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Can You Top This?
by David Panza

December 2, 2001 - This saga falls under the "It could only happen to me" category. You will all recall my article on the Philadelphia Marathon, where I reported sadly that I had missed the cut for the Boston Marathon. I had run a net time of 3:24:09, and males 40-44 needed to run 3:20 or below. For nine days I told anyone who would listen my sad tale.

Finally, a fellow marathoner at work suggested the age determination might be the date of the 2002 Boston Marathon, not the day of my race. After some research, I discovered he was right. Next year, I turn 45, and the time requirement for males 45-49 is 3:25 or better, which I beat. Are you ready? The Boston Marathon is April 15, and I turn 45 the very next day!!! So technically I'm still 44 on Race Day 2002. My joke has since been, "I didn't miss by 4 minutes, but by one day" !!

The Boston Marathon is always held on the third Monday of April (Patriot's Day). Thus, it can never be held before April 15 or after April 21. Had the race fallen on any of the other 6 days, I'm in. But it happens to be April 15 next year. I've spoken to a few people affiliated with the race, and am not hopeful yet based on their response, but they suggested I write to the Registration folks and appeal. I guess I'll use humor, wit or charm along with a copy of my birth certificate.

I know, I said I wouldn't run another marathon, but it IS Boston after all. What I should have written is that I will never run another marathon at full tilt after only limited training (especially after 9/11), as I did this year. Jogging the course with a blind runner, or going all out after careful and thorough training makes sense to me, but not what I attempted to do 11 days ago.

So, I'll write my essay. The problem I foresee is that they're limiting entries to 15,000 in 2002 after a turnout of over 15,000 in 2001. If demand exceeds supply, I won't and shouldn't be allowed in, as tough a break as that would be. Wish me luck, gang!!