Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Hey Boston Marathon, you're acting like a carney!

I'm going to rant for a bit.

It's going to be about the Boston Marathon and big marathons in general.

If you don't want to hear it stop reading now and go to the next blog on your reader.

First, let me say that I'm not a "Boston Qualifier" and probably never will be. The fact is I'm slow. I'm tall at 6'7" and I'm prone to injuries. Although I've been jogging for years, I only consider myself to have become a runner in the last 2 years and still consider myself "learning." The qualifying time for me is simply out of the question at this point given my circumstance. However, I am an above average athlete when compared to similar males my age. Boston Marathon isn't important to me. I've visited the city. It's fun. It's historic. It's also a northern city and I prefer to have more fun in southern or western cities, but that's just me and my upbringing. That being said, maybe I shouldn't talk about Boston.

However, you see, Boston Marathon is important to the people that are important to me; my friends and my girlfriend. So it's a free country and I'm going to talk about Boston. Today I got the following email from my girlfriend, which was a forwarded piece of information about Boston Marathon and what the BAA is doing now that they seem to have more demand than supply for their little prestigious event.

2012 rolling registration dates - Day 1 (Sept. 12) - Qualifiers who have met their age and gender qualifying standard (3 hours, 10 minutes for men aged 18-34 and 3 hours, 40 minutes for women 18-34) by a margin of 20 minutes or faster may apply for the marathon. - Day 3 (Sept. 14) - Qualifiers who have met the standard set for their age/gender by a margin of 10 minutes or faster may apply. - Day 5 (Sept. 16) - Qualifiers who have met their age/gender qualifying time by a margin of 5 minutes or faster may apply. - Day 8 (Sept. 19) - Open to all qualifiers to register. - Day 12 (Sept. 23) - Registration closes for qualified applicants. Registered qualifiers will be notified of their acceptance by Sept. 28. For 2013, there are new qualifying times. The times will be 5 minutes tougher than they are currently. For example, men 18-34 currently must run 3:10 and women 18-34 must run 3:40 to qualify, but for 2013 these groups will have to run 3:05 and 3:35 respectively.

My girlfriend's only remarks?
"I may have to run another marathon!"

I would normally say running another marathon is a good thing. One should never quit with only running one marathon (it would be my girlfriend's 4th marathon). But, saying you have to run another marathon to qualify for Boston when you already ran your heart out and qualified for Boston is a load of shit. Yeah... that's right. I said it. I understand the BAA is trying to solve the problem in a fair manner, but there has to be a better way. If you want your race to be the most prestigious marathon out there don't screw the people that have shed tears, lost blood and sweat their asses off obtaining that qualification.

I'm starting to hate the Boston Marathon more and more. It started last Fall when the damn thing sold out in only a few hours, which happened to be only a few days before my girlfriend ran her qualifying marathon. And by the way, she ran her heart out on a tough course with little or no support that turned out to be a complete FAIL on that race directors part. See Running for the Bay Marathon for details. Despite that adversity she still obtained a qualifying time knowing she'd have to wait until 2012 to actually run Boston.

And now this load of crap from the BAA. I highly doubt those poor runners that have to wait until day 8 of registration with their hard earned qualifying time will have any chance at all of running the 2012 Boston Marathon.

I can see it now... my girlfriend is already conspiring to run a summer marathon to attempt a time 20 minutes faster than her actual minimum qualifying time of 3:40:00. That means a 3:20:00, which is a huge jump. It'd be about a 15 minute jump for her. I'd say that kind of jump in time is awesome and everyone should strive for it, but not because some jackasses in Boston are punishing those already qualified runners to run faster. That's all the wrong reasons.

