The 114th running of the prestigious Boston marathon took place Monday, and Kenyan Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot blew away the previous course record of 2:07:14 by breaking the tape at 2:05:52. Although Americans Meb Keflezighi and Ryan Hall didn't succeed in a podium finish, Hall did run Boston faster than any other American has in 2:08:41. Hall placed 4th with Meb behind him in 5th.
Most of us can only dream of running 26.2 miles at a pace faster than 5-minute miles, and some runners still dream about qualifying for the storied Boston marathon, a feat only 10% of all marathoners manage to accomplish.
Luckily for Baltimore runners still aspiring to qualify for Boston, most of the fastest qualifying marathons are on the east coast. Here is a list of the marathons which yielded the highest percentage of Boston qualifying times for 2009 (Boston itself is always the #1 qualifier; in 2009 43% of Boston's runners re-qualified). Sign up, train, and go for it:
Mohawk-Hudson River Marathon (Schenectady, NY) October 10, 2010 (34.9% qualified)
Bay State Marathon (Lowell, MA) October 17, 2010 (33.5% qualified)
Road2Hope Hamilton Marathon (Hamilton, ON) November 7, 2010 (33.5% qualified)
Pocono Mountain Run for the Red Marathon (Pocono Mtns, PA) May 16, 2010 (30% qualified)
Steamtown Marathon (Scranton, PA) October 10, 2010 (28.1% qualified)
What the above fast marathons have in common is a flat or downhill course coupled with a smaller field of runners. Those struggling to qualify should stay away from the big marathons with 20,000+ runners, as it can be very challenging to navigate through the sea of other runners. For other courses, consult MarathonGuide.com.
Whatever course you choose, if at first you don't succeed, try, try again. You can do it!