I recently learned why the Boston Athletic Association chose a Unicorn for its official symbol. My running friends and I adopted “U for Unicorn” as our official meeting place after races having no idea that the BAA used a unicorn symbol or the meaning behind it.
“Chosen by the founding members of the Boston Athletic Association in 1887 10 years before the inaugural Boston Marathon, the Unicorn is believed to have been chosen as the organization’s symbol due to its place in mythology. In Chinese and other mythologies, the Unicorn represents an ideal: something to pursue that can never be caught. In pursuit of the Unicorn, however, athletic competitors can approach excellence even if they can never achieve it. It is this pursuit to push oneself to his or her own limit and to the best of one’s ability that is at the core of athletics. As the marathon matured, the B.A.A. decided that the Unicorn would be the appropriate symbol for the marathon.”