Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The Magic Number for the 2017 Boston Marathon - 2 minutes, 9 seconds

You had to beat your Boston Qualifier (BQ) time by 2 minutes and 9 seconds to get into the 2017 Boston Marathon, according to the press release that came out today. That's just slightly more forgiving than the 2 minutes, 28 seconds required for the 2016 Boston Marathon, but still tougher than the 1 minute, 2 seconds or faster for the 2015 Boston Marathon, or 1 minute, 38 seconds for the 2014 Boston Marathon.

Here's the breakdown:

  • 4,357 Qualifiers met their qualifying time by 20 minutes, 00 seconds or faster. 
  • 7,105 Qualifiers met their qualifying time by 10 minutes, 00 seconds or faster. 
  • 6,845 Qualifiers met their qualifying time by 05 minutes, 00 seconds or faster. 
  • 4,497 Qualifiers met their qualifying time by 02 minutes, 09 seconds or faster. 
  • 410 Qualifiers were accepted based on finishing 10 or more consecutive Boston Marathons.
Hopefully you were one of them! See ya there...

- SD

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Three Great Finishes This Week (Videos)

Wow, this was a great week for awesome finishes! In case you missed them, check these out:

At the Triathlon World Series finale in Mexico, race leader (and Series leader at the time) Johnny Brownlee hit the wall in the last half mile and almost lost consciousness. His brother, 2-time Gold Medalist Alistair Brownlee, sacrificed his chance to win to get his brother across the finish.

At the inaugural XTERRA Pan Am Championships in Ogden, Utah, the race came down to a sprint down the final chute with American Josiah Middaugh outstretching New Zealand's Braden Currie by 7/100th of a second to take the title. (sprint trail run finish at 5:56 in the video)

The indefatigable Karl Meltzer conquered the 3,524-kilometer Appalachian Trail in record time, burning over 340,000 calories in 45 days, 22 hours, and 38 minutes. Way to go, Karl! (sorry if the video isn't embedding...CNN always has trouble with this, so just go to the page if it doesn't work)

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The 2016 Half Moon Bay Marathon - Sun, Smiles, and a Surprise Victory

I was all smiles on Sunday morning as I snuck out of the house and drove towards the beach...after a two year hiatus, the Half Moon Bay International Marathon was back for 2016! When this race debuted in 2011, it magically captured so much of what I love about this coastal town...sandy trails along the beach, cute little neighborhoods full of friendly locals, the majestic Ritz-Carlton hotel jutting out over the bluff at sunrise, and of course, lots of local beer and fresh seafood at the finish. A perfect way to spend a sunny California afternoon!

(Let's get ready to roll!)
About 800 runners gathered for the Full and Half Marathon, and Race Directors Franz and Jen Dill sent the marathoners up the coastline just as the morning sun lit the trail. I paced along with Magdalena Boulet (just running again after her 5th place at UTMB), Nakia Baird (looking faster every year), Kristine Groteguth (Cal State Monterey 400m/800m runner), Kenley Gaffke (29th marathon!), and a half dozen others as we tackled the trails and small hills of the first section. It was a casual pace, and I enjoyed catching up with Magda and hearing her take on the gargantuan Mt. Blanc (I think she will be back!). By the time we hit the Montara turn around (mile 4), there was less chatting as we all started to find our gears. Team Asics runner Gen Lin Foo was well out front, having gapped us all by two minutes, and I settled in around 6th place in a line of runners snaking through the tree-lined streets. 

(Here we go! Photo courtesy of Captivating Sports Photos)
(And we're off!)
(Cruising with Magda on the trails)
The surfers were out in force as we hit the coastline (mile 8), cheering runners while waiting for the perfect break. It was an unusually sunny day here, so there was no way the locals would let a few hundred runners get in the way of dog walking, catching up with friends, and getting some beach time. We began mixing with the Half Marathoners, and I used the orange singlet of Daniel Russey (3rd) from Arlington, TX, and the bouncing hair of San Francisco runner Shera Garung (2nd) to navigate the few changes to the course along the way. We hit the halfway (mile 13) in 1:26:40, and on an out-and-back section I saw Magda and three others just a minute behind. Can't let up now!

(Surfers wave from the waves as we run by)
(The Coastal Trail winds along the beach)
(Following Daniel through the Half Marathoners)
The course had more road sections than I remember from the inaugural year, but the trails remained fun and fast. All the little climbs and zig zags were great to alternate the muscle groups, and I found I still had good legs after the turnaround at the Ritz-Carlton hotel (mile 18). This course definitely favors the trail runners! My pace was holding at 6:30 min/miles, but so was Shera's about 30 seconds ahead, and I knew Magda could throw down sub-6 min/miles on any given Sunday (Oh crap! It's a Sunday!!!). Gen Lin Foo was long gone, so I decided it was a race for the podium, and if all went well, perhaps I could snag the Masters win from Shera too. GOAL...IS...SET!!! 

(The Ritz-Carlton like a castle in the distance)
Go fast, but relax. Go fast...BUT RELAX!!! YOU'RE NOT RELAXING!!! The diatribe in my head made me chuckle...after all these races, my inner voice still screams at me to relax like an overbearing parent, with about the same results. It's easier to just cheer on fellow runners and breath in the salty air, so I focused on that instead, and soon pulled up on the shoulder of Shera (mile 23). He let me go by, clearly favoring one side as he worked through a cramp of some sort, but wasn't going to let me out of his sight. Super volunteers Sean Handel and Ron Little drenched me with water at one last aid station (mile 24), and I went heads down in hopes I could keep that Nepalese Master in my rear view.

