I Qualified for Boston…?

I always thought that, when I finally went under 3:35, I’d cross the line and stop my watch and raise my arms in victory. I’ve been gunning for this goal since Hartford in 2011! I’ve been trying for this for longer than Paul and I have been dating! I imagined LOTS OF TRIUMPH. SO! MUCH! TRIUMPH!

I did not envision how it seems to have gone down: crossing the line, stopping my watch at 3:35:42, noting that the text alerts sent to my family said 3:35:40, accepting that as my new PR, and then, later in the day, going onto the official timing company’s website to confirm my time only to learn that it was 47 seconds faster than what the text alerts said—a 3:34:53.

Huh? Yay? I feel weird about this?


My office could use a little interior design.

I contacted the race and the timing company. The race’s reply is here. The timing company’s reply was:

The only issue at the full start was the wrong gunstart got loaded to CT Live. How the system works is the gunstart button works on the release of the press. With the half starting 10 minutes late they were attempting to start exactly 30 minutes apart. The actual Gun start was witrh a Time machine (a seperate manual computer) which was verified. We have looked into both ends of the data and the results are correct. As a timer we manually have many back ups , which at times have saved us. computere are computers. the gun start that got loaded into the scoring software was correct. I realize it got confusing when net times got sent out which were off. after that happened I could not change that. But CTLive is not official times.

sorry for any confussion. We are looking at options for next yeat

(In which CT = Chronotrack, the service that was providing the live text updates. Why the text updates and the official race timing were done by different companies, I’m not sure.)

While this does not explain why my watch was so far off my official time—or why several other folks had the same problem—I’m not really interested in pressing the issue. I don’t want to be the girl who is like, “But my watch!”

And several people at the office have encouraged me, basically, to shut up and take the time. And I suppose I don’t blame them. Official results are official results.

And yet…I just can’t, you know?

I know that I started my watch after the gun, at the first timing mat, but the official results have my gun time (3:35:18) as 22 seconds faster than my watch. I trust my watch, but what’s more, I trust the collective power of several other runners’ watches, which were all “off” by about the same amount mine was. (I’ve counted four runners other than me—two I know in real life, and two who found me on the internet—who had the same experience.)

I won’t lie and say I wouldn’t attempt to use this time to get into the 2016 Boston Marathon. It’s only seven seconds under the standard; I wouldn’t get in anyway. But I’m not above trying it, if I don’t run a faster time before registration opens.

In the meantime, my #1 goal—one I think is doable, if I don’t make any of the dumb mistakes I made before Wineglass—is to run a faster time before next September. I have a race picked out. (Shh. It’s a secret.) I have a plan. I have the fitness. I just need to maintain it, and execute better.

Until then, I’m telling people my PR is 3:35:40. Sorry, official race results. We just disagree.

Fellow runners: How would you handle this situation?


About Meghan Loftus

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6 Responses to I Qualified for Boston…?

  1. Katrina says:

    That is so strange! To answer your question, I would handle it the same as you. I would certainly still try to get into Boston with a qualifying time, but when telling people my PR I would go off of what the text alerts sent to your family were.

  2. Megan says:

    I’d handle it the same way. And seriously consider leaving my watch at home for my next marathon. 😉

  3. Jen says:

    Take it, and use it if you can. They’ve said it’s official, so it’s official.

  4. Dan Button says:

    I’ve run courses that I knew weren’t quite accurate before, and in my head adjusted what I knew my time really should have been over the actual distance to build off the right place in my training. Sometimes reverse of this too, where my time is slower than I know I actually ran (seems more common for me) But on paper, I’ll put down whatever the official time was. Fine if you want to keep an asterisk in your head, but officially you’ve BQed, too many years of training for that to not take it! That’s my stance on it. I’ve found that text alerts have been off for me every single time I’ve used them, if that means anything. They were 5 minutes off by half in my last marathon.

  5. Gerard says:

    I don’t know if I’d be above it either, but I’d go by what would give me peace of mind / sense of satisfaction, and I have a feeling you’re like me and you will use your BQ time from your next race (which will be 3:28-3:33). : )

  6. Lolz, wtf kind of response email is that? Maybe I just can’t get around the typos and grammar errors, but what does the gun start have to do with your net time? My theory is that when you crossed the timing mat and started your watch their computer “buffered”/froze for a few seconds before actually recording your start time. I bet so many people crossing at once could bog down the system!

    That said, whatever, it’s official! I’d take it :). I’m if you beat that time at your next race it’ll feel especially awesome though. What was the distance recorded on your watch? Was it long? Maybe you could justify the time that way!

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