Marathon Dreams

Posted: December 13, 2010 in Uncategorized

“We are different, in essence, from other people. If you want to win something, run 100 meters. If you want to experience something, run a marathon.”-Emil Zatopek,  Czech runner who won the Olympic gold medal in the 5,000, 10,000 and the Marathon in 1952

The start of the Marathon was moved from Ashland to Hopkinton in 1924.   You will certainly begin to appreciate the magnitude of what the small New England town will feel like on April 18, 2011 when we complete our 20 miler just 3 weeks prior to the Marathon!  As we arrive there will be excitement in the air as thousands of other runners, many of them charity runners, will be preparing and departing for their final text over some of the most challenging miles of the Boston course.

However, there is a seismic gap between what you experience the morning of the 20 miler and the morning of the actual start.  On April 18th the excitement level is beyond your imagination.  There will be helicopters hovering above the start when you arrive, you’ll likely proceed to the Athlete’s Village and attempt to calm your nerves before dropping the items you want at the finish line onto buses parked along the route to the start.  Volunteers will check your race number to ensure you’re entering the correct corral.

Once you enter the corral you’ll likely be a bundle of nerves.  You’ll connect with the runners next to you and undoubtedly feel their nervous energy.  Once you hear the national anthem and the fighter jets fly over, you know the start is just minutes away.  Take a deep breath and close your eyes for a moment and reflect on all the work that you’ve done to get to the start.  Most importantly, remind yourself that patience is a virtue and the importance of running conservatively the first few miles until you settle into a rhythm.

You will be so tempted to run too fast at the start because of the initial downhills and the seemingly endless flow of runners passing you.  Simply remind yourself that many of these runners will likely be walking on the hills of Newton from miles 17-21.  I have always felt the halfway point of the marathon is not at 13.1 miles but actually at mile 20.

You have a lot of work to do long before we ever arrive in Hopkinton but it’s important to look ahead nearly 5 months and begin to appreciate why you’re making so many changes and sacrifices in your life now when most of your friends, family, and colleagues are simply going about their normal lives.  When they are cheering you from the sidelines on Marathon Day you will need no other reminder of ‘why’ than the encouragement from the people who are most special to you and the tens of thousands of other spectators that dream of one day running the Boston Marathon!

Where It All Begins


  1. Erik says:

    Thanks for another great post, Coach. I appreciate the visual cues as part of our mental preparation for the race – normally I do that the night before a big run, but in this case I’m getting 5 months of preparation!

  2. Jeff Maher says:

    Coach- as an out of state runner with Jumpstart, I really appreciate the course description. While I can’t run with you weekly I plan to visualize as best I can running with you all.

  3. Jeff,

    I’m glad that you’re enjoying the course descriptions. I’ll be doing more of them so please continue to monitor my entries. Please let me know if there’s anything that I can help you with.

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