Boston Marathon Bib Number …. 7929

Posted: March 16, 2010 in Pace and Racing
Tags: , , , , ,

Sometimes life has great symmetry.  Single events occur minute to minute, hour to hour, day to day that seem so random.  But when you take a moment to step back and place them into the proper context – it becomes apparent that there is in fact a rhyme and a reason.

Boston Marathon Race Shoes Arrived This Week!

Just yesterday in this space I was talking about how certain numbers can evoke very powerful images.  How just the mention of the number 20 to a marathoner brings to mind memories of the longest “test” in their marathon training plan – the 20-mile long run.  It is this “magic 20-miler” that provides the steepest challenge on the way to their ultimate test – the marathon distance itself – 26.2 miles.

In training last year to reach my goal of qualifying for the Boston Marathon “the number” that I carried around with me on every training run was 7:37 – 7 minutes, 37 seconds.  If I was able to average that time over 26.2 miles I would meet the qualification requirements for my age group of 3:19:59 and earn a spot in the 2010 Boston Marathon.

It was a powerful number for me.  It stared at me from my dry erase board in my office every morning.  Each training run was compared to that pace.  Was I fast enough?  Was I strong enough?  Could I be doing more?  Could I train harder?  Did I want it badly enough? And of course the biggest question of them all – Could I actually do it?

Me.

Regular guy running for less than 5 years, could I?  Boston?  Really?

Well today after my training run I received an e-mail from my friend Chaz asking me if I had seen my Boston number yet.  Still in my running gear, dripping wet from my 5-mile recovery run this morning in the rain I hustled upstairs to my computer to log on and see it.  After a few clicks of the mouse there it was:

7929       Marruchella, Joseph M.    42     M    Austin     TX         USA

7929 – Wow.

Holland TX - 5K 1st place age group Bib

I’ve had numbers before.  Back in 2006 in my first ever marathon in Philadelphia I wore bib number 3650 – that was a pretty big deal.  In Pittsburgh last year I ran wearing 2506 in making my Boston time – that number worked out pretty well.  Wearing 1198 this year at the Austin 3M Half Marathon I set a PR with a time of 1:32:13.  I won my age group (and two others!) wearing number 59 at last year’s Holland, TX 5K – that was a great number. 

But 7929 …. Now that one is special.

At most races your bib number doesn’t mean a whole heck of a lot unless you are one of the elite men or women invited to race.  In those cases your number represents a “seeding” so to speak, where number 1 is the most heavily favored runner, followed by 2, 3, 4 and on down the line.

At big international races the elite men and women do not receive numbers, instead they simply have their last name on their Bib – you see the names – MERGA, CHERUIYOT, HALL, KOSEGEI, TUNEI, GONCHAR etc.

But for the rest of us at Boston your bib number is a big deal – as virtually the entire race is “seeded”.  Because all but the charity runners who are asked to run at the back of the field have run a qualifying time to gain entry into the race – all runners are placed in starting corrals based on their Boston Qualifying Time.

25 Corrals with 1,000 runners each line up in Hopkinton, MA on race day and take to the storied marathon course with runners of similar capabilities in their group.  This allows for a “relatively” even start to the race without faster runners being slowed by slower runners ahead, or slower runners being swallowed up by those trying to race past them.

Bib number 7929 places us in the 7th starting corral.  So in a lot of ways I made it into that grouping by a narrow margin – by only 71 runners.  That’s O.K. – I’ll take it.

Saving this for post race party

There are a lot of things that have to occur between now and April 19th to run a good race at Boston in honoring Dom.  We have to finish our training.  Stay injury free.  Take good care of our body during the taper period and watch our nutrition. 

Once training is completed we have to make a trip out east to Boston.  We must hope for and receive good weather from the race gods on race day.  Then finally – we have to trust our race plan, our training, preparations and go out to make good on the first leg of Run for Dom.

2 marathons, 2 weeks 4 Dom. 

That was where this all started back in August and with a little more than 4 weeks to go before Marathon number 1 – we received our first bit of good news.  7929 – Wave I, 7th Corral.

