1,000 Finish Lines Crossed

When one starts entering and then competing in events, the goal is typically to run and enjoy and if the talent is there, to compete.

I never set a goal of running 1,000 events, that just happened. But as I approached that milestone, I had to plan on where I wanted that momentous occasion to occur.

I chose the Boston Marathon, the granddaddy of marathons, heaped with tradition and a race that has become so much more, to me, than just a marathon, to cross my 1,000th finish line.

It was not on my radar screen when I started running in 1980. In fact, by the time I entered my first race, the Mayfair Marathon, I really did not know much about Boston. I had never run with anyone until I did that first race. After 26.2 miles, I learned quite a bit about Boston and the need to run a Boston Qualifier, now simply called a B.Q.

When I finally met the qualifying standard, of 2:50:59, with a 2:50:23, I was not satisfied as I had not broken 2:50. I had to go under it!

When I finally reached the mark at Grandma’s Marathon, with a 2:49:12, I felt there was more in the tank. I went for a time that would become my PR, by finishing the Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon with a 2:38:47. Then at Boston in 1984 I ran a 2:44:16.

After that first Boston Marathon experience, I thought, well, check that one off. I did not return until 1996 and the 100th running. I ended up pacing Bill Rodgers to a 2:53. Even with that wonderful experience, I did not return until 2002 and then, again without a plan, in 2007, I began to run it yearly.

Each Boston Marathon I did, had something special to it, but I had not realized what that was until after the race in 2007. Two days after returning from Boston, my wife passed away in a house fire. My host family in 2007 invited me back and it was then I realized how special those finish lines and the experiences surrounding them had influenced me.

2015 was my ninth consecutive Boston Marathon and my eleventh crossing in those 9 years. Like I did in 2010, I returned to Hopkinton, to that famous Main Street start line and ran it again. Those second runnings with the race director, Dave McGillivray, and a few of his friends, who are now also my friends, have been really special.

Crossing 1,000 finish lines or crossing one finish line, is a personal choice. Choose what you do to get you to the finish line and keep you getting there and perhaps one day you too will be able to cross your 1,000th. See www.facebook.com/1000finishes for more!

See you in a few miles….roy

by roy pIrRUNg