WEST PALM BEACH, Fl, April 21, 2013 – Interest in running in the 2014 Boston Marathon has skyrocketed over the last several days since the Boston bombings.
Social media is filled with chatter from people stating their interest in running in Boston next year. Raymond Britt, who collates information related to the Boston Marathon, reported on his web site RunTri.com that interest in the race is 15 to 20 times higher now than at any time since 2008.
Runners and non-runners alike hope to show at Boston to lend support to victims and to stand tall against terrorism.
As one runner recently posted on his Facebook account, “They picked the wrong group to mess with. Runners never back down.”
However, participating in the Boston is not as easy as sending in a registration.
To run in the 118th Boston Marathon, scheduled for Monday, April 21, 2014, runners must qualify.
Although the Boston Athletic Association has not yet announced specific plans for the race next year, it almost certainly will continue to require qualification. Some speculate the BAA will increase the limit beyond its usual 25,000 entries, while others believe the BAA will give an automatic pass to those who participated in 2013.
Again, while the BAA may make some changes for next year, the basic policies are likely to remain in tact. The qualifying window for the 2014 Marathon opened on September 22, 2012 and will be open until late September of 2013.
To qualify, runners must first run in the allotted times set by the BAA. Following are the time requirements for the 2014 Marathon. Runners must run under the times listed to gain consideration.
Age Men Women
18-34 – 3hrs 05min – 3hrs 35min
35-39 – 3hrs 10min – 3hrs 40min
40-44 – 3hrs 15min – 3hrs 45min
45-49 – 3hrs 25min – 3hrs 55min
50-54 – 3hrs 30min – 4hrs 00min
55-59 – 3hrs 40min – 4hrs 10min
60-64 – 3hrs 55min – 4hrs 25min
65-69 – 4hrs 10min – 4hrs 40min
70-74 – 4hrs 25min – 4hrs 55min
75-79 – 4hrs 40min – 5hrs 10min
80&up – 4hrs 55min – 5hrs 25min
Even having a qualifying time does not automatically send you to Boston. The only people with qualifying times who are automatically entered into the marathon are those who have also completed the last ten Boston Marathons. Everyone else must wade through the registration process.
Once registration opens, usually in mid-September, the first runners eligible to enter are those who have times 20 minutes under the qualifying times. Two days later, qualifiers 10 minutes under are allowed to register, and two days later, those 5 minutes or under can register.
The second week of registration, anyone with a qualifying time can register.
Registering for the race does not mean you will be allowed to participate. The BAA accepts the fastest runners from this group and notifies them.
If slots are still open after week two, anyone with a qualifying time can register and will be accepted on a first-come-first-serve basis.
The entry fee for the race is $150 for U.S. residents and $200 for international competitors.
Qualifying times for Boston are relatively fast, so qualifying means serious training. Britt analyzed marathon finish times by age groups, looking at the Boston, Chicago and New York marathons. Based on his analysis, the average finish times in those three races is significantly higher than qualifying times in the Boston. For example, the Boston requires women age 45-49 to qualify in 3 hours and 55 minutes, and the average marathon finish for women in that age group is 4 hours and 41 minutes. Men 35-39 qualify with a time under 3 hours and 10 minutes, while the average time for that group is 4 hours and 12 minutes, according to Britt.
If you want to run in Boston next year, start training now. Numerous running books provide marathon training guides, available in book stores and on the Internet. Runners also often gain support from joining a local running club or a virtual running club online.
And remember, if you don’t qualify to run in Boston, you can always go and cheer on the athletes.