My 2020 Boston Qualifier

by Steve Lafler

I had a pretty good run at the Empire Runners Lake Ilsanjo Run in 2018 and was looking forward to returning in 2020, but my wish to run a Bostom Marathon qualifier got in the way this year.

I got my BQ March 1 at the Napa Valley Marathon – 3:33:29 chip time (needed 3:50, male age 60 – 64 to qualify for Boston).  I came fourth in my age group.  This is a dream come true for me.  I was going to run with the 3:40 group, but the pace leader stood there and clearly wasn’t paying attention when the race started!  Major fail. 

So I eased into my rhythm.  At two miles I noted the 3:35 pace group about 100m ahead, and kept my eye on them.  Around the 6 mile mark, a group of 6-7 runners formed and we discussed: “What the heck happened to the 3:40 pace leader?!”  I made a plan with three other runners to gradually catch up to the 3:35 group.

Feeling good after a water station, I floated away from the chase pack and caught the 3:35 pace group at 13 miles.  The groove, the cohesion of this new pack was fantastic with 10-12 runners locked in.  I had good stretches and not-so-good-stretches, but kept a positive attitude.  Taking Gatorade at aid stations and an energy gel every five miles stoked my engine.

I strode in front of our 3:35 group after a drink station with 3 miles to go, feeling good, and threw it down.  With two miles to go, I dueled with a woman who had also broken away from the pack.  She wouldn’t let me draw even with her, then I felt an uncanny lift in my stride – this is the return on all those tempo runs, all those long runs, a sudden burst of effortless pace that took me away from a tough competitor!

Haha, the last mile was dicey as heck but I kicked myself in the butt to keep it rolling. 

See you at the Boston Marathon in April 2021!

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