How I got into Boston Marathon

Written by
2015 Boston Marathon Medal

With the 2017 Boston Marathon taking place this coming Monday (April 17), I am writing a few posts about my personal experience with the race.  In the first post, my story about qualifying, but being rejected. I have nothing but Love for Boston, this is my 2nd story:

In January 2015, I had started to train for the Illinois Marathon after being rejected from Boston.  It did not matter to me that I was not training for the dream race, but rather a second choice. As long as I was running, that all that mattered.  During this time, I was employed with Clif Bar at their headquarters. Although Clif Bar is a well known brand in the USA, it was a small company at that time.  Because Clif Bar was a small company, I knew most of the people who worked there.

When exciting new is expected to happen, sometimes there are quiet rumblings among the employees. One of the rumors was that Clif Bar was going to enter into a sponsorship with Boston Marathon.  The previous company that sponsored the race was no longer participating & Boston was seeking a new partner.  To make a long story short – Clif Bar became that sponsor!

Given the timing, what was not clear in the rumors was when the sponsorship was going to start…we soon discovered that Clif Bar & Boston Marathon entered into the agreement around January 2015, while the race taking place in April.  Having only 3-4 months is a very short amount of time for the parties to plan all the logistics that come along with sponsorship. Due of the dedication of hard working individuals, the agreement was to start right away for the 2015 race.

Part of the sponsorship agreement – Clif Bar was able to secure entries to participate!

The Contest

Boston Acceptence

Accepted – Better late than never!

With a few entries available, the Clif marketing team decided to organize giveaways to both the employees and the general public.  One of the giveaways was specifically for those runners in my situation – qualified for the race, but rejected for the race.  Of course I entered into the drawing! It entailed writing a few sentences about why I wanted to run. A couple weeks later, I was notified that I would be running Boston Marathon!!!

  • Yes – I was a bit lucky that my employer sponsored the race on short notice.
  • Yes – I was a bit lucky that my employer was generous to offer entries into the race.
  • No – I did not feel bad that I was one of those people who took an entry away from somebody who qualified. I also qualified (yet rejected) & the contest was specific to runners who were originally rejected.

Change of Plans

After receiving confirmation from the race that I was accepted, I had to change a few plans around:

  • Illinois Marathon: Luckily, this race was only 1 week after the Boston. This meant the slightest of alterations for the training plan. I still had intentions to participate in this race, but changed to a shorter distance…Illinois Marathon was gracious to allow me to downgrade into the half marathon distance. SPOILER ALERT – my legs were still trashed from Boston, I officially had a DNF (Did Not Finish) for the half race. The only DNF ever in my racing career!
  • Travel:  Logistically, a couple flights needed to be updated since I would be flying from San Francisco-Boston-Chicago-San Francisco (all within one week).  There was still enough time between the acceptance & race day, so the airfares were reasonable.  Also, I chose an Airbnb to keep costs down for the race.  Instead of staying in downtown Boston, I opted for a close by shared apartment in Cambridge.

Race Weekend


I have run Chicago Marathon three times and thought Chicago race was the best ever atmosphere.  While the crowd support is amazing during the Chicago race, the City of Boston celebrates the marathon all week long.  What makes Boston so great:

  • Pre-Race Expo: By far the largest & most crowded race I have attended.  For the entire time in the expo hall, the place was just packed everywhere.  With all the positive energy, it was difficult to stay relaxed before the big race.
  • Course: A couple highlights are
 Boston Marathon Highlights

2015 Boston Marathon Highlights

During the 2015 race, the weather conditions were not quite ideal for a personal record.  Throughout the race, weather was rainy, windy, & cold.  With my training at home (Oakland, California), the weather was dry and mild throughout winter. I definitely was not prepared for the less than ideal conditions on race day.

Despite the weather challenges, I was able to complete the race in 3:17:58 (7:33 minute/mile pace).  Given the conditions,  I was satisfied with the outcome.

Looking back – I learned a lot about the journey getting to race day.  Plans did not originally take place as I wanted, but I adjusted and moved on.  By luck, those plans eventually fell into place.  When race day arrived, it was not the ideal conditions, yet the race takes place anyways.  I could not let these external factors limit or stop me from what I wanted to do. Ultimately – it is up to only me to decide what is going to stop me, or move me forward.

For those runners in Boston today & in the future – good luck & enjoy the ride!

Make Today > Yesterday


Article Categories:

Comments are closed.