Today I received the sweetest e-mail a marathoner could hope for.
For four months I told everyone I had finished fourth in my age division at the 2013 Boston Marathon, broadcasting it on Twitter and Facebook and even saying it in a radio interview. But all the while I knew it wasn't true. Boston had made an error in my time. I'd actually finished third, hence a podium position. But given the tragic blast there, where so many lost so much, I didn't feel like raising a big whine about it. The workload at B.A.A. must have been overwhelming, I figured.
Too, leg cramps had ruined my run, and I didn't feel like I deserved to win anything. I should have run better. I accepted fourth.
But Boston did eventually correct my finishing time, which put me in third position. It was a narrow victory with only a 16 second margin.
But every second is important to a racer. Last Thursday as I returned from my morning run a package from the Boston Athletic Association was sitting on my front porch. Inside was the third-place award. It's a hand-blown vase made by Pairpoint glass works, small but elegant. Pairpoint claims to be the oldest glass works in America.
The vase was sweet to see, but what's better is that complimentary entry in the 2014 Boston Marathon comes with the podium position. It's my third consecutive complimentary entry.
This is the happy e-mail that arrived today:
The 118th B.A.A. Boston Marathon is scheduled for Monday, April 21, 2014, with 35,000 athletes anticipated to compete.
Based on your outstanding age-group performance at the 2013 race, we are pleased to reserve you a non-transferable complimentary entry for the 2014 race.
If you plan on competing in 2014, please respond to this email by September 13 and the appropriate entry application will be e-mailed to you in early November.
Please note that general athlete registration opens on September 9; you do not need to register via this method if you plan on racing. If you enter via this method, there are no refunds of entry fees.
Feel free to get in touch with me if you have any questions about the race.
Best of luck with your training and racing in the coming months.
This action by B.A.A. affirms the rigor of the Boston Marathon. In my opinion, its integrity is beyond question.
For more personal accounts of the 2013 Boston marathon, click here.
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