Do You Have What it Takes to Qualify for Boston -- and the other Marathon Majors?
Every runner knows the Boston Marathon is one of the most prestigious, hardest to get into races in the world. You don't just register for Boston. You have to qualify by running a marathon under a certain time threshold, as determined by your age on race day. (Click here to see the Boston Marathon qualifying times for 2019.)
Mind you, registering for most popular big-city marathons, especially the other five Abbott World Marathon Majors -- the Berlin, Chicago, London, New York City and Tokyo marathons -- isn't much easier. Those races have lotteries with so many entrants each year, that the odds of getting in are often lower than the odds of getting into an Ivy League university.
Of the 105,184 applicants for non-guaranteed entry to the 2018 New York City Marathon, for example, only 15,640 were accepted: less than 15%. And the chances are only getting worse as more and more hopefuls throw their hats into the lottery drawings: 386,050 people applied to run the London Marathon in 2018, 29% more than the 253,930 applicants for the 2017 event.
In recent years, however, the marathon majors have been rolling out qualification standards that, similarly to those of the Boston Marathon, give runners who meet a certain finish-time criteria a chance to forego the lottery.
This year, the Chicago Marathon used a time-qualifying standard for the first time; 40-49-year-old men, for example, could have secured their entry with a marathon time of 3:25 or faster, while for women in the same age group, the qualifying time was 3:55. The London Marathon offered UK residents the opportunity to apply for Good for Age entries; 18- to 40-year-old women, for example, qualified with a 3:45 or faster marathon finish. And the New York City Marathon gives runners a chance to apply for guaranteed entry with a marathon or half marathon time. A 40- to 44-year-old female runner, for example, could apply with a 3:26 or faster marathon, or a 1:37 or faster half-marathon. (Finishers of local NYRR races get priority, so it's not a 100% guarantee that you'd get in if you run the required time elsewhere.)
Would you like to find out whether your marathon finish time qualifies you for any of the world marathon majors? Fill out the form below: