In 1986, the Boston Marathon became a professional race. Guy Morse, the Executive Race Director took the race from an eccentric, iconic running event about to collapse, to an iconic, well financed, eccentric event that has become the place where real runners go, and where the industry meets to serve the key influencers in the sport. John Hancock, adidas and other major sponsors should be recognized as protecting that vision.
adidas’s Adrian Leek and John Hancocks’ David F. D’Alessandro were convinced, under Guy Morse’s leadership and team, that the B.A.A. Boston Marathon had a bright future. Few sponsors had had such devotion to an event like adidas and John Hancock have to Boston, they go way beyond the call. And few people have had the enduring influence on an event like Guy Morse and his team. The result? The Boston Marathon is secure.
One more note. Way back in 1986, in an interview, Mr. D’Alessandro noted that for $3 million, he owned the city of Boston for a day. He observed me scribbling in a notebook and told me to make sure I had noted his quote in an accurate manner. I did. D’Alessandro loved Boston and he knew iconic when he saw it. His Boston sponsorship was a pivotal involvement for the Boston marathon.
For those who run Boston, this is not something to check off the to do list. One must qualify for the chance to run Boston. Then, one must make it through the lottery. The week around the marathon is a celebration of all things running. The Boston Marathon is a rite of spring. 580, 732 have finished the Boston Marathon since 1897: that’s 380, 693 men and 200,072 as of 2018. The 30,000 plus who ran in 2019 had to train through the horrific winter of 2018-19, and this race is, more than any other, earned.
I ran Boston in 1986, with 4,904 others. My goal was 2:50 (I had run a 2:48.12 to qualify), and I went out in 2:40 pace through 15.5 miles, and then, it all fell apart. I hit 2:20 at 20 miles and my last 10k to 63 minutes. I learned to respect Boston, and have folllowed it ever since.
The podcast that follows is meant as a celebration of all things amazing about Boston. I love this race, and see the BAA as the protector of a sanctuary of our sport.
See you in Boston in 2020.