The Boston Marathon just became even more elite with Wednesday's announcement from the Boston Athletic Association detailing a new registration procedure and stricter qualifying times, beginning with the 2012 race.
For next year's marathon, the BAA will use a "rolling admission for qualifiers" -- those with the fastest times will be allowed to register first. This will ensure that the "field will be filled with the fastest of all qualifiers," and is in direct response to this year's process, during which the race filled up in a little more than eight hours, leaving thousands of qualifiers unable to register.
Additionally, beginning in 2013, "the BAA will lower qualifying times by five minutes across all age groups and both genders." Both the new registration process and new time requirements will remain in place for all future marathons beyond 2013.
The BAA says that this new policy "is the fairest option" and it "stays true to the marathon's history as a race for qualifiers."
The first day of the 2012 Boston Marathon's rolling admission will open on Sept. 12, 2011, and will be for those who "met the qualifying standards for their age and gender group by 20 minutes or more." The process will continue, with standards lowering each day (e.g. the fifth day is "for those who have met their qualifying standards by five minutes"). If the field is not full after the first week of registration (five days), then a second week will be used, open to all qualifiers beginning Sept. 19. The Week Two application period will remain open until Sept. 23, and will only accept "the fastest among the pool of applicants in their age and gender."
This registration process will be the new standard for Boston Marathons going forward, and beginning with the 2013 race, the BAA will lower its qualifying times, marking the first time standards have been made more difficult since 1980.
The new Boston Marathon Qualifying Times:
|18–34||3hrs 05min||3 hrs 35min|
|35–39||3hrs 10min||3 hrs 40min|
|40–44||3hrs 15min||3 hrs 45min|
|45–49||3hrs 25min||3 hrs 55min|
|50–54||3hrs 30min||4 hrs 00min|
|55–59||3hrs 40min||4 hrs 10min|
|60–64||3hrs 55min||4 hrs 25min|
|65–69||4hrs 10min||4 hrs 40min|
|70–74||4hrs 25min||4 hrs 55min|
|75–79||4hrs 40min||5 hrs 10min|
|80+||4hrs 55min||5 hrs 25min|
I only started running in the summer of 2008, but I've done a couple of marathons since then, and based on these new times, I would qualify for the Boston Marathon ... if I were a 80-year-old man. But since I am in the 18-34 group, I'd have to run it in 3:05 ... that's a 7:03 pace.