Ever have that Erie feeling about a marathon?

When I crossed the finish line at the GoodLife Fitness Toronto Marathon, I accepted the fact my finishing time likely wouldn’t be enough to earn me a trip to the 2017 Boston Marathon (I finished in 3:13:42 for a 1 minute and 18 second BQ buffer); I was elated with my 20 minute PB and yes, a BQ is a BQ! I was looking forward to two months of easy running (even with two races scheduled in May and June) and knew my chances for a BQ and trip to the 2018 Boston Marathon would be solid since I’ll be moving up to the 45-49 age category. Yes, everything would be just fine until I met-up with my running buddies for dinner the other night.

Protip: If you’re ever made a decision about your running future and you felt confident you made the right decision, don’t meet up with your friends to discuss it; if they’re anything like my friends, they’ll convince you the decision is rubbish.

Clockwise from left: Me, Rose, Daniel, Domenic, and Anna

I knew my buddy Daniel was registering for the Erie Marathon in September to attempt a BQ for the 2017 Boston Marathon and Domenic would register if I qualified, but that’s where I thought the conversation ended. Little did I know, Anna and Rose jumped on the bandwagon on the day we were to meet-up for dinner and decided to register as well! Prior to my recent BQ attempt, I jokingly told Daniel and Domenic I would register for Erie if I didn’t qualify, so I really can’t fault my fiends for their exceptional peer pressure abilities. The next day, I ran the idea by my wife and it was decided; I would be registering for the Erie Marathon and would be making a second attempt at the 2017 Boston Marathon.

The Erie Marathon is well known for two reasons (according to the Erie Marathon FAQ page):

  • It’s one of the flattest courses in North America. “Well, it doesn’t get much flatter with less than a 250 foot total change in elevation for the marathon.”
  • It’s a Boston Qualifier. “In fact in 2013, we had over 32% of the marathon finishers qualify for Boston – 2nd highest qualifying percentage of all marathons in the world (2nd to Boston Marathon 2013 itself).”
It doesn’t get much flatter than the Erie Marathon!

The Erie Marathon often sells out shortly after the Spring marathon season as marathon runners hoping to qualifying for Boston in previous races (or improve their BQ buffer) often attempt to do so on this course. The window for BQ attempts for 2017 closes about a week after the Erie Marathon.

The two-loop course runs through Presque Isle State Park in Erie, Pennsylvania. According to a friend who ran the race in 2015, the course is mostly shaded with very little sun exposure; perfect course conditions as it’s still fairly warm in the beginning of September.

Erie Marathon course map

I’ll be following the same training plan from my Spring marathon with one change; I scratched Week 1 from the plan so I would have one month of downtime. 15 weeks is still a long training plan and I’m confident it won’t have any impact on my results.

I created my own Spring marathon training plan and will reuse it for Erie

So there you have it. My Fall goal race was going to be a BQ attempt for the 2018 Boston Marathon, but my friends had other plans in mind. I’m now really excited about the opportunity to improve my BQ time for the 2017 Boston Marathon. Truth me told, I would be gutted if I missed the opportunity to race next year by a minute, or worse, seconds. At least now I’ll have a chance to run a race in hopefully better conditions and on a significantly flatter course! Just a reminder, you can keep track of my progress on Twitter and Instagram!

It’s going to be a great Summer running in Toronto!


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