San Francisco Marathon Ambassador Scott Benbow Story – “It was a long road to Boston”
Meet San Francisco Marathon Ambassador Scott Benbow – attorney, nonprofit specialist, and passionate SFM runner, who lives and runs the hills of our incredibly city with us every year.
Boston Marathon was his dream …
“When I was 18 years old and about to graduate from high school in Cohasset, Massachusetts, I announced in our yearbook my goal to qualify for the Boston Marathon. My friends and I had watched the Marathon from a spot near the finish line for several years in a row. And, when I was 17, I had run the New York City Marathon. I thought I had faster marathons in me that would eventually enable me to qualify for Boston.”
It took a while, but Scott did get faster.
I didn’t run my second marathon, the San Francisco Marathon, until I was 51, fully 34 years after my first in New York City. As a middle-aged runner, I ran slightly faster than I had at 17, but I needed to run much faster to qualify. I rededicated myself to the goal I’d set in high school.
My fifties were characterized by incremental increases in fitness, which were beset by chronic injuries including plantar fasciitis and a stress fracture in one of my shins. Nevertheless, when I was healthy, I kept running marathons, including several more San Francisco Marathons, the Big Sur International Marathon, and the flat and fast California International Marathon (CIM).
It was at CIM in December 2019, that I finally qualified to run the Boston Marathon.
Again, it took a while.
The Covid-19 pandemic caused the cancellation of an in-person Boston Marathon in 2020. Then the postponement of the 2021 race, usually in April, until October of that year. Finally, in April 2022, I ran my first Boston Marathon 43 years after setting the goal.
It was worth the wait.
After a less-than-stellar training block in the winter before the race, I decided to run my first Boston Marathon for fun instead of for a fast time. With pandemic-related lockdowns finally over, it seemed like everyone from New England was lining the course that day. The crowds were enormous and exuberant. Running comfortably, I initiated a lot of high fives and thanked a lot of volunteers.
If I can wait another year, moreover, I’ve got a second shot at a fast time in the Boston Marathon. I’ve got another BQ for the 2023 race and, if my qualifying time is sufficient to earn a bib for the race, I plan to return to Boston next April.
I can wait!
You might find Scott out running in SF through Golden Gate Park or along the Embarcadero, training up for the 45th anniversary of The San Francisco Marathon. Use code AMBOSCOTT when you register for this year’s SF Marathon to save 15% and run alongside him July 24th!
June 17, 2022 (10:42 am)
Thanks for the inspiring story of persistence! I took up to running only in my late 50s, in August of 2021. In the past, I had accepted that running was not my cup of tea due to shin pains. That changed with some conditioning after talking to my younger cousin who has been a runner. I ran my first marathon in Oakland, and the second in Big Sur, both in 2022. I also served as a rookie coach to a team of 23 newbie runners, and helped them achieve their first major runs along with me in Oakland.
I too have hopes to be able to qualify for Boston in the near future. I will be running the SF marathon 2022 with you, although I don’t expect to qualify this time. I will have a better shot at CIM in December. If I qualify for Boston in December, that will enable me to run in Boston 2024. Hopefully!
June 20, 2022 (10:25 am)
Hi Jiten, I wish you the best in the San Francisco Marathon this summer. It is such a beautiful course. And best of luck qualifying for the Boston Marathon.