(Sean Handel loads me up, photo courtesy of Ron Little)
(Along the trees, photo courtesy of Lars Howlett)
When I crossed the finish line (2:51:58), the announcer screamed "and Scott Dunlap from Woodside, CA, WINS THE MARATHON!". What? Oh no, I hope they didn't miss that guy way ahead of me. Where's Gen Lin Foo? I did my best to correct the announcer and press, worried we had a minor snafu, but then Shera finished in 2nd (2:54:55) and pointed back to Gen Lin Foo shuffling in after he blew up in the last mile (2:55:33, getting third over Daniel Russey by 11 seconds, so still a good hustle). I somehow had missed him in the rows of half marathoners. Well, well...yet another example of why you should always keep pushing! Magda (3:01:56) came in shortly after to win the Women's division, with Stacy Stebbins (3:11:58) and Kristine Groteguth (3:21:10) filling out the podium. (all results)

(A very excited Quinn helps Magda and I with our big checks)
My girls Sophie (10) and Quinn (5) were beyond ecstatic. DAD WON! The newspaper and radio wants to talk to OUR DAD! Free Zola chocolate coconut water thanks to OUR DAD! (ha, ha) Even better, they got to meet Magda Boulet the "Mom Olympian" and see us get handed two oversized checks like a couple of pros.  Somehow I had gotten just enough small town and just enough big time to impress the kids. You know what? I'll take it. Not sure how many hero days you get in a lifetime. And for the girls to meet an Olympian after watching Rio all summer? Who knows what that might inspire. 

(The post race interview with "two time winner", ha, ha)
The oversized check (aka "big check") turned out to be a lot of fun, and I had no idea how many perks come with carrying that sucker around. By the time we made it back to the car, we had been comped beer at Half Moon Bay Brewing Co, gelato at Mezza Luna Cafe, got pictures with tourists, and even met the famous big wave surfer Jeff Clark at his Mavericks store. Hooray for big check!!!

(Meeting Jeff Clark! Very cool!)
My thanks to Race Directors Franz and Jen Dill, their amazing volunteers and sponsors, and the community of Half Moon Bay for bringing this great race back to life. For the Dunlap family, this is a day we will talk about forever (well, I will anyway). I look forward to seeing you again next year!

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Registration for the 2017 Boston Marathon Begins on Monday, Sept. 12th

For all you Boston Marathon lovers, a reminder that the registration process for the 2017 Boston Marathon will begin next Monday, September 12, 2016, at 10:00 a.m. ET. Hopefully you have scored your "BQ" qualifying time with a little extra time cushion, and are ready to roll!

Registration will follow the same "rolling admission" schedule it has used in recent years, allowing the fastest qualifiers in their gender and age group to register first:
  • On Monday, September 12, eligible runners who have met the qualifying standard for their age and gender by 20 minutes or more may register. 
  • On Wednesday, September 14, at 10:00 a.m. ET, if space remains, registration will open for those who have met their qualifying standard by 10 minutes or more. 
  • If space remains, registration will open on Friday, September 16, at 10:00 a.m. ET for those who have met their qualifying standard by five minutes or more. Registration will close on Saturday, September 17, at 10:00 p.m. ET. 
  • If space remains after the first week of registration (Monday, September 12, through Saturday, September 17), then registration will re-open for all qualifiers from Monday, September 19, at 10:00 a.m. ET through Wednesday, September 21, at 5:00 p.m. ET. As during the first week of registration, entry during this period (Sept. 19-21) will not be first-come, first-served and the fastest qualifiers in their gender and age group among these submissions will be given entry as space allows. 
  • If space remains after this initial period, then on Monday, September 26, registration will re-open to anyone who meets the qualifying standards. Registration will remain open on a first-come, first-served basis until the maximum field size is reached. 
Qualifying times remain the same from 2013:


18-343hrs 05min 00sec3hrs 35min 00sec
35-393hrs 10min 00sec3hrs 40min 00sec
40-443hrs 15min 00sec3hrs 45min 00sec
45-493hrs 25min 00sec3hrs 55min 00sec
50-543hrs 30min 00sec4hrs 00min 00sec
55-593hrs 40min 00sec4hrs 10min 00sec
60-643hrs 55min 00sec4hrs 25min 00sec
65-694hrs 10min 00sec4hrs 40min 00sec
70-744hrs 25min 00sec4hrs 55min 00sec
75-794hrs 40min 00sec5hrs 10min 00sec
80 and over4hrs 55min 00sec5hrs 25min 00sec

If you're close to these qualifying times, then you know that making the time does not guarantee entry. In 2014, you needed to beat your time by 1 minute and 35 seconds. That relaxed a bit in 2015, when you needed to have exceeded your time by 62 seconds. In 2016, you needed a 2 minute and 28 second buffer, the biggest hopefully you are feeling fast!

I'll be back again in 2017 (streak #13!), so let me know if you are planning to head to Hopkinton. Good luck!

- SD