Mark Leddy is a numbers man. And that’s a good thing when your goal is to run the Boston Marathon. The Boston Marathon, the granddaddy of all marathons is, of course, all about numbers, too. The 26.2 mile race requires a minimum qualifying time of 3 hours 40 minutes. Mark qualified for it at the Fargo Marathon on May 21, clocking in at 3 hours and 37 minutes.
But qualifying is only the first step for Mark in crossing the finish line at the 2018 Boston Marathon. Next, he has to make it through registration. The marathon has a cap of 25,000 runners which sounds like a lot, until you consider runners come from all corners of the globe to vie for a Boston Marathon bib. So, there’s no guarantee.
According to Mark, it works like this: First to sign up, are the elite runners, whose qualification time is 20 minutes or more under the standard. Day two sign-ups are for runners with times 10 minutes or more under the standard. And finally, on day three, the remaining slots are available to runners with times five minutes or more under the standard. “That’s my group,” he said. Once the 25,000 spots are gone, they are gone. Registration ends.
Mark gets his answer in September. He says, “I looked at last year’s numbers. In my group of runners, the average runner was 2 minutes and 9 seconds under the qualifying time. My time was better than that, so I’m very hopeful I can get in.”
Either way, his conditioning continues. During his training for the Fargo Marathon, Mark ran six days a week and built up his mileage for 16 weeks. Three weeks before the event was the most difficult week. One run was 22 miles, and by the end of that week he had run 55 miles. “After that, I tapered off for the next three weeks to let my body recover before the race.”
Mark typically trains alone. For longer runs, he prefers to run in town instead of near his home north of Milbank. “I usually start at Unity Square and loop around town. You have to be able to get your water in during the run. Some people carry a water belt, but I just loop through town, stop at my truck parked at Unity for water and do that several times.”
After the Fargo Marathon, Mark took a week off from running, but started again this past week. He officially begins another training regime in two weeks to prepare to run the Twin Cities Marathon in October. “I want to run one marathon between Fargo and the Boston Marathon, if I get in. I don’t think 3 hours and 37 minutes is the best I can do. I think I can run faster.”
If he improves his time at the Twin Cities Marathon, his score could qualify him for the Boston Marathon in 2019. “I would definitely run in Boston multiple times if I can get in. There is so much history in Boston and with the race.”
The Boston Marathon is the oldest (established in 1897) and the fastest marathon in the country and is always held on Patriots Day. Patriots Day, formerly April 19, and now the third Monday in April, commemorates the Battles of Lexington and Concord at the onset of the Revolutionary War. The holiday, though, is only observed in two states – Massachusetts and Maine. The rest of the country calls it Marathon Monday. Bostonians also call it the greatest day of the year and the only Monday you look forward to. Next year Mark Leddy might agree.