The Boston Marathon, one of the most prestigious marathon events in the nation, is coming up on April 20, 2015. Most avid runners aspire to participate in this event each year and in some ways, it is the pinnacle of marathon events for some. With that in mind, it brings up the question… what qualifications do you actually need to participate? Most runners hear “Oh, I’m training for Boston…” or “I’m looking for a Boston qualifier”. It is obviously an elite marathon event given the exclusivity and popularity. Therefore, what are the requirements and is it something feasible for the “regular” runner and competitor? And how do you qualify with the events offered in the Reno and Lake Tahoe area?
First off, history lesson….
The Boston Marathon is held on the third Monday of April each year in honor of Patriot’s Day. Beginning in 1897, it is the world’s oldest annual marathon and one of the most well-known road racing events for professional and amateur athletes. Participants in the race come from all over the world and it attracts nearly half a million spectators each year, which makes it the most widely viewed sporting events in New England each year. I know… I would’ve thought Boston Red Sox, New England Patriots, or the Boston Celtics would be dominating here… but no, running prevails.
Given the popularity and history of the running event, it is obviously also recognized for it’s exclusivity. Each participant is required to participate in a marathon event that has been determined to be certified by a national governing body affiliated with the International Association of Athletics Federations within approximately 18 months prior to the date of the desired Boston Marathon.
That’s not all… participants are also required to be over the age of 18 and have specific qualifying times based on an age-gender time scale. The event is capped at 20,000 spots and the fastest qualifiers are given priority for registration. The following are the minimum times for each age-gender group (2016 Marathon Qualifier):
There are exceptions to these qualifications as some runners will be admitted to run the event based on a certain amount of race entries designated to charities, sponsors, vendors, local running clubs, marketers, and other groups. I wouldn’t bank on these exceptions though, as the accomplishment really lies in achieving the qualifying time within the designated 18 month window prior to the annual event.
If you’re looking to qualify for the event, one event really comes to mind as a certified Boston Qualifier and that is the Downtown River Run. Conveniently this event is being held this weekend, April 12th. If you’re looking to participate in a close-to-home event, or an event that just offers some beautiful scenery for the Truckee River and downtown Reno, and qualify for the Boston Marathon, I would suggest this one!!
Please share if you’re running this weekend and it’s your shot at a qualifier. It would be great to hear from those that are looking at getting to Boston.