Dear Steve,

I think we can agree on the absurdity of a Boston Qualifier as a means of deciding whether one is or is not a runner, “a travesty of a mockery of a sham of a mockery of a travesty of two mockeries of a sham.” It’s an arbitrary, and sometimes changing, number relevant only to those relatively few who find themselves within haling distance of it. Where one “finds oneself,” of course, is similarly arbitrary, turning of factors like genetics. What matters is what one does with those genes.

I think your determination, expressed on last night’s RunnersRoundTable, to go sub-4 this year admirable and given your apparent history — of which I am blissfully ignorant — a realistic goal. For you. That’s, of course, what “racing” is all about. How fast can you go? How well do you work to reach that point?

So let’s hope with John’s help and your sweat you get there.

Let us go forward, Steve, and commit to avoid the phrase “Boston Qualifier” or the initials “BQ” as meaningless drivel. Let us enjoy our races, at whatever distances they may be, for themselves and for the opportunity that they afford to validate our efforts.

With regards and good wishes for a healthy year.