They say “we are born runners”. Well… can you please ask a runner immediately after a race how much of the running is left in them? The answers may vary depending on that race’s performance. But one thing you will hear runners checking post race is “Have you BQed?”
A rich history of 125 years, a course that presents a lifetime experience of running, a qualification that is very aspirational, and the amazing crowd support through the course is what makes the Boston Marathon so special. No wonder qualifying for Boston Marathon is every recreational runners’ dream. Over the last few years, quite a few in the Indian running community achieved the coveted Boston Qualification (BQ).
As with our tradition at Geeks on Feet, we have crunched the numbers of Boston Marathon finishers from India. We got hold of the data from the year 2001 till 2019. 2020 Boston marathon was canceled for the first time in the history of the Race due to the COVID pandemic.
There are a total of 126 finishes from India, out of which 95 are from Men, and 31 are from women.
We have asked few fininshers about their race day experience (arranged in alphabetical order).
The Boston Marathon 2019 is special to me for so many reasons. Firstly, it is the first marathon in which I ran the last 10K with my heart and purely for the medal. Secondly, it is my PB race so far. Thirdly, the weather was extremely challenging. Roads leading to the holding grounds( Hopkinton) were quite waterlogged. It was cold, windy, and raining and it was the first time when I would be running a marathon wearing a raincoat. The course is packed with extremely skilled and fast runners and there is no scope to slow down. The road is also very narrow and the crowd support is euphoric. It took all of me to complete the entire distance. I did resort to many walking breaks on Heartbreak Hill and after that also but in the end, I can sincerely say I enjoyed and cherished every moment of the race.
Heading out to the world’s oldest and most prestigious marathon, I had a deep desire to deliver something special. What followed after the flag off was an extraordinary experience in all senses - challenging course with heart-breaking hills, unpredictable weather, wet and shivering start, shedding layers of clothing as things cleared up, electrifying crowds all along. The dread of the Heartbreak Hill loomed large on the Boston Marathon course. Miles of anxiety for the runners as well as the people following this race back home. Strangely enough, I now seem to be longing for that dreadful feeling again.
Boston Marathon. Lots of fond memories from a challenging course, a strong field of runners, the unpredictable weather, and a city that wholeheartedly supports the event. Definitely, a race that any runner of repute should do at least once. Trust me, it’s worth the sacrifices and the investment as you will experience a world-class race that will remain long in your memory. This race should definitely be on your bucket list. But be warned, it lures you to return again & again.
I ran as a Guide for visually impaired runner Erich Manser. The tough ascents and mercurial weather did not seem to affect Erich at all. On the other hand, the steep ascents were difficult for me, but Erich motivated me to overcome the challenges, and later when Erich encountered fatigue, it was my turn to encourage him. With a good mutual pace, we pulled through, chatting and cracking jokes the whole way. Towards the end, we were able to pick up our pace, boosted by the crowd’s and fellow runners’ support. My family and friends from India cheering close to the finish line made crossing it an easy but emotional ending. In my years of running and training, there have been numerous stories to tell, but none of them can beat my experience at the Boston Marathon. Inspired by Erich’s story, I would like to end with the same thought: “Kindness is a very powerful thing. Though we are from very different places, we will now be forever joined by kindness.”
Boston Marathon 2018, fighting with the bitter cold at the start line & completing the race was a test of human endurance. The wind and the rain was so bad that I actually felt like I was running in the same place and not moving forward. The last mile felt like a marathon in itself. Even though I can see the finish line, strong winds kept pushing me away!
Unlike many who could write mile-by-mile accounts of how the race went, I don’t have much to write for the race. I was focused on running - starting conservative, dealing with declines and inclines one at a time, keeping pace as my training dictated, and pretty much the same till Newton. The challenge started with the Newton hills - progressively each hill became tougher. Heartbreak hill felt forever. My quads were complaining and I was dragging my feet. I couldn’t take advantage of the downhills last 10K. But Boston crowds are just so amazing - I derived all my energy from them as I dug deep. Marathon distance needs commitment and there is great satisfaction when things went as per the plan in training and in races.
I’ve run the Boston Marathon twice, 2018 and 2019. The allure of Boston is such that it makes you want to go back and toe the start line at Hopkinton. The 2018 edition was a memorable one. With probably the toughest weather conditions in its history, I finished the race. I came out stronger than what I believed I could be. The finish was both a humbling and proud moment. Hoping to toe the start line again in 2022.
Me running barefoot in the harsh cold winter was an eye turner for many of the runners. All through the route, from Start to Finish, we had the same number of runners around us. We would overtake a few, while there were an equal number of runners who would overtake us. There was always someone we would chat with. Most of them were inquiries about my Barefoot running. I took the race easy to enjoy the overall experience. In spite of the easy run, my legs were tired after around 37 Kms because of the course difficulty. After crossing the finish line, we pass through sections that offer Medals, then the heat sheet gear, then water / Gatorade, food items like Bagel, Protein Bars, and finally the goody bags. So different from what I had ever experienced before. I have never worn a medal or an event gear with so much pride.
It has been 4 years since I ran Boston, but it was one of those marathons which had a ring to it! Right from the day, I started running in 2012, I have always been told about how running Boston took you to a different pedestal in the running circuit! The whole concept of qualifying and putting the two letters BQ seemed amazing…Yes, the heartbreak hill was certainly tough coming at a certain point in the race. The other high point of the race was of course the Wellesley scream tunnel and getting out of it with immense motivation!
The Boston Marathon 2021 starts at Monday Oct 11, 8:00 am local time (5:30 pm IST).
Prepared by Team GeeksOnFeet for the love of running
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