Whether you’re an elite runner, recreational runner, or whether you fall somewhere in between, participating in races can bring you a lot of joy and self-fulfillment. Everyone has a pace, everyone has their own running story, and absolutely everyone has their own personal reasons for wanting to run a race.
- Is it to PR (achieve a personal record)?
- s it to simply finish?
- Perhaps it’s your first time doing a particular distance and you’re on track to finish and PR
- Maybe you’re curious about a historical race and want to take part and create your own memories--
- Maybe you’ve been ill, and this race is a celebration of your wellness?
Or maybe you simply like to race, be on cool course with other folks running, feeling your heart rate rise and fall as you make your way through mile after mile, hill upon hill, aid station to aid station?
Some races have notoriously difficult entry standards, and others do not. But even the ones that are difficult to enter, such as the Boston Marathon or California International Marathon, have created ways of participation by the masses that do not require a time-standard qualification.
In Boston there are three different ways to run the race. You can run a race that is a Boston Qualifier, you can run with a charity bib, or you can run with one of the sponsors’ allocated bibs. Hyland’s, for example, is the Official Cramp Relief Sponsor of the marathon, and this comes with a limited number of bibs for the sponsor to formulate their own team.
In 2018, Hyland’s pulled together an eclectic and inspiring team of Teachers who all had different stories of how they came to running, why they run, and what their particular goals for the race were. Every single one of these educators finished their own race in pretty tough conditions, at their own paces. In 2019, the team was filled with all types of Healers, from doctors to nurses to therapists and prosthetists who finished the race on another difficult weather day, all at their own pace.
In both scenarios, each team member trained for months towards their own goals. They worked hard, many with the help of Hylands’ incredible superstar coach, Mike Ehredt. All had the goal of finishing, and some even wanted to PR and qualify for the next Boston Marathon. Yet others wanted to prove to themselves that they too could train for and finish Boston. And they did.
Every single person’s goal, training, desire to do Boston, opportunity to do Boston, and finish, are all worthy, even if there are folks who don’t agree. Whether or not they got to do Boston qualifying with a standard, all of them are worthy humans, worthy runners, and worthy of sharing that storied Boylston Street finish amongst the elite.
Running a slower pace than your age-qualifying standard, with a charity bib, or as part of a sponsor’s team does not make you a lesser runner, or a less-serious marathoner. And it definitely does not disqualify you from participating in a tough race. What is does make you is, a runner who continually tests themselves and wins their own race despite what anyone thinks.