There is only one word to describe what happened at the 115th edition of the Boston Marathon which was held last Monday—Unbelievable!
For the past years, I was not interested in trying to monitor what is happening “live” during the race due to the fact that the elite runners were not so much known to me as most of them were from East Africa—Kenya and Ethiopia. After Toshihiko Sato of Japan won the race in 1987 for the 2nd time, the succeeding years up to now had been won by either from Kenya or Ethiopia, except in 1990 when it was won by Gelindo Bordin of Italy and in 2001 when Lee Bong-ju of South Korea won the race. On the women’s division, after Rosa Mota of Portugal won the race in 1990, those elite runners from Poland, Germany, Russia, and of course, Kenya & Ethiopia did not “ring” a bell in my ears. It could be that the winners’ names were hard to memorize or it could be my non-interest then of running because my sensitive assignments or it could be that I did not mind updating myself on what was happening in the running world’s events by not subscribing or buying the latest editions then of the popular running magazines.
But what caught my attention again in this year’s edition of the Boston Marathon was the fact that Ryan Hall and Kara Goucher of the USA had been featured in the runners’ magazines and other running news of their desire to win in the said race. Of course, who would not be excited to see an American/US citizen who will win this year’s edition when the last American winner (Greg Meyer) was in 1983 (almost 3 decades ago). And this is the reason why there is a lot of euphoria and expectations on the result of this year’s edition as being played by the press releases, articles published in running magazines, and other media pronouncements.
But the results in last Monday’s race proved that the Kenyans would steal the show from the rest of the elite runners. Geoffrey Mutai of Kenya won the race in the fastest ever recorded Marathon Finish of 2:03:02 hours. In the Ladies Division, Catherine Kilel of Kenya won the Championship with a time of 2:22:36 hours. Geoffrey Mutai and Moses Mosop are definitely the fastest marathoners whose times were faster than the existing record time of 2:03:59 hours by Haile Gebrselassie at the 2008 Berlin Marathon. Whether Mutai’s time was not considered as an official Marathon World Record, it is considered as a New Course Record for the Boston Marathon. In my opinion, Mutai will not be affected with such decision as he is more interested in cashing in the Cash Prize he received for his efforts. A cash prize of $ 200,000 is a lot of money for a Kenyan runner!
Ryan Hall, Desiree Davila and Kara Goucher of the USA had also unbelievable results in their efforts where each of them improved their respective PRs. But there was another unbelievable show during the race which was 53-year old Joan Benoit Samuelson’s finish time of 2:51:29 hours making her the record holder for the fastest finish time in the ladies age group of 50-54 years old.
Lastly, the most unbelievable of them all is the decision of the BAA last February of this year to reduce the qualifying time for each age category for the Boston Marathon by 5 minutes. This means that I have to finish a marathon race in 3:55:00 hours by next year (as I will turn to be a 60-year old!) if I need to include joining the Boston Marathon in my “bucket list”. At this point in time, a decision to join or qualify for the Boston Marathon in the future will entail a lot of focus, patience, determination, and resources. There is a need to completely dedicate my time in this life-defining quest for excellence in running.
But, for the Bald Runner to finish the Boston Marathon that would definitely be…UNBELIEVABLE!!!!
For 2013, these are the new qualifying times for the Boston Marathon