You Gotta Earn it!

(Subtitled: The BAA is Such a Tease)

The 114th running of the Boston Marathon is so close, but yet so far away. According to the web widget running on my site, the race is a mere 48 days, 9 hours, 26 minutes and 46 seconds away.

For those registered to run in the race, you’ve received the same emails I have and for the most part they are quite motivating; everything from pre-sale on the apparel, health tips, and the Boston Running Fitness Examiner’s Ben Haber. Ben chronicles “Faces of the 2010 Boston Marathon” who’s profiling the anti-elite runners that are running the race.

Ben's article last week profiled Vanessa Van Dongen who likens Boston to “running mecca” vs. my description of “running Nirvana.” A great read and uncanny in the comparison to my story; for both of us Boston will be a first, she qualified in her fifth in Chicago…I was two minutes short in Chicago, but qualified in my fourth a year later in Sacramento after re-hab’ing a stress fracture.

The stories are quite motivating particularly as we get closer to Nirvana. What I can’t figure out is the emails I keep getting that’s advertising all of the Boston paraphernalia. Don’t get me wrong…I’m ordering EVERYTHING when I get there…jacket, shirt, magnet, coffee mug, hat, mouse pad, bumper sticker, pennant, and bobble head doll if they sell them.

Something about the timing that rubs me the wrong way.

So what am I supposed to do, order online and stare at this stuff for another seven weeks? The Adidas Ad touts, “Run Boston Better.” The issue is that you can’t wear it until you’ve earned it. Talk about a SI Cover photo jinx…what would happen if you wore that jacket before the race…I can’t even go there. An informal poll with my running group all agree.

It reminds me of a story (true confession time) when I was a kid in grade school and we’d gone skiing at Winter Park in Colorado. It was a real “badge of honor” to show up to school on Monday with a lift ticket (they had the wire brackets back then) on your Gerry down ski jacket. The issue was I attached the un-removable lift ticket to my ski pants. My mom, being the trooper she is, delicately removed a sibling’s lift ticket and re-attached it to my jacket Sunday night so I could walk in “like a peacock” on Monday. Problem was, I was a small lad years before hitting the adult lift ticket age and I was promptly “busted” by one of the older students. A proud moment turned into a major embarrassment.

In modern sports (football, basketball, hockey, etc.,) the cardinal sin is premature celebrating—even though they had Super Bowl winner caps printed up for both the Colts and Saints, you don’t see them wear them until AFTER the game is over (what do they do with the boxes of Colts Super Bowl champs caps anyway?)

My point is, quit teasing me because I won’t buy the goods until I hit the expo and I won’t wear that jacket until I’ve earned it—after the race.

The 114th running of the Boston Marathon is now 47 days, 14 hours, 23 minutes and 38 seconds away.


  1. I'm mostly with you on this -- there's definitely NO WAY I'll buy any of the gear pre-race. Very bad karma, mojo, luck, whatever! Instead of being frustrated and teased by the emails, I've chosen to let them give me motivation. I've picked out what I'm going to get (basically one of everything, two of some things. LOL), then I picture myself wearing them the tech shirt later in the summer during group runs; the jacket next fall on the train ride to work (like the guy I've been jealously worshipping for the past 3 years).

    We worked hard to earn our berth, and we've worked hard to not embarrass ourselves in (now) 47 days. In 48 days, we relish in the glory of accomplishment!

    Good luck to you!

  2. Great article (and thanks for the shout out!). I completely agree with you about the merchandise emails that we’ve been receiving. I’m planning on buying one of the Boston marathon jackets ahead of time because of that great Marathon Sports coupon that comes with every newsletter, but there is no way I’ll wear the jacket (or even take it out of the bag) until I’ve crossed the finish line. I guess it is all just part of the excitement and anticipation to get us ready for the big day, which is now just 6 weeks away!

  3. I agree with Ben.

    I am planning on buying my jacket ahead of time because of the coupon from Marathon sports and because (excuse grammar) I am not excited about waiting in a potential line to purchase said merchandise.

    I will NOT be taking my celebration jacket out of the bag until I have actually crossed the finish line...correction until I have actually crossed the finish line after running 26.2 miles from Hopkinton to get there.

    Good luck with the rest of your training!


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