It's very rare that things on our bucket list "just happen", and that's what makes this story so awesome!
Most of you know I am a financial advisor with Edward Jones. In October I had the privilege of traveling to Boston to visit Hartford Mutual Funds and Wellington Management. A colleague on the trip, Tom from St. Louis, was someone I've met multiple times over the last dozen years through training classes and gatherings. Over lunch and some small talk, Tom mentions to me that he ran the Boston marathon the year of the bombings, and...never finished! At mile 26 and with the finish line in sight, the bombs went off! Now Tom is a fit looking individual, so I wasn't too surprised that he may have qualified for Boston, but knowing that he hadn't finished until over 4 hours into the race meant he either had a BAD race, or he got in to the race in an unconventional way. Once he finished his stories, I asked, HOW did you get an entry to Boston. And that's when he put the pieces of the puzzle together for me.
John Hancock is the title sponsor of the Boston marathon. John Hancock is an insurance company that I have done business with for many years. Why not ask John Hancock about a connection to an entry... so I did!
Fast forward 3 weeks later, and I'm told "yes", it is "possible"...but there's a waiting list. I was permitted to put my name on the waiting list and within 48 hours received an email that "I'M IN!"
I always thought there were two ways to get into this race. Qualify like everyone else (that was never going to happen), or raise money for a charity! I ask people for their money all day long, so charity has never been a preferred method for me, but if you would like to make a donation, the John Hancock program supports the Boys and Girls Club of Boston - and you can donate here.
I've never had a problem asking for a sponsorship (check out my great sponsors in the right margin --->)! While there is no financial support for the race, I couldn't turn it down. I coughed up the registration fee and waited patiently for confirmation. Booked the hotel and flights and we're all set for a quick trip! Out on Sunday, race on Monday, and return on Tuesday!
Better news has since come in. I will be given VIP status for the entire weekend which includes:
"access to portions of the John Hancock Employee Training Program throughout the year, as well as email access to coach Greg Meyer (1983 Boston Marathon Champion). You will also have special access to race day amenities that includes transportation to the start on a private coach bus. Upon your arrival in Hopkinton, you will be escorted to an indoor holding area that includes food and beverages, as well as private port-o-johns. Once you cross the finish line you will be directed to the VIP tent, equipped with food, beverages, and massage tables."
Race day is Monday, April 20 and that gave me 20 weeks to train. Today I have only 7 weeks left to be ready! Cold weather training means lots of treadmill time! In fact I did all my February runs (over 100 miles) on the treadmill. But I relish the opportunity and want to have the BEST marathon I can possibly have, so I'm learning to love the treadmill and just logging the miles!
I need some hill training somewhere, somehow, and have no idea what to expect for weather in Boston on race day as they have received over 100 inches of snow this year, Additionally, we are headed to the Dominican Republic the week that I'm supposed to do my 20 miler! Maybe running 20 in 80+ degree humid weather will be the best training possible. Or maybe I've lost my mind to think I'm really going to run 20 while on vacation at an all-inclusive resort! In either case, it's Boston...and I'm going to finish!!
Thanks to everyone who has encouraged me the last several weeks. The next 7 will be the most difficult yet, especially if this weather doesn't let up soon!!