Starting last week, the registration process for the 2012 Boston Marathon was open. This year, instead of the first come/first served approach that seemed to not work out so well in the past, the Boston Athletic Association devised a new strategy. Everything was going to be based off of how much a person beat their given Boston Qualifying time by (now being referred to as BBQ-XX...beaten Boston qualifying by XX time). For me, since my required time was 3:10, and the BAA allows a 59 second grace period, my designation is actually BQ+:25, being that my time was 3:10:25.
Nobody was really sure how this new registration process would play out, and if it was going to be fair. I say it's not, only because I may have had a chance to actually get accepted had it still been a first come/first served method. Realistically, however, this process does seem to be much better. The only real downside is that those of us who are near the end of the list really don't know if our time was good enough. This is where the forums come in to play...
All throughout last week, and now into this week, there has been a few forums that have attempted to track submission numbers (submission number meaning that you applied to be accepted into the race, not actually accepted and registered). The main one that I have been following was on Runner's World. It seems like they've done a pretty good job at gathering numbers and making graphs/predictions on how many people will register. And it's because of these nice people that I really haven't gotten my hopes up, at all.
Some people thought that registration would fill up during the first week, and in order to be able to actually register for the 2012 race, you would have needed to beat your BQ by 5:00 or more. Surprisingly, we made it through week one with some spots to spare. There were approximately 15,500 people that submitted to be accepted during the first week. Assuming all of these people are accepted, that leaves anywhere between 3,000 to 8,000 slots for the rest of us slow pokes. Nobody knows how many slots will be available, because the BAA hasn't made that public. Last year, there was about 19,000 qualified runners and 5,000 or so charity runners. The ball is really in the BAA's court to either let in more qualified runners, or keep more spots for the charity runners. Only time will tell.
For me, I absolutely filled out that submission form first thing Monday morning, as did a ton of other people. As of this writing, which is about 3:30 pm Arizona time, the total number of submitting applicants is around 22,000. Needless to say, I'm pretty sure the BAA won't all 3,000 more qualified runners than last year. That would be a huge increase, and there's not really any extra room on the narrow streets of Boston.
But, for now I can only watch the forums and play the waiting game. The general assumption is that just about everyone will have registered by the end of today (Monday), so the numbers should change a ton by the end of the week. So there may be a small chance, but I'd say it's about a 1% chance that I get in, based on the numbers that people are throwing out there. It would be interesting to find out how many people do get turned away, and maybe I would be part of a small select group! (just not really the group I was hoping...) Only time will tell!