Posts Tagged ‘qualifier’

Getting here just got a lot harder

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So, I guess in our heart of hearts we all knew this was coming.  Today, February 16th, the BAA announced that it was revising the registration process for the 2012 Boston Marathon and lowering the qualifying times for the race in 2013.

I have to admit, I have mixed feelings about the BAA’s decision.  I do think that there is something poetic about allowing the fastest runners a better shot at getting into the big race.  I have a hard time arguing against that.  By the same token, I feel for those that have worked for years and years, slowly chipping away at their marathon times to finally squeak in.  Although I did not have to wait years and year, I did essentially get in by the skin of my teeth.  Last October I qualified for Boston by a mere 1:40.  If you go back to look at my race report, you can see the pure joy on my face; the feeling of accomplishment.  I knew I was in.  I knew where I was going to be when registration opened.  That feeling didn’t go away for a very long time.

But what happens now to that runner who does what I did?  Sure, he BQ’s, but what does that mean now, really?  If he or she has just squeaked by the qualifying times, then in all likelihood, that person is NOT going to get to run Boston. 

***A quick rundown of the new procedure from Boston.com***

2012 rolling registration dates

– Day 1 (Sept. 12) – Qualifiers who have met their age and gender qualifying standard (3 hours, 10 minutes for men aged 18-34 and 3 hours, 40 minutes for women 18-34) by a margin of 20 minutes or faster may apply for the marathon.

– Day 3 (Sept. 14) – Qualifiers who have met the standard set for their age/gender by a margin of 10 minutes or faster may apply.

– Day 5 (Sept. 16) – Qualifiers who have met their age/gender qualifying time by a margin of 5 minutes or faster may apply.

– Day 8 (Sept. 19) – Open to all qualifiers to register.

– Day 12 (Sept. 23) – Registration closes for qualified applicants. Registered qualifiers will be notified of their acceptance by Sept. 28.

For 2013, there are new qualifying times

Age Group Men Women
18-34 3:05:00 3:35:00
35-39 3:10:00 3:40:00
40-44 3:15:00 3:45:00
45-49 3:25:00 3:55:00
50-54 3:30:00 4:00:00
55-59 3:40:00 4:10:00
60-64 3:55:00 4:25:00
65-69 4:10:00 4:40:00
70-74 4:25:00 4:55:00
75-79 4:40:00 5:10:00
80+ 4:55:00 5:25:00

The rolling registration also applies to 2013 and beyond.

Essentially, the BAA has lowered the qualifying times for 2012 by 10 – 20 minutes and 15 – 25 minutes for 2013 and beyond.

So what does that mean for me?  It means that for the next 3 years, I have to run a 3:00 marathon before this September and a 2:55 marathon before September 2012 if I want to have any hope of registering on the first day.  If I am going to be optimistic, it means a 3:10 this year and a 3:05 next year if I want to believe there will be space available on the 3rd day of registration.  If I am lucky enough to take 5 minutes off of my PR and run what is essentially a 3:15 (3:10 for 2013 and beyond), I’ll have the privilege of being allowed to join the registration fun on the 5th day.

I wonder what is the likelihood of spots still being available on the 5th day.





Now, I could sit here and bitch.  I could sit here and moan.  I could sit here and cry.

Instead, I am going to count my lucky stars and be thankful that I get to run this year, as a qualifier.  I am half way through my training program.  There are 60 days left between now and April 18th.  I am going to stick my plan and shoot for a 3:15.  2012 looks unlikely for me at this point, as I am unlikely to run a 3:10 at Boston, and I don’t think I will be ready to run another marathon until after registration opens.  Sure, I am BQ’d for 2012, but based on my time from this past October, I am in the last group that gets the opportunity to register, if there are any spots left.  That’s a big “if” even if I do manage a 3:15 this coming April.

So 2012 is likely lost to me, but 2013 is not.  Sometime between this coming September and the following one, I will run another marathon.  I will have a new challenge.  3:15 may be what the qualifying times are for a man of my age, but because of the rolling registration, they have essentially lowered it to 3:05 starting in 2013.


I am up for a challenge.  BAA, you want to make me run a 3:05 so I can run your race? Fine.  Bring it.

In the meantime, I am going to enjoy Boston 2011.

60 days ’til race day!

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Why do you run?

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So last night a good friend and fellow runner informed me that the Boston Marathon had closed registration for the upcoming 2010 event.  This was two months before the record closing from last year.  I had been convinced that I had until mid to late January to run another marathon in an attempt to qualify for this year’s race.   Disney or Miami – those were the two marathons I was looking at.  Based on my performance during the first half of the Manchester Marathon I thought I just had to run smarter and I would be fine.  Despite my awful crash and burn in the second half, I felt like I had learned a thing or two that I could take into the next marathon.

But then my friend emailed me and told me the news.  My first reaction was, “Okay, I can’t qualify for this year’s Boston.  How else can I get in?”  There are many charities that are awarded bib numbers that I could work with.  My friend who emailed me is running for the American Liver Foundation (if you have a moment, please check him out at http://liverrunner.blogspot.com ) and he suggested that there may be a few spots left on his team.  He also suggested running for Dana Farber.  Another running friend mentioned the Doug Flutie Foundation.  I went online and began checking out the various charities, wondering which would offer the easiest path to an official number.  They are all good and well deserving charities.

I never got past the splash pages for any of the charities, some of which are somewhat close to my heart.

The truth is I started this journey, this quest if you will, with one thing in mind.  I wanted to run a marathon and qualify for Boston.  I wanted to be able to say, “I am a Boston Qualifier!”  A few months back I saw a movie called “Spirit of a Marathon”.  The movie followed the paths of several different people, of various running skills, as they prepared for the Chicago Marathon.  One runner in particular put a lump in my throat.  He had run several marathons, always with the hope of qualifying for Boston.  He had had a good training cycle and thought that this year might be the year.

At one point he looks at the camera and says, “there are different levels of runners.  There are runners.  There are marathon runners.  And then there are Boston Qualifiers.”  I got chills hearing that.  My eyes even got a little leaky.  I was completely crushed when later in the documentary he injured himself and was unable to run.

I want to be on that level of Boston Qualifier.  I may never reach it.  I know there are ways to get in that are just as honorable.  There is nothing wrong with running to change and save lives.  It is just not the path that I want to take.

So now I know that I will not be running Boston in 2010.  I will still run part of it.  I plan on pacing my friend through parts of the race.  But I hope to still run Disney in January and run a qualifying time to apply to the 2011 race.  Just like a marathon itself – you get hit with bumps and challenges.  The key is to power through them and achieve the goal.

That is my quest.

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