So what's the deal with all these marathon's selling out so quickly? Our epic summer adventure plan got shattered due to Ogden Marathon selling out. Is the sport of running gaining in popularity or is it more and more people are realizing the health benefits of running and taking to the road? I think it's great. I really do. I love being surrounded by health-conscience athletes like myself. Most of the time I look around and see myself surrounded by out-of-shape future cardiac and diabetes patients. I just worry about the sport and where it's going. The more and more I think about it the more and more I'd rather run an obscure little known race that benefits a charity. Some of the most fun I've had have been races with less than 100 participants. Last weekend was the 26.2 with Donna Marathon and Half Marathon to benefit breast cancer research and care. This race fielded about 6,000 runners and felt like a big race like Disney or a Rock 'n' Roll event (I've run both). The difference? It was better organized and benefited a charity. I was going to write a review of it now, but this news about Boston made me so angry that it'll have to wait. Maybe I'll become a trail runner. Maybe I'll stop running races all together. Sure would be cheaper. Maybe I'll go run these race courses on a different day and provide my own support. It's a free country. Stick it to the man, ya know?

Getting back to Boston....

Prepare to disagree with me if you like.....

How about do away with ALL runners that are not time qualifying runners? Yes, that means charity runners, celebrity runners and "special" invitees! I mean, come on, if I got invited to run the Boston Marathon for whatever reason, but I hadn't run a 3:10:00 marathon or faster I'd have to decline the invitation on general principal. I mean seriously, if the field shouldn't be increased in size because it can't accommodate it and the demand is there, yet you still want to be prestigious, how about catering to those that really deserve to be there? There are plenty of other charity races out there. Let the charities go. I know it sounds horrible, but considering the situation it seems the only charity the BAA is serving is itself.

I was at a carnival about a year ago with my girlfriend (the undisputed BOSTON QUALIFIER!) and a Carney called me over to his booth. It was one of those classic throw the baseball at the three bottles stacked on top of each other forming a triangle games. Simple game. Knock all three bottles down and win a teddy bear. I gave the Carney a few dollars and he gave me a baseball. Little did he know I used to be a pitcher. I threw that ball dead center into the three bottles. A perfect strike. It hit so perfectly that the two bottom ones exploded left and right at 45-degree angles behind the stand they were resting on and the top bottle fell straight down onto it. It fell so perfectly that it remained standing where the two supporting bottles were before it.

I looked at the Carney and was ready to give my newly won teddy bear to my girlfriend. He hesitated and then claimed that he couldn't give me the teddy bear because I hadn't knocked all the bottles down and one was still standing. He immediately asked for another few dollars so I could try again with another ball. I started to argue with him and then stopped. It wasn't worth it. It's just a freaking teddy bear and my girlfriend doesn't want it anyhow. I know in my heart that I threw that baseball perfect. It was so perfect it not only knocked all the bottles down, but allowed the top one to fall right into place as if I yanked a table cloth out from a dinner arrangement. I simply told the Carney that I wouldn't buy another chance on general principal and that I had won his game on the first shot; fair and square! I walked away and left him standing there.

Hey Boston Athletic Association! YOU'RE ACTING LIKE A CARNEY!

My name is Sylvan McElroy and I will NOT be running your race anytime soon!

And my suggestion to all those duly qualified runners that will inevitably be left out on the 2012 Boston Marathon?

Organize yourselves. Revolutions have occurred in the history of this race. Google Kathrine Switzer if you don't know. Wouldn't it be funny to see a huge group (I'm talking thousands) of runners that have all qualified for Boston, but were denied their registration, to bandit run the race*??? That would be total mayhem.

Just something to think about.

*TallGuySurfing does not condone or support that act of bandit running.


  1. I love the idea of thousands of runners who have BQed to run bandit. Why not!

  2. hey-Elizabeth Hasselbeck thinks its a good idea to bandit Boston. Maybe she could organize it :)

    (RW reference from last month)

  3. Haha... she seems to want to "help out" so much, but not actually qualify or run marathons. She'd be perfect for the job!

  4. Well said big guy - easiest way to stick it to the man is don't go but I also understand that Jenny wan't to do it - it's always a pain in the ass when any organisation "moves the goalposts" on you.

    Good luck!!

  5. Great post. I, too, will never qualify for Boston and don't really have the desire too, but I agree that their 'solution' doesn't seem to do it. It is interesting how big the sport is growing and how many races are filling up. Perhaps we should start our own race series!