What does it take to qualify for the Boston Marathon?

Las Vegas Professional Photographer IMG 7225

The Boston Marathon is the mother of all road running races. Many runners strive to merely qualify for the race, with the added hopes that they’ll be accepted through a nail-biting lottery process to actually run the race.

Let me give you a little back story… I first met Stephanie in the Las Vegas Runners Meetup group (which by the way is one of the coolest groups ever and one of the largest running groups in Las Vegas and if you’re in the area you should join us on Saturday mornings… just sayin’). One of my earlier memories, is when I saw her after the run on a bench with frozen peas on her knees.

Stephanie with frozen peas on her knees.

Stephanie with frozen peas on her knees.


I couldn’t comprehend how she would be out running if she was in such bad shape that she had to put frozen vegetables on her knees. I know now it’s because of her determination to finish, to get through whatever it takes to get her goal.

Stephanie's current Facebook wall photo shows a reflection of her determination.

Stephanie’s current Facebook wall photo shows a reflection of her determination.


Her enthusiasm for giving her dreams all she has is contagious. Her qualifying race was the Mountains 2 Beach in California. It’s a mostly downhill race, and for the past few years, a number of members from the Las Vegas Runners would go. Some to run the full, some the half, and some to support friends and family in the race.

For her training season, she started a [rogue] group on Saturday mornings for those who were running the same race, or one near the same time. (I say rogue because most of us were from the Las Vegas Runners that ran together on those Saturday mornings.) She says she started the group so she wouldn’t have to run those longer runs alone.

“Life is all about choices.” ~Stephanie Virding

She planned routes and let us stay after for breakfast and recovery drinks. Her husband, Tom, was our driver to the starting points. It was called #jennsbus because our friend, Jenn, who also ran these mornings, let us borrow her SUV so we could all go together to the start and be picked up when were done.

Stephanie's Long Run Group

Stephanie’s Long Run Group. Photo by her husband, Tom.


Race day came and all of us were ready. Especially Stephanie. She had battled injuries and mental roadblocks, all of which had been squashed on her path to qualify for the Boston Marathon. She will tell you that she didn’t earn the race. She had one of those races that runners fear, thoughts and physical hurdles tried to keep her from finishing. But she DID earn the race, finished, and qualified for the Boston Marathon!

Stephanie is one of my closest friends and I am so extremely honored to be able to document part of her incredible journey.



Leave a Comment