As I write this, it occurred to me, quite by accident, that it was THIRTY-ONE YEARS ago to the day that I ran my second of 7 1/2 marathons in 2:50:26–my best time ever, but not
B E S T enough.
My goal in running the Marine Corp Marathon in Washington, DC was to qualify to run the Boston Marathon in that following April in 1984.
Uhhhh, you just don’t state your wish to run Boston, you have to qualify to do so. Do you know what was the qualifying time?
TWO HOURS, FIFTY MINUTES.
I was a WHOPPING TWENTY-SIX over the qualifying time.
I had to be a mere ONE SECOND faster per mile of that 26.2 mile race.
That was the closest I ever go to it.
I had an excuse–a huge EXEMPTION that was briefly heard and dismissed:
There were 10,000 runners that day of 45 degrees in an overcast and constant drizzle.
PERFECT FOR RUNNING A MARATHON (In my mind). . .
It took me, literally 10 full minutes to actually get to the starting line after they fired off the Howitzer to begin the race.
If you factor that 10 minute delay to even get to the starting line for me to begin all out running it was actually below an average 6:30 a mile pace.
I still remember that it was my perfect race.
The crowds that lined the streets and the Monuments that day were outstanding.
My legs never hurt.
My lungs were never gasping–I was never out of breath.
My body never became dehydrated.
My day. . .my Wish never realized.
I had to get something from my file drawer and when I opened up the bottom drawer there was my certificate looking up at me.
CHUCK BEHRENS FINISHED 410 out of 10,000 RUNNERS
and, and it wasn’t enough but it was everything.
When I heard from the governing board of the Boston Marathon after submitting my credentials/times/reason for coming up SHORT by 26 seconds, they sent their regrets and said that they couldn’t control ‘extenuating circumstances,’ and expressed their sincere sympathies and encouragement for my next attempt.
My next attempt came three months later in Pittsburgh, PA during a snow storm where I finished 5th at 2:52:33, well below my target time of 2:50.
I’ve often thought about THOSE 26 SECONDS.
So much can happen and so much CAN’T in 26 seconds.
Lives can be lived in such moments. . .and ARE!
I don’t regret THAT day or those Seconds. I so fully lived in THAT moment,
. . .was Awed by it,
N O T H I N G
Diminished it or took the polish from it.
I knew running those miles meant that there was nothing I couldn’t do. . .
That my WANT-TO
overcame my HAVE-TO and worse,
MY AFRAID-TO. . . .
It made the Difference THEN
and as I’ve pondered THOSE MOMENTS
over these past few moments,
looking at that faded Certificate–
IT STILL DOES!
Kind of makes a Moment,
Put a few of THOSE together–
YOU’VE GOT A L-I-F-E
(IN ALL CAPITAL LETTERS)