A Primer on Boston Marathon Qualifications

2020 BOSTON MARATHON OPEN DIVISION QUALIFYING STANDARDS (Effective Saturday, September 15, 2018)

All standards below are based on official submitted net time.

18-34 3hrs 00min 00sec 3hrs 30min 00sec
35-39 3hrs 05min 00sec 3hrs 35min 00sec
40-44 3hrs 10min 00sec 3hrs 40min 00sec
45-49 3hrs 20min 00sec 3hrs 50min 00sec
50-54 3hrs 25min 00sec 3hrs 55min 00sec
55-59 3hrs 35min 00sec 4hrs 05min 00sec
60-64 3hrs 50min 00sec 4hrs 20min 00sec
65-69 4hrs 05min 00sec 4hrs 35min 00sec
70-74 4hrs 20min 00sec 4hrs 50min 00sec
75-79 4hrs 35min 00sec 5hrs 05min 00sec
80 and over 4hrs 50min 00sec 5hrs 20min 00sec

Qualifying for the Boston Marathon used to be a gold standard for many marathoners. However qualifying does not equal running the marathon. To have a shot at running in the Boston, one needs to beat the qualifying standards by 5 minutes.

In fact, more the better due to the rolling admission policy implemented in 2012.  This rolling admission was necessitated by the increasing number of qualified applicants in recent years and the limited field size for the marathon.

By rolling admission, the BAA opens the registration first to applicants who beat their qualification standards by 20 minutes.  Then by 10 minutes, 5 minutes in that order.  And  to all qualifiers if slots still available.

What do you think about the Boston Marathon’s rolling admission?


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My Post Erie Marathon Recovery

Sunday a week ago I ran the Erie Marathon.  Now, my body feels pretty much back to normal. While not ready for another marathon, I have recovered enough that most of my aches and pains are gone.

My body is in fact in its top shape.  Marathon fit.  I crash to bed with no difficulty of falling asleep and enjoy no restriction in my diet. From past experience, this euphoric feeling will last me 6 to 8 weeks.

Mentally, I am taking a sabbatical from marathon. My psychic space needs time to reset. I suppose until I figured out the cause of my “dead” leg syndrome, I am not eager to jump back in.

Meanwhile, I am keeping my legs loose by gentle jogging, not hard, nor long. A few miles at the most. Nothing exhaustive.  Quite a contrast comparing to my marathon training heyday. 

How do fit and healthy feel to you?

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Week In Review – 15 Sep 2019

“The future . . . flattens out into a perpetual present,” wrote Dr. Paul Kalanithi. And “the future is built by us . . .and what we do in the present moment,” said Brother Phap Dung. How intriguing that life comes to a full circle.

No need to force but seize the moment and give it your best.  Reflecting on that spirit, I am puzzled still on what happened to me during my Erie marathon.  What did I do wrong?  A topic I surely will be meditating for a while.

This week also marks the 18th anniversary of the terrorist attack on American soil.  Life has lost, changed, and may be forgotten.  Used to be able to walk family member to or from the gate at the airport.  A fact that post 9/11 generations never know.

Is it a value-added? I wonder.

Have a nice week!

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Prerequisite For “Value-added”

Every business wants to be value added. Be it in products, services, or both. But a prerequisite of being value added is to understand what the customers want. Not what the business wants. This is easier said than done.

Market competition also drives businesses to the imperative of satisfying their customers in order to survive. But not every entity is successful in meeting this business golden rule.

To wit, 20 percent small business fail within the first year, 50 percent by the end of fifth year, and majority (70 percent) after 10 years (source). In other words, being value-added is common knowledge but not common practice.

Why is it then so difficult to understand the customer?  You may wonder.  The answer is “not difficult” if customers’ data are readily available.  Data like demographic, buying behavior, preference, pricing sensitivity, etc. contribute to  customer profiles which in turn can be analyzed for patterns and insights.

In fact, detail data about the customers are being collected by offers (think free apps & discounts) and sensors (think mobile phones & coupons). Companies like Google, Facebook, and Verizon are serving as data brokers and profiting by monetizing the data.   

Therefore to be value-added, it is imperative to focus on the customers and what they want.  The responsibility of asking the questions and getting the answers is up to each business entity and their understanding of their customers.

What is more important: quality or quantity of customer data?


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Meditation & Patience

When meditating, my patience gets tested. I know it’s the wrong thing to say. One is supposed to immerse in the here and now. The whole process should be a breeze. Right? Not for me.

One hour is my meditation goal (I started at 10 minutes & worked myself up little by little). Usually the first half session works smoothly as I get my posture, breath, and mind in gear. The second half is a different story. Everything starts to test my patience.

