There has been a lot of talk lately about whether or not the B.A.A. will adjust the Boston Marathon qualifying times. There's a lot of people out there that feel the times are too relaxed, or that the gap between gender qualifying times are to large, or that they shouldn't allow so many charity runners. I personally think the times are perfect how they are, but that's probably because I only qualified by 35 seconds! The real reason why all these people are voicing their opinions is because last year, the Boston Marathon sold out in a little over 8 hours. That left a lot of people who didn't get a chance to register, and therefor pretty grumpy.
Well all of those grumpy people got their way today. The B.A.A. made an announcement today that they are not only adjusting the qualifying times for future races, started in 2013 (whew! I'm safe!), but they are also adjusting the registration process. Here's a cut and paste of the article:
BOSTON – The Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.) announced today a change in its registration process for the Boston Marathon, allowing the fastest qualifiers to enter the earliest and with a rolling admissio...n system while also offering all eligible runners an increased registration period. The changes in registration are a response by the B.A.A. to greater than ever demand by runners to gain entry into the Boston Marathon and culminate more than three months of analysis, including input from the running industry. Rather than accepting runners who have met the qualifying standards on a first come, first served approach, a more systematic, performance-based process will be employed.
2012 Boston Marathon
For the 2012 Boston Marathon, registration will extend for two weeks, beginning on Monday, September 12, 2011 and continuing until Friday, September 23, 2011. The qualifying times for the 2012 Boston Marathon will not change from recent past years since the standards had been previously announced and have been in effect since last September. However, the new registration process addresses the increased demand among qualified runners to participate in the Boston Marathon and will accommodate those who are the fastest qualifiers first.
Registration will occur on a “rolling admission” schedule until the maximum field size is reached, beginning with the fastest qualifiers. On the first day of registration for the 2012 Boston Marathon, those who are eligible for entry by having met the qualifying standards for their age and gender group by 20 minutes or more will be able to enter on the first day of registration (September 12). On the third day (September 14), registration will open for those who have met their qualifying standards by 10 minutes or more. On the fifth day (September 16), registration will open for those who have met their qualifying standards by five minutes or more. During this first week of registration, applicants will be notified as they are accepted and their qualifying performance verified.
If the field size is not reached after the first week and additional space remains, then registration will open to all qualifiers at the beginning of Week Two (September 19) and those who have met the qualifying standards by any amount of time will be able to apply for entry. The application process will remain open for the entire week, closing on September 23. At the conclusion of Week Two, those who are the fastest among the pool of applicants in their age and gender will be accepted. Accepted athletes will be notified on September 28.
If space remains available after this two week process, registration will remain open to any qualifier on a first come, first served basis until the maximum field size is reached.
The field size for the 2012 Boston Marathon will not represent a significant increase from the most recent years.
Registration Process for the 2012 Boston Marathon
Date registration opens for runners with times...
September 12, 2011 20 min., 00sec. or more below their qualifying time (based on age/gender)
September 14, 2011 10 min., 00 sec. or more below their qualifying time (based on age/gender)
September 16, 2011 5 min., 00 sec. or more below their qualifying time (based on age/gender)
September 19, 2011 All Qualified Runners
September 23, 2011 Registration closes for qualified applicants
September 28, 2011 (appx) Qualifiers from entry during second week of registration are notified of their acceptance.
If the field is not filled at the conclusion of the two weeks, then registration will remain open and qualifiers will be accepted on a first come, first served basis until the maximum field size is reached.
2013 Boston Marathon
For the 2013 Boston Marathon, in addition to the new “rolling admission” process for registration which will be in effect for the 2012 Boston Marathon, the B.A.A. will adjust the qualifying times by lowering them by five minutes from the times which have been in effect in recent past years. The adjusted qualifying times will go into effect on September 24, 2011, and are as follows:
2013 Qualifying Times (effective September 24, 2011)
Age Group Men Women
18-34 3hrs 05min 00sec 3hrs 35min 00sec
35-39 3hrs 10min 00sec 3hrs 40min 00sec
40-44 3hrs 15min 00sec 3hrs 45min 00sec
45-49 3hrs 25min 00sec 3hrs 55min 00sec
50-54 3hrs 30min 00sec 4hrs 00min 00sec
55-59 3hrs 40min 00sec 4hrs 10min 00sec
60-64 3hrs 55min 00sec 4hrs 25min 00sec
65-69 4hrs 10min 00sec 4hrs 40min 00sec
70-74 4hrs 25min 00sec 4hrs 55min 00sec
75-79 4hrs 40min 00sec 5hrs 10min 00sec
80 and over 4hrs 55min 00sec 5hrs 25min 00sec
*Unlike previous years, an additional 59 seconds will NOT be accepted for each age group time standard.
Registration for the 2013 Boston Marathon will begin on Monday, September 10, 2012.
“As the number of qualified runners has increased combined with greater demand to run the Boston Marathon, our new registration process enables those who qualify by the greatest amount of time to have the longest period to enter,” said Tom Grilk, B.A.A. Executive Director. “Our new registration process takes into consideration the many comments we received from runners this past fall and winter, most of whom urged the B.A.A. to institute a system which recognizes athletic performance above all else.”
Additionally, to recognize and to encourage longtime Boston Marathon entrants, the B.A.A. will allow those who have met the qualifying times and who have finished the last ten consecutive Boston Marathons to enter anytime during the registration period. Currently, there are approximately 500 runners who have run 10 or more consecutive Boston Marathons.
The B.A.A. last adjusted the qualifying times for the 2003 Boston Marathon, relaxing times for runners who were 55 years old and older. The last time the qualifying times were made more stringent was for the 1980 Boston Marathon.
The 2011 Boston Marathon reached its maximum field size of qualifiers faster than any previous year when qualifiers rushed to fill the race and the qualified field closed in eight hours, three minutes.
When I started reading this article, and I got to the part about the fastest qualifiers will be allowed to register first, I thought, "Sweet! That's gotta be me since my age group has the fastest qualifying time." But then I read on, and began to realize that I will most likely get left out from the 2012 Boston Marathon. They are allowing the fastest runners by age group. So everyone in my age group that finished in 2:50:59 will get to register on day one, 3:00:59 on day 3, 3:05:59 on day 5, and everyone under 3:10:59 beginning on week 2. Doesn't sound like a bad deal, but for my age group, under 2:50 isn't that crazy. They will allow registration on week 2 (when I'm allowed to register) only if the field doesn't fill up by then. I will have my fingers and toes crossed!
What happens if I don't get to register? I'm basically out of luck. I'll still be able to say that I am a Boston Qualifier, but not a Boston Finisher. My qualifying time will not carry over for the 2013 race. Could I qualify again? Maybe. Only this time, instead of finishing in 3:10:59 or less, I need to finish in 3:05:00 or less. I did run a half marathon before I ran my qualifying race, so it's possible. I'm just going to have to train assuming that I don't get registered and now need a faster qualifying time. The other catch is, if I barely squeak by each year to qualify, I'll be in the same situation each year...I'll be in the last group to register, hoping it doesn't fill up before I get a chance to register.
So, instead of "Boston here we come!" it's now "Boston here we come?".