Quest to Qualify Series: Brian

For many runners, qualifying for the Boston Marathon is the pinnacle of their running careers. Some are talented enough to nab a qualification on their first marathon attempt, while most work for years to finally run a qualifying time. And qualifying is not always enough. With Boston Athletic Association’s already tough standards, in recent years a cut off time was put into place due to a higher volume of qualifiers, causing qualified runners to lose a spot.

The Rogue Racers Quest to Qualify Series will tell the story of each of the Rogue founders’ journey to their first Boston Qualifier. In this, hopefully you will find inspiration and motivation to keep pushing and keep improving.

Brian

brian boston
I first started thinking about qualifying for Boston way back in 2009. I had just completed my second marathon in San Diego, dropping my PR by 20 minutes. While I was still another 20 minutes away from a qualifier, the idea was there and I started planning.

Initially I targeted my hometown race, the Rock and Roll Arizona Marathon in January 2010 for my first attempt. At the time we were living in Phoenix and I wanted a race that would allow for the majority of training to take place during the winter months. I had decided to switch my training plan to follow the Hansons Marathon Method after reading positive reviews. Despite strong training and very vocal support throughout the course, I bonked around mile 21 and finished in 3:25, another 10-minute PR but still 10 minutes short of my goal.

Attempt #2 would not be for another 21 months in October 2011. A move from Arizona to California impacted my training too greatly and although I did run a marathon in-between, it was not a real BQ attempt. Attempt #2 however was a serious attempt and training was strong with much cooler summer temps and many wonderful runs along the Pacific Coast. All pointed to a strong chance until the BAA pulled the rug from under me, and adjusted qualifying times! I had trained all summer for a 3:15 qualifier and now had to find another 5 minutes with just weeks to go… It wasn’t to be, I ran the race I wanted and finished another 10-minute PR in 3:14, a BQ any other year but also not since 2011! I needed to find another 5 minutes!

With attempt #3 I took a different approach. Having seen qualifying standards lowered, and also that simply qualifying wasn’t enough anymore; you needed to have a buffer, a 3:10 wouldn’t cut it. Sticking with the Hansons plan I targeted another leap forward; 3:05 at the Los Angeles 2012 Marathon in just 5 months time. Starting with a strong base, my training was solid, pace picked up on my long runs and I navigated the training injury free. For this race my original running partner from New York flew out to run also, although we’d never see each other during the race, having companionship at the start was helpful.

Building up to the race, the forecast was horrendous; torrential rain and strong head winds. The weather was so bad that the outdoor expo was packing up early Saturday as it was unbearable. It seemed all my hard work would be wasted. Miraculously we somehow got a break in the weather for a precious 4 hours; enough to not freeze at the start and also run the race of my life.LA is a winding and deceptively hilly course but, with the break in weather and strong training I was able to hold pace with the 3:05 group until late in the race. Despite fading a little I secured my first BQ without any doubt with a 3:05:52 time, a solid 4:08 below my standard. I was finally going!

brian LA

And so began a story with my first Boston in 2013 which at time of writing is my first of five consecutive years running, the goal is ten for now, we’ll see after that!

Read about other Rogue Racers’ Quest to Qualify stories here.

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