My body starts to slump, my breath gets lost by other thoughts, and my mind bounces all over the places. I can’t wait for the hour-timer to sound & release me.

“Patience” I say to myself, “my back hurts” my body fidgets;

“Patience” I say to myself, “one-two-three” my breath labors to keep going;

“Patience” I say to myself, “when will this end” my mind rebels for reasons to quit.

But in spite of all the drama during meditation session, I rather deal with them in my private practice where I have a chance to improve than let them all hang out in front of others.

What tips would you suggest to cultivate patience?


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No “Right” Way

Claims on possessing of the “right” ways are copious.  Bookstore shelves are filled with  them.  Self help, business potential, investment strategy, leadership, etc.  You name it, and they have it.  But truth be told – there is no “right” way.  What counts is whatever works for you.

In other words, the right way is only right if they are relevant and beneficial to you. 

However, profit incentives, prescriptive cultures, and other ulterior motives abound. They  are not align with our interests but would try to convince us that they are the right way.  The question is are they?  Or do you have the integrity to be self deterministic?

Remember there is no expert smarter about you than you.  Ultimately we are responsible for ourselves and not others.  So, if anything, Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” applies.

What is your way?  Are you satisfied with it?

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September 11th -18 Years Later

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September 11, 2001 changed our life. Eighteen years later, my tears still welt up from listening to the National Public Radio’s interviews of eyewitness accounts on what happened during that fateful day.

The terrorist attacks on American soil were unprecedented.  And the scars they inflicted on our collective psychics pain even to this date.  Just look at the long lines at airport security, political debates about whether Muslims are welcomed, and a host of mass shootings.  They remind us of that fateful day. 

I was across the river from the Pentagon on that day and saw the smokes from the building.  The hijacked American Airlines Flight 77 slammed into the Pentagon, the symbol of our national strength.   I couldn’t move nor go anywhere.  We were in a lock-down. 

No one knew if there were more attacks. 

How has the September 11 impacted you?

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The Future Is Now

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Whether the glass is half full or half empty, the reality is the same – the future is now. 

Paul Kalanithi, author of When Breath Becomes Air, wrote ” Most ambitions are either achieved or abandoned; either way, they belong to the past. The future, instead of the ladder toward the goals of life, flattens out into a perpetual present.”

Brother Phap Dung, a monk & senior disciple to Thich Nhat Hanh, said, “The future is built with  the present moment . . . The future is not something that will come to us; the future is built by us, by how we speak and what we do in the present moment.”

Prior to Erie Marathon this past Sunday, I was reading the When Breath Becomes Air and meditating to keep my mind off the race and any pre-race jitters. Kalanithi’s words reminded me of our mortality and sparing future disappointment and Dung’s words to mean proactive starts with mindfulness of the present.

These words helped me finishing the marathon instead of quitting it.

Do you get bogged down by the past or the future?


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My Incredulous 2019 Erie Marathon

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There I was in Erie, PA, a perfect weather for marathon (62 degree), a perfect course (flat with water station every mile), and a perfect opportunity for repeat performance (my second time). What could be better?

I felt ready. Everything was falling into place: My training had been going well. Tested my racing strategy at trial race and executed it flawlessly. Carbo-loaded to my eyeballs. Confidence galore and ready to go.

Half way through the race, my legs went dead on me. Like deflated tires on a car cruising down the highway, my pace was going slower and slower. I surged mile 14 to try to jump start my legs. My pace came back but went straight south after that.

I struggled to finish the race – a thought I had not experienced for a long time nor expected on such a perfect race day. The last five miles of the marathon was the hardest.  My splits were showing my easy pace although I was feeling the opposite.

My finishing time of 3:48:50 was 14 minutes slower than my last year’s and a far cry from a repeat performance. It will take me some time to figure out the cause of what happened. But at least for now the marathon is over.

Have you ever experienced the “dead” legs syndrome?

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Week In Review – 8 Sep 2019

2019 Erie Marathon is now in the book! My time is  03:48:50.  I will have more about the race after I analyze my splits.  For now, I am glad it’s over. 

Every year, I spend 20 weeks in training for marathon.  Some thinks it’s a sacrifice.  Nay, I say it’s an investment.  I run for my health.  And my effort is well worth it. 

Granted this past week is unusual because of my carbohydrate loading.  Two buffets in one week is bit much, I admit. But it is behind me.  Done.

With that said, I transition into off season.   Time to take up the projects and honey-do list.  Who knows perhaps more on the Washington politics.  It keeps me up at night at times.

Have a nice week!

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