Over the last five Boston Marathons 7929 has been worn by Rob Spears of Rocky Hill Connecticut, 3:16:05, James Montimbeau of Atlanta Georgia, 3:54:08 as well as Rafael Aburto of Mexico City, MX 3:32:45.  In 2006 Michel Touboul of Dijon, France wore number 7929 finishing with a time of 3:47:36 and in 2005 Bob Crosier of Ravema, Ohio finished with a 3:29:52 time finishing 3,335th.

In the 114th running of the Boston Marathon 7929 will be on the streets from Hopkinton to Boston once again.  Will I ever find my way back to Hopkinton?  Boy I hope so, but what I do know is that we’ll be there on April 19, 2010 – and 7929 plans on leaving an impression.

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Comments
  1. Sarah says:

    Sounds like a great number to me! 🙂 Sending lots of good vibes to you as you make you your way closer to Boston!

  2. DP_Turtle says:

    The number I carried around in my head all last year was 3:28. “Three twenty-eight. It will be great!” was the silent mantra repeating in my head on long ’20s’ and fast 800s. I needed 3:30 to BQ, and I wanted to have a little breathing room.

    “Three twenty-eight. It will be great!”

    At the end of 26.2, my time was … 3:28.42. And you know what? It IS great!!

    Good luck, 7929!

    –David
    DP_Turtle
    a.k.a. 11553

    • joerunfordom says:

      David – Congrats Sir! So happy for you and 11553 sounds like a kick-ass bib number my friend! You’ll be part of Wave I and ready to rock. Best of luck wrapping up training! Joe

  3. connie says:

    I keep telling you YOU ARE THE WINNER no matter where you are at
    but you just will not listen
    GOOD LUCK
    Connie

    • joerunfordom says:

      Connie – so nice of you to stop by for a visit! Thank you very much for all the kind words and support! (My wife would tell you that you have to tell me something at least 10X before it sinks in …. I think it’s more like 5!) Stay warm up there! Best, Joe

  4. David H. says:

    Great post — I honestly didn’t know that much about the Boston Marathon and how the seeding took place.

    • joerunfordom says:

      Thanks for the visit and the message David! First-timer to Boston myself and I am learning A LOT as I go. I’m always nervous on race day, but I can’t begin to imagine what this one is going to be like. Take good care! Joe

  5. Daryl P says:

    Hi Joe. Great post on bib numbers. I have 11304 for this year’s Boston (running for my son, Daniel; Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy).

    Take care,
    Daryl

    • joerunfordom says:

      Daryl – thank you so much for the visit and for your message – I am so sorry to hear about the struggles that your son is going through. April 19th is going to be a wonderful celebration for you and your family – I’m honored to be running with you Sir.

      Best of luck with the last month~ of training and please drop me a note if you can after the race is over – would love to hear about your experience!

      Best from Austin, Joe

  6. Wow. What a great post. I’ve never read your blog, but this was an inspiring article. You did some great things to prepare yourself to qualify for Boston (Writing down goals – having a great plan). It was really powerful just to read the other people that have worn that number too. I wish you the best of luck 7929 in 2010.

  7. joerunfordom says:

    Dave – thank you so much for your visit and kind words – you have such great information over at tips4running – I really appreciate you stopping by and reading along.

    It has been a really long journey to get to this point, somedays I want to just lace up and go race – but weeks like this make me realize that it really is about the trip to Hopkinton not the trip from Hopkinton that makes Boston so special.

    I’m really honored that I will be able to race two first class marathons for my friend Dom – he’s taught me more about myself over the past year or so than I could have ever learned otherwise. For that I am forever grateful.

    Take good care and please visit again! Best, Joe

  8. onelittlejill says:

    My birthday is 7/9 and I will be 29 this year. Clearly this means you will have amazing luck on your side for the race 🙂

  9. Ty says:

    Great blog Joe. Being my first Boston, I just started to hear about bib # relating to the corrals. Reading your blog spurred me to check the BAA site and I was excited to see a “9”….hmm….9 out of 10…I’ll take it.

    • joerunfordom says:

      Ty- Congrats on Boston. The 9th Corral will be in great shape to leave with the first wave at 10:00 am. Corralls 13-25 will go in wave 2 at 10:30 am. Best of luck with your remaining training! Thanks again for the visit!

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