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Chasing Boston

Pete Dixon WILL qualify and run in the iconic Boston Marathon! The challenge, he has to shave an hour off of his previous personal record, but he’s got this! Pete is welcoming you along the journey as he reaches for his goal. His hope is that along the way he inspires other people to tackle the seemingly impossible. We can get behind that all day! Afterall, that’s Charlotte Athlete’s mission.

We had a chance to sit down and ask Pete some questions and get a better look into what’s going on in his quest.

What made you decide to pursue qualifying for the Boston Marathon this year? Why Boston vs. the other major marathons like NYC or Chicago?

After completing my first and only Ironman sanctioned race, I thought to myself "what's next?"  The first thing that came to mind that is more difficult than finishing an Ironman is qualifying for Boston.  Sure you can sign up for NYC or Chicago lottery system and get lucky for a chance on the starting line, but Boston requires an extremely difficult (for most) marathon finish time. 

An hour off your PR to qualify; that’s a LOT of time to shave off! What pace do you have to hold to qualify (finishing time)? 

At my current age and shooting for the 2021 Boston Marathon I need to maintain a 7:03 min/mile pace to cross the finish line in under 3:05:00.  That's not accounting for a buffer to beat the actual cutoff time determined by the number of entries.

Plan B if I can’t make the cutoff by the September deadline, I plan to run a marathon in December to (hopefully) qualify for 2022 Boston. This allows an additional 5min as I would “age up” with a new qualifying time of 3:10:00.

Is this the biggest physical challenge you have set for yourself? If not, what tops this??

This is the biggest physical challenge I have set for myself since training for Ironman.  I may be training less hours per week than I was for Ironman, but I am certainly putting in a lot more effort each and every workout.   Additionally, this is the first time I’m attempting to follow a coach designed training plan, whereas in the past, I’ve just winged it.  

What are you doing to train for it? Do you have a coach or a specific plan you’re following? Can you give us a taste of what your training schedule looks like?

I am following a training plan set by coach Sage Canaday whom was recommended by a fellow runner. His plan is never the same from week to week.  Rest days hardly fall on the same day as the week prior.  

I am currently using his half marathon plan as I need to run a 1:32:30 half marathon to qualify for the marathon I’m attempting to BQ at.  If half marathon goes well I will use his full marathon “BQ” plan.  

 Sage Canaday half marathon workout schedule.

Where are your “go to” run groups that you do most weeks where people can catch up with you?

I host my own run group every Wednesday evening on the Little Sugar Creek Greenway near Park South Station neighborhood. This is more of a social friendly group with distances from 2-5 miles and paces from walkers to sub 7min/mile.

I also enjoy running with friends at Flying Biscuit every Sunday morning and the post run pancakes always hit the spot. 

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Who would you say is your biggest fan right now pushing you to stay the course? 

Of course my wife and daughter are my biggest fans!!!

Jayce Watson and Jaime Frade are my number one training partners and accountability team.  They are always willing to run and they’re both way faster than I am. 

Jim Dandro and I have pushed each other to succeed in many different races and events. We created and completed our own Ironman distance, raced an actual Ironman race together, build your own boat competition at the WWC, countless 5k, 8k, 10k, Xterra off road tri’s, Lake Lure Olympiad, the list goes on and on.  This journey would not be complete if Jim wasn’t lining up with me at the starting line in Boston. 

Do you have a marathon targeted on your calendar to get your qualifying time? Why this marathon?

My goal is to qualify at “Last Chance BQ.2” in Grand Rapids, MI.  This allows for the most training time within the current qualification window and also allows for most of my family to be present to support me as Grand Rapids is my home town.  

What other marathons or half-marathons are on your calendar?

March 3rd (LKN half), Sept 12 (Grand Rapids full), Dec 12 (Kiawah Island full)

Other races on the calendar include the Lake Lure Triathlon (Aug 8) and the Kiawah Island  Triathlon (Oct 4th).  

Gear! What shoes are you training / racing in? Have you tried out those new Nike’s? What’s up with those?

I am currently training in Brooks Hyperion (original model) and have purchased a backup pair (3rd pair of this model).  I was able to purchase a pair of Nike Vaporfly Next% shoes that I plan to race the half marathon and ultimately BQ with.  I have yet to put any miles on them but plan to try them on the track prior to Mar 3rd (Lake Norman half) 

The new Nike Alphafly’s look really awkward to me… glad I found the Vaporflys… might even look into the new Brook Hyperion Elite if the Nike’s aren’t right for me.

Boston Marathon Trivia (without researching)

Why is the marathon on a Monday?
Patriots Day!!!

Thanks to Art McDonald for a small correction, and according to The Boston Marathon was held on Patriot's Day April 19th except when the 19th fell on a Sunday. In those cases, it was moved to the following day Monday the 20th. In 1969 the holiday was officially moved to the third Monday in April. Ever since 1969 the race has been held on a Monday.

Why is a unicorn the symbol of the marathon?
Something about the BAA original logo, I think

Correct. It’s a common belief that the unicorn was on the family crest of one of the BAA’s founding members. (Boston Athletic Association)

How did Heartbreak Hill get its name?
No idea, because it crushes the hearts of runners??

It comes from a “heartbreaking” moment in the 1936 race. Ellison Brown from Rhode Island was setting every course record for the 23 of the 26 plus miles. He was more than three minutes above the record pace. On the last of the hills, “mocking hills”, then John Kelly of Arlington crushed a half-mile deficit to catch Brown. Apparently Kelly patted Brown on the shoulder as he went past. In response Brown surged ahead and won at 2:33:40. Jerry Nason, The Boston Globe sports reporter, referenced it as breaking Johnny’s heart which is the way the term “Heartbreak Hill” was termed.
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Ellison “Tarzan” Brown

When were women finally allowed to race?
Not sure, 1956 (guess)

1972… can you believe it? However, Roberta “Bobbi” Gibb was the first woman to run the entire marathon but had to hide in the bushes near the start until the race began in 1966. 

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How do runners qualify?
By running a qualifying marathon pace (based on age and gender) and beat the “cut-off time” which can range from 1min to 5min based on number of applicants and qualifying times, to get the field down to their limits set by the BAA. There are also a limited amount of “charity” entries allowed which I personally feel is “cheating”

Here are the latest Boston Qualifying times

It’s awesome that you started the Instagram account @chasingboston2021 so people can follow you along. What do you hope people get out of it?

I am hoping to inspire others to pursue something that they feel is “impossible.” I feel it also helps me feel accountable as I don’t want to let my family, friends, fans, supporters, down if I fail to achieve this goal. 


There you have it! We’ll keep in touch with Pete but you can also follow along on his Instagram account, @chasingboston2021. Maybe we’ll get a review on those new Nike Vaporfly’s. Until next time…


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