Today's email question was, "Is the Missoula Marathon a Boston Qualifier?" The answer is, "Yes," and it's all thanks to the hard work of course director Courtney Babcock.
Now for the part that is more information that you asked for: Have you ever asked yourself what it means for an event to be a Boston Qualifier? I never did until we decided to put on our own marathon. What it means is that your marathon course is USATF Certified, and that someone is willing to go through an extremely precise process to obtain USATF Certification for the course. To give you an idea, it involves knowing the temperature of the pavement, the temperature of the air, the pressure in the bicycle tires which must be checked multiple times, obtaining a gauge that has been computed by Newton (okay not really but close and no, GPS is not more accurate), multiple conversations with USATF officials, drawings and graphs, and weeks if not months of time.
By the end of our inaugural year we had a far greater appreciation of what it means to have the stamp BQ.
We're glad we have gone to the effort, though, because lots of people do qualify for Boston at the Missoula Marathon, including a large number of our own Missoula athletes. Last year it was such a large contingency that they trained for and ran Boston together. It was pretty cool.
The moral of the story is, the next time you run an event that is a Boston Qualifier, thank the Course Director. They worked hard to get that certification for you. And for those of you shooting for that goal, good luck! We hope you make it at the Missoula Marathon!