Qualifying for Boston
Qualifying for Boston--Is it attainable?
Every year and at every qualifying marathon there are thousands of hopes dashed after runners find that all their training, hard efforts and time were for naught. They either missed the qualifying time by a few minutes or seconds or they made the time cut only to find that the registration process will not allow them in. What motivates runners to the point of training themselves into the ground in some cases just to meet the ever rising standards to get in to Boston? Is it the crowds, the history behind it, or maybe just the fact that it is tough to get into to begin with?
Whatever your reasons, with the new qualifying standards that are now in effect you are going to have to train harder than ever to have a chance at this elusive goal. After selling out in a record 8 hours, and 3 minutes back in October of 2010, the BAA decided to up the anti and make it even tougher to get in. As of September 2011, the staggered registration process went into effect. Basically it works like this:
Day 1: Qualifiers who have met their age and gender qualifying standard by a margin of 20 minutes or faster may register.
Day 3:Qualifiers who have met their age\gender standard by a margin of 10 minutes or faster may register.
Day 5:Runners who have met their qualifying time for their age\gender by a margin of 5 minutes or faster may apply.
Day:8:Open to all Qualifiers to register.
Day:13: Registration closes
Registration for the 2012 Boston Marathon closed on Sept. 23, 2011.
According to the BAA, the staggered registration process will remain in effect for the 2013 Boston Marathon, but the times themselves will be a little more stringent. Here are the Qualifying times for the 2013 Boston Marathon: (source:BAA)
Age:18-34------Men3hrs 05min 00sec] Women--3hrs 35min 00sec
Age:35-39------Men3hrs 10min 00sec] Women--3hrs 40min 00sec
Age:40-44------Ment3hrs 15min 00sec] Women--3hrs 45min 00sec
Age:45-49------Men3hrs 25min 00sec]Women--3hrs 55min 00sec
Age:50-54-------Men3hrs 30min 00sec]Women--4hrs 00min 00sec
Age:55-59-------Men3hrs 40min 00sec]Women--4hrs 10min 00sec
Age:60-64-------Men3hrs 55min 00sec]Women--4hrs 25min 00sec
Age:65-69--------Men4hrs 10min 00sec]Women--4hrs 40min 00sec
Age:70-74--------Men4hrs 25min 00sec]Women4hrs 55min 00sec
Age:75-79--------Men4hrs 40min 00sec]Women--5hrs 10min 00sec
Age:80 and over--Men4hrs 55min 00sec]Women--5hrs 25min 00sec
Unlike previous years, an additional 59 seconds will NOT be accepted for each age group time standard.
So, there you have it. Are the new times fair to everyone? Some runners don't think so and have outwardly protested these standards, but rather you agree with them or not, it looks like they are here to stay. Either way Boston remains the "creme du la creme" of marathons and it is quite possible that the harder it is to attain this goal, the more attractive it becomes. The BAA has done well in preserving their 'elitist' status and I know I am not alone in having this on my bucket list. Any other marathon, in my opinion, is just that, another marathon.