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Sam Davidson's blog

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My Idea for the Boston Marathon

Registration for the Boston Marathon opens tomorrow. 

I've run two marathons (very slowly). And even though I don't train for or run that distance any more, the idea of qualifying for Boston was (and is) always alluring. 

Due to its history and popularity, race organizers base entries on qualifying time. With a few charitable exceptions, one has to be able to run fairly fast to be allowed to run Boston. Of course, this also helps with street closures and other organizational aspects. 

I totally get why the qualifying time is in place. But I also think for one year, it should be abandoned.  

Given last year's terrible events, I could think of no greater show of solidarity, pride, and fearlessness than to allow unlimited entrants into this year's race. Go for 150,000 runners and walkers. Set a world record and send a message.

Sure, it means abandoning tradition for a year. And yes, it'll require a lot more security, coordination, and effort. But I bet you could find well-meaning corporate sponsors to assist financially and logistically. It wouldn't be easy, but it may just be worth it. 

What sort of message would it send at home and abroad that this is the kind of country where people can still freely race, even directly in the face of horrific human actions?  

Maybe this is the year tradition is sacrificed on the altar of community, solidarity, and passion.  

And maybe your organization can break the rules every once in a while so it can send the right message. 

Something isn't important because it's a tradition; something is a tradition because it's important. 

Thanks to my pal Ben for kickstarting this idea.