Skip links

15 Years to Boston — Worth the Wait!


Some people qualify for the Boston Marathon on their first attempt, but, for others, it can take years. I qualified for Boston on my 25th marathon, 10 years into my marathon journey and 7 years after my first BQ attempt!  It took another 5 years after my first BQ to finally toe the line this past April 😊

Bib Pick-Up Before the 2016 NYC Marathon
At 36 Weeks Pregnant 👶

I ran my first marathon, the 2008 Potomac River Marathon, in 5:25:17. I was the second to last finisher, and my husband Ray walked me into the finish during the last 10K. I had only run a half marathon distance as part of my training, and the race was painful, to say the least! Still, I was hooked. The oxytocin released on my runs and higher highs when I conquered goal races replaced my former addiction to smoking cigarettes.

Reuniting with the Family after the 2019 NYC Marathon

Three years later, I had shaved more than 1 hour and 30 minutes off my marathon time and felt ready to attempt a 3:40 goal at the 2011 Chicago Marathon. I missed the mark by 4 minutes, and the BAA announced that BQ times would be made 5 minutes faster the following year, making a BQ feel even more like chasing an imaginary unicorn 🦄

In 2011, I opened a yoga studio, Sacred Sounds Yoga. I turned to distance running as my “moving meditation,” helping to lessen any feelings of stress and anxiety while keeping me sane. After Ray and I had two children in 2014 and 2016, my entire social life was centered around running, the only time I spent interacting with adults sans children outside of work. Through growing the business, moves, pregnancy, breastfeeding and sleep regressions, I ran.

I started training with Coach Brian Rosetti and the Flyers Marathon Training Program (MTP) the year Brian took on the role of Head Coach with the NY Flyers in 2013, but it wasn’t until after the births of my children that I was able to train consistently. I strongly believe in the VDOT method that Brian employs in his coaching and noticed that I continued to see improvements in my time with every season. In late 2018, I finally achieved my first BQ at the Clarence DeMar Marathon in 3:32:06, a 9:35 PR!

I was set to run Boston in 2020, but the world had other plans - COVID.

I was also set to run last year, but this time it was my body that had other plans - I tested positive for COVID the Friday before the race 😢 Six weeks after COVID, I hurriedly signed up for the Bayshore Marathon in Traverse City, MI, and ran a PR of 3:25:48!

TCTC Bayshore Marathon 2022

This past year brought more changes, as I graduated from accelerated nursing school, and started working night shifts as a labor and delivery nurse. Despite the lack of sleep and training, I was excited to finally run the Boston Marathon, with Ray, my children and parents cheering me on. We celebrated with friends from NYC and where I now live in Westport, CT, and reunited with some of my father’s family after 15 years!

Family Cheering Squad at Mile 17 😍

Race day looked promising for runners, though not so for my family and other spectators, as it was cloudy and the forecast was for rain. I planned to hold back my pace for the first 16 miles, which I was aware was mostly downhill, and then reassess whether I could continue the pace or pick it up at that point. However, as with others, I got swept into the excitement, and ran 15 seconds per mile faster than I had intended for miles 1 through 16, and then struggled over the hills, finishing with a big positive split.

Family Reunion Dim Sum Lunch
Flyers Pre-Race Indian Food Dinner

Despite the race pace challenges, I was moved to tears as I high fived the Wellesley College girls through the scream tunnel, overwhelmed with gratitude at the opportunity to run such an historic race, one in which women only became allowed to run starting in 1972. I gave big hugs and kisses to my family at miles 17 and 25, as they stood out in the pouring rain, cheering me and others on with fervor. I grinned as I caught sight of the infamous CITGO sign, and as we made the right on Hereford and left on Boylston before the finish line.

I finally finished the Boston Marathon 15 years after my marathon journey started. I would not have changed a thing. As one journey ends, another begins.

-Stephanie Tang