but also gave Boston.com a few more details today during a phone interview.
With the June issue already "in bed" when the bombs went off April 15, Willey and his staff knew their next opportunity to address Boston in print was the July issue. The bar for magazines was set high with popular covers already created by Sports Illustrated and Boston Magazine.
"I was blown away, it was such a brilliant idea," Willey said of Boston Magazine's montage of running shoes on its cover.
Nonetheless, Runner's World surely deserves a place alongside its colleagues with the July cover. Reaction has been almost entirely positive, Willey said, assuaging his fear that some would interpret the cover -- with its picture of a Boston Marathon medal with a black band across it -- as meaning the Boston Marathon was dead.
"We've gotten a pretty big response," he said. "A lot of people say they love it, simply saying it's great, it's perfect, and when people say more, it tends to be along the lines of 'I can't wait to read the whole issue.' "
The magazine hits newsstands June 11 and goes live for tablets June 5.
The race, on Sept. 15, begins and ends at Suffolk Downs and goes through East Boston and Revere. Proceeds from the event will benefit OneFund.
Rodgers won the Boston Marathon in 1975, 1978, 1979 and 1980. Shorter won the 1972 Summer Olympics men's marathon in Munich, the first American to win an Olympic marathon, and won the silver at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal.
Participants can register, request printable application and find fee information on the race's website.
- Matt Pepin, Boston.com sports editor
- Steve Silva, Boston.com senior producer, two-time Boston Marathon sub-four hour runner.
- Ty Velde is a 15-time Boston qualifier who's completed 11 consecutive Boston Marathons and 23 marathons overall. Ty is now training for his 12th Boston run and will provide training tips for those who train solo and outside, no matter what temperature it is.
- Rich 'Shifter' Horgan is a 19-time Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge team member who runs in honor of his father, who died of colon cancer. He will provide updates on local running events with a focus on the charitable organizations that provide Boston Marathon entries for their organization's fund raising purposes