‘There is magic in attempting to qualify for Boston,’ Simon Ong writes

"It empowers me to see that failure is necessary to succeed in any goal."


In our “Why I’m Running” series, Boston Marathon runners share what’s inspiring them to make the 26.2-mile trek from Hopkinton to Boston on April 15, 2019. 

Name: Simon Ong
Age: 30
From: Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Bib #: 3232

Boston is more than just a marathon. On top of having a rich history, I see Boston as a “city of strength,” as it went through moments of triumph and tragedy. This is the metaphor to everyday life. I started running as a coach potato with no athletic background, and had the dream of qualifying and running Boston. Prior to my running days, I would give up every time I encountered a setback, which was probably one of the reasons that led to my weight gain. There is magic in attempting to qualify for Boston: it empowers me to see that failure is necessary to succeed in any goal. It took me three attempts before I qualified for Boston in 2014.


I ran my first Boston in 2016 after months of hard training. The weather did not go according to plan, as it was a heat wave that year. My pace started to fall off 10 to 14 km into the race, and I started to jog and walk to the finish line. After I crossed the finish line, I was taken to the medical tent as my sodium level had dropped to a low level. I was able to show my potential on that day, and I promised to return to Boston to redeem my race performance.

Fast forward. Three years later, I am planning to return to Boston after qualifying in 2018. 2019 Boston is more than just redemption. Early in 2019, my grandmother passed away. She had suffered a stroke in the past and was on bed rest. She is one of my greatest supports in my running journey. Training and racing Boston 2019 would not be easy, but I am going to give my very best, and dedicate this race to my grandmother.

Check out our entire “Why I’m Running” series.


Editor’s note: Entry may have been lightly edited for clarity or grammar.