The Boston Marathon is a big deal, to put it mildly. The Super Bowl of running represents the ultimate race–and unparalleled prestige–for endurance athletes.The inaugural Boston Marathon was held on April 19, 1894, the first Patriots’ Day, with a field of 15 runners. Now taking place every third Monday in April, the Patriots’ Day tie imbues the event with themes of liberty and purpose. For runners, its exclusivity makes the Boston Marathon the ultimate dream. After growing to over 1,000 participants, qualifying standards were put in place in 1970 by the Boston Athletic Association to reserve the honor of participation for only around 30,000 top runners each year.
The 2018 Boston Marathon and ACTIVE Connection
Here at ACTIVE, we have a special connection to the Boston Marathon through our valued relationship with Dave McGillivray, founder of DMSE Sports and longtime Boston Marathon Race Director. So, when our very own Aaron Trujillo, Manager of Marketing Analytics and Digital Platforms, qualified last year and ran the 122nd annual Boston Marathon last month, we cheered him on via live stream all the way.We were on the edge of our seats as he made his way from Hopkinton to Wellesley to Newton, climbing the infamous Heartbreak Hill and continuing on to Boston to reach the finish line in 2:57:34. Wow!Read on for the Boston Marathon experience in Aaron’s own words.
First, can you describe the rigorous qualification process?
“The Boston Marathon is unique in that almost all those who run the race must qualify with a time based on your age and gender. Also, since there are so many people wanting to run the race, the B.A.A. prioritizes based on the fastest of those times. So, qualifying only gives you the opportunity to register. Most years, you need to be three minutes faster than your qualifying time to actually be accepted.”
This was your first time running the marathon, but had you attended the event previously?
“No, I had only seen the Boston Marathon on television, and knew of it through its legacy. I run locally with a club, and a few of the runners ran it one year. Never in a million years would I have ever thought I would go one day.”
Any training tips? Your time was amazing!
“I typically run a 5K with my local club on Tuesdays and Thursdays, then I do speed training on Wednesdays and long runs on Saturday. Pretty standard stuff for runners. My typical go-to training food is brick oven pizza the day before a race or long run. Then, I love my post-run homemade pumpkin pancakes.”
Tell us about the pre-race communications and the famous expo.
“The B.A.A. has some of the best communication–each message was very timely. For example, the weather was not ideal on race day, so the B.A.A. sent several emails regarding how to prepare. The expo was huge, one of the biggest I have seen. It was literally standing room only, but you had to go to get your famous Boston Marathon Celebration jacket.”
Did you attend any other events leading up to race day?
“My wife ran the B.A.A. 5K, and later that day we went to a Red Sox Game. We had dinner at the oldest oyster house in the country before attending the Running USA Boston Marathon reception. I saw Dave McGillivray and some of the other B.A.A. organizers there, and it was great meeting with industry professionals as we all prepared for the event.”
How did the event honor the memory of the tragic events of 2013?
“This was the fifth year since the bombing, and there were several events including a wreath-laying service and a memorial at the location where the incident happened.”
Describe the scene on the morning of the race. Could you feel the energy in the air?
“It was raining and cold, so there was an anxious energy among the runners. I think each of us was wondering what the other would wear, and if we were underdressed or overdressed.”
What was the most challenging aspect of the race? How did you power through?
“The most challenging aspect was the start. We took a chartered bus to Athlete’s Village in Hopkinton, so we had a warm, dry place to wait for the start. Once we got out in the elements, though, that’s where things got real. The rain and mud were intense, and when you turned to the start you were blasted with the wind. When the race actually started and the waves started moving, my final layer came off and the cold rain hit. My only thought was, ‘Well, I guess this is happening!’”
Any surprises along the course?
“Marathons are always a blur for me. I try not to think too much or get too stressed out over the course. I was lucky to be running with a friend of mine who is a seasoned Boston Marathoner. He walked me through each section and the Newton hills. The biggest standout for me was the ‘Screaming Tunnel.’ I initially thought there were sirens going off ahead of us on the course, but when we got closer I realized that I was, in fact, hearing students from Wellesley College. Other than that, the crowds and support. Despite the weather, Boston really comes out for this event and it makes a difference.”
Did your wife have any interesting observations from the sidelines?
“She was in awe over the experience. She described the scene as Desiree Linden won the women’s division as being like if the Boston Red Sox had won the World Series. The crowd was shouting, ‘USA, USA, USA!’”
What was your first thought as you crossed the finish line?
“There’s a saying in running: Right on Hereford, left on Boylston. It describes the final two turns of the Boston Marathon. When I came to this section, I knew I was close. After I finished, I looked up and took it all in. Then I thought, ‘Where can I get warm?’”
How did you personally celebrate your awesome performance?
“All I wanted to do was have some good food. I ended up eating two dinners, including some delicious ice cream.”
We're so proud of Aaron's accomplishment at the historic Boston Marathon. It embodies The ACTIVE Network’s mission to make the world a more active place by connecting people to the things they love, want and need to do. Congratulations, Aaron!