The Boston Marathon just announced its registration process for 2012 and beyond:
Apparently it's going to be a rolling-admission (like for college!)
next year starting in mid-September (before 90% of the fall marathons happen). And the times will be 5 minutes faster for all age-groups in 2013 and beyond. With a rolling admission accepting the fastest runners who register, I'm guessing you'll have to be a few minutes faster than the standard to get in...
Thoughts? Discuss! Debate!
After qualifying last year, I was disappointed that I did not register in a timely manner this past Fall. However, I understand it was my fault and my responsibility to register for races before they fill up. I made the wrong assumption that it would be a few weeks (the prior year was 6 or 8 weeks I think) and instead it filled up in hours.
So, while I support them making the standards more difficult, I think it should have been more of a tiered approach. It is much more difficult to go from 3:10 to 3:05 vs 4:00 to 3:55. I also know that adding the number of runners to the race is not possible due to safety restrictions.
I am curious as to how many charity slots they have available. But, also wonder whether they should have a second race in the Fall that would be open for all times.
Boston has had the reputation, but is losing it, of having the most competitive times. But, in the past couple years, the average finish time has been 4 hours.
I do support getting rid of the .59 seconds.
I have no idea whether the 30 minute difference between the male and female times is accurate or not accurate. I imagine they calculated finish times and compared it to age and gender to get the age and gender differentials but really do not know.
Lastly, and I know they conducted extensive research, I think the BAA should have done a better job at releasing this information sooner for people who raced early marathons (such as Miami). I guess they compensated for this by making changes for 2012 but time changes for 2013.
Seems that with the rolling registration, you better qualify 5-10 minutes under your BQ time or risk the race filling up before you get a chance.
Not sure how I feel about the new policy but they had to do something as it was becoming a race to see who could log on and register the fastest... and that's not what it's all about. Nor is charity (as someone has already eluded to).
There are unlimited races one can run to raise money for a good cause. Boston is the pinnacle of the sport and people destroy themselves for years to try to earn their place on the starting line. It makes zero sense to have such a disproportionate percentage of the field (roughly 20%) comprised of charity entrants. That number should go to zero and then let qualifying athletes decide whether or not they want to raise money for chairty. By comparison, Kona has zero charity slots and roughly 10% get in via lottery (or buy their way in).
I'm not an elitist... as anyone who knows me is well aware. This is just common sense.
Do they need to make qualifying standards tougher? I think they're pretty damn tough where they are admit that there is room for discussion. But 5 minutes faster just to qualify??? Or realistically 10-15 minutes faster given the rolling admission policy???
Drop the charity slots and then we'll talk!
My understanding is that there are only about 10% charity slots. However BAA does give out "bibs" to non-qualified runners like police, medical professionals, and local running clubs. From the Boston Globe: "Last year, the number of nonqualifiers reached 5,740, including 2,515 charity runners and 3,225 others who either bought entry numbers from foreign tour operators or were granted invitations by organizers, sponsors, vendors, licensees, consultants, municipal officials, or marketers peddling entries for profit." And Kona does in fact give out bibs to non-qualified, non-lottery racers.
The fact is too runners are qualifying thus the race filled out in 8 hours. The standards had to be tightened or the race risked becoming irrelevant to the hard-core running community.
Matt - I'm with you on this one. One year when I was running Beantown, I met someone who was running for charity and had never run a marathon before. There should at least be some kind of qualifier for those running for charity.
Wow... lots of interesting opinions here!
I think this is another classic example of making a change for the worse. Deep down, everybody who missed this year (myself included) will admit that the old registration process, even though it became a bank run, was still fair. If you wanted in, you should've got your butt up first thing in the morning the day registration went live to sign up. Anyone who waited around to register realizes they don't have a legitimate complaint about the registration process... we can only blame ourselves.
In my opinion, the problem with the old system was that registration opened on Oct 18. Alert readers will point out that none of the fall marathons in the mid-Atlantic (with the exception of Baltimore, which is probably the most challenging course around here!) happened before that date (MCM was Oct 31, New York was Nov 7, Raleigh was Nov 7, Richmond was Nov 13, Philly was Nov 21, and Charlotte was Dec 11). Logically, the best solution would be to keep the old system, but move the registration date back from Oct 18 at 8am to Black Friday at Noon. All of the fall marathons will be over, and nobody has a work excuse for not being able to register that day. Instead, they moved the date forward a month. Consequently, I guess everyone who hasn't qualified yet needs to run a "Boston Qualifier" sometime this spring... that should create a crowd around the 3:05 & 3:10 baloons at the National Marathon on March 26!
BTW... what exactly does a "Boston Qualifier" even mean anymore? I guarantee 3:10:00 will no longer get a 20-something guy in. Best be around 3:05 or faster!
I also agree that the corporate & charity entries should have to hit a qualifying time. 10-20% of the field not qualifying is a significant percentage... afterall, this is the Kentucky Derby of distance running! How do I get my hands on a corporate/charity entry into the US Olympic Trials?
I decided last week I was going to work really hard to qualify for Boston this year. 3:10 is ambitious, but attainable. 2:50 is unreasonable. My dreams are crushed.
I'm all for charity/volunteerism, but there are a lot of other races and 5,500 seems like a lot to me.
You nailed it with the local fall marathons coming AFTER the Boston registration closed out.
I BQ'd at MCM last fall and am now waiting for the 2012 rolling registration. Fortunately, I ran 8:00 under my 3:30:59 qualifying time to gain a bit of an edge. I will say this: longevity in running has its rewards.
I will also say that the NYC Marathon is a much tougher "get," but allowing half marathon qualifying times gives you a few more bites at the Big Apple, whereas repeated swings and misses at marathon distances would burn you out in a hurry.
I would be in favor of implementing charity slot standards, but this "bucket race" mentality creates its own economy. NYCM rewards committed NYRR members, racers, and volunteers. I'd like to run that race, but only as a qualifier. It's just a matter of time!
Seems fair enough. Not much else they could do besides make it more difficult to qualify, as it's already a large race. Running a 3:05 marathon (new 18-34 male time) to qualify is tough, but at the same time it's nearly an entire hour off of the winning times of the race now. The marathon, just like triathlon, continues to grow quickly, which means that small % of athletes that are "fast" is now a much larger total number of people.
The problem is that because the cutoffs were the same for years, we started to believe that these were the gold standard for fast marathons. Obviously, as the event became more popular, it became clear that the true gold standard was somewhat lower.
I, for one, will now have to take 1 hour and 40 minutes off my PR to qualify, which will be significantly harder than 1:35.