438-pound law student to “bandit” Boston Marathon

That’s actually a misleading headline; Jacob Seilheimer, the law student in question, is indeed enrolled at Franklin Pierce Law School in Manchester, New Hampshire, but prefers to be identified as a beekeeper, and 438 was his maximum weight — he’s down to 358 now. having evidently lost the equivalent of a typical fifth-grader in about three months.
The former Colby College football player, who’s 25 or 26 but doesn’t look a day over 45, will attempt to complete the 26-mile, 385-yard trip from Hopkinton, Mass. to downtown Boston next Monday. If he does, he won’t be listed in the official results, because he’s not registered. That’s because Boston entrants must either qualify for the event by running another marathon under a certain age-graded time or pursue other sanctioned options, e.g., begging one of the local running clubs for at-large entries (mine, the Central Mass Striders, usually receives about 30 from the Boston Athletic Association) or running for an established charity, such the American Leukemia Society.
Every year, a few thousand people tag along at the end of the Boston field as “bandits” — those without race bibs who want to be a part of the action anyway. The BAA does little to discourage the tradition, and some people — in particular those who have fought hard to attain the time-based qualifying standards themselves — are militantly scornful of bandits and wish they would die or disappear.
Seilheimer, although not a true charity entrant, is trying to raise money for the Special Olympics, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and the American Cancer Society, and is detailing his fundrasing and preparatory efforts on his Web site The site, on which he mentions Forrest Gump (don’t they all) and declares “I hate running,” is pretty funny because of its general irreverence and self-deprecation and the sometimes-caustic comments from visitors.
Letsrun.com, that aesthetically sinful, technologically banal hellhole of anonymous sludge-flinging (and the most popular running board on the Web) has an amusing thread about this.

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  1. #1 by jeffk on April 9, 2007 - 10:11 pm

    Wow. I’ve never seen such a population of humorless assholes on a message board.

  2. #2 by Dave Munger on April 9, 2007 - 11:10 pm

    Having just run a half marathon in 1:52 and being quite proud of my accomplishment, I’ll be impressed if this guy finishes at all — 5, 6, 8 hours, who cares? At 210 pounds, I was the heaviest runner I saw. 358 is just unfathomable. But more power to him if he makes it.

  3. #3 by Kevin Beck on April 9, 2007 - 11:23 pm

    You may not see “a lot” of 210-pound runners inmarathons, but they are no longer rare. Marathons have become popular enough, particularly among never runners, so that they more accurately reflect the physicalprofile of the U.S. as a whole.
    Dave, the average finishing time for a half is well over two hours, I believe. Certainly a lot slower than the 8:30 miles you ran. You live in an awesome part of the country for running and I hope you continue to enjoy it.
    I’ll be watching Boston this year from about the 23-mile mark, so if Jacob makes it I don’t think I’ll see him as he’s likely to take a good 7+ hours to reach that point (and maybe an hour just to get to the starting line behind 20,000 official starters).

  4. #4 by Rugosa on April 10, 2007 - 10:42 am

    Funny, Kevin, I had heard the unoffcial runners were called “rabbits,” but that was years ago. I used to think they were pretty cool to take on a marathon, now I think it’s as if SuperBowl fans took to the field and started throwing passes. Pretty silly.

  5. #5 by Dave Munger on April 10, 2007 - 4:00 pm

    Yep, I’m still running. I may even do another half, but I probably won’t be training as hard as I did for the last one. Therefore I doubt I’ll be doing 8:30 miles.

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