A not ridiculous answer: You get to run the Boston Marathon?
Nope, that is not it. That is not what it means. Let me tell you a story of a happy, optimistic, English girl and her journey to her BQ and the situation she is currently in, still waiting to see if she can run this marathon.
So, about – almost exactly 2 years ago I was training with some lovely Americans for the 2017 Columbus Marathon. It was to be my second marathon and my goal was to “sub 4” – that is to run 26.2 miles in literally anything less than 4 hours. I’d have been happy with that anything being 1 second. My training was going well. On one run, a nice mate said “Jackie, what would you do if you BQ’d?” At that point I actually had no idea what that even was? Was it a latin abbreviation for “die on the course”?
Anyway, we worked it through, comprehension was met (BQ = Boston Qualify) and my answer was this: Nothing. I wouldn’t do anything. I don’t want to run the Boston Marathon.
Cut forward to just after the Columbus Marathon where I did manage my sub 4 (3:58… yesssss) but didn’t BQ (that would then have been 3:55). Fine, I didn’t even want that so nur. But hey, got me thinking, 3:58 – 3:55… that’s minus 3 minutes right. BQ you say?
So, at that point me decides I want to BQ.
Still though, I am thinking I have no wish to run Boston, I just want to be able to say this BQ thing. I sign up for the 2018 Cincinnati Flying Pig. To cut a long story short, I get injured, defer and now dear reader we are at the 2019 Cincinnati Flying Pig, only now the BQ time has been SLASHED BRUTALLY to 3:50*. (GASP!) This is minus 8 minutes guys! But hey, I get no refund on this entry, it’s on, so come on BQ, bring it.
Cut forward to 5th May 2019. I run that Flying Pig. I do so in 3:47:44. Are you following reader? So, that is a personal best by 11 minutes 15 seconds. I’m winning at life. It’s 7 minutes 16 seconds faster than the 2018 BQ time and 2 minutes 16 faster than the current.
I swan around in this glory for a few hours, still claiming I don’t really want to run the Boston Marathon – that is until teatime when OF COURSE I FRICKIN’ WANT TO RUN IT. So “I” decide I’m gonna. (Poignant commas around I).
Cut forward to the next morning when my mate (the same one as before incidentally), asks me when I’ll find out if my time gets me in.
“WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT!” I said and cursed a bit (a lot).
*If you are reading this mate, do you remember haha?
So, here I am, I get to my point. Qualifying for Boston is an abstract concept. It exists as an exclusive statement but it DOES NOT equate to getting to run it.
In brief, the process is that around 30,000 (tbc) people can run this event and that is fixed. Here is how it works. (In a nutshell, anything less than BQ minus 5 minutes can’t apply until the second week of applications and it is not guaranteed).
And so, it’s fair enough. I just wish I had known. Today I ran with some awesome, lovely friends, who said, whatever happens Jackie, you will always have a BQ. And that is true. Proud of myself I am (talking like Yoda now). It’s all good.
EXCEPT ITS NOT! I WANT A YELLOW AND BLUE TOP WITH A F*&%ING UNICORN ON IT . (and a jacket, and 4 other tops and shorts and everything that is made). (Laughs maniacally, then cries, then goes back to waiting till 10am Monday, American time)
Watch this space.
And send positive vibes.