Boston Marathon qualifying articles

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Joe Dwarf
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Re: Boston Marathon qualifying articles

Postby Joe Dwarf » Thu Feb 17, 2011 12:42 am

Dstew wrote:I also wonder if they have really solved anything. The top 50-60% should get in without a problem but then there is the mad dash for the last wave of qualifiers and systems will crash and ...
Sure they have. The most qualified people will get in and the rest are in an effective lottery. You could avoid the server load problem by letting everyone register over a period of time and then take the fastest qualifiers out of each age/sex group regardless of when they registered. But then I suspect that would take away the marketing of the "BQ" mystique, as everyone would know that the real BQ was whatever the cutoff happened to be.

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Re: Boston Marathon qualifying articles

Postby greatstrides » Thu Feb 17, 2011 12:45 am

Here's a link to another study of percentages of people that could register at each time (-20, -10, -5).

http://www.runnersworld.com/community/forums/training/marathon-race-training/boston-qualifying-categories-breakdown-many-would-left-out-based-chi09

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Re: Boston Marathon qualifying articles

Postby Double Bellybuster » Thu Feb 17, 2011 5:52 am

Joe Dwarf wrote: But then I suspect that would take away the marketing of the "BQ" mystique...


The adjustment may have been inevitable and a good idea, but part of the mystique is gone for the recreational runner. Someone who is well off a BQ time and may previously have decided to trained for years to qualify may well be more hesitant to decide to train for years to qualify with an even crazier-sounding time...with the qualification then being not to enter but to monitor their computer for a week then potentially have the opportunity to enter.
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Re: Boston Marathon qualifying articles

Postby Tori » Thu Feb 17, 2011 6:59 am

This looks a lot like the system they use in some universities for online registration. The better the marks the earlier you have access to classes.

My question is does this format actually bring the qualifying times more in line with what they were in the 80s/90s, when qualifying was tougher. If I had to qualify in 3:40 and the -20min gets me a 3:20, I actually believe that was the previous qualifying time for my age group back in the day.

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Re: Boston Marathon qualifying articles

Postby MichaelMc » Thu Feb 17, 2011 7:40 am

There were times in "the day" when qualifying times were much slower, too. The times have moved up and down to match demand with available spots.

The most recent qualifying times were arbitrary, as are the new ones: I don't think five minutes has pushed us past some great nexus. People focused on the times and many JUST made them, many will JUST make the new ones too. With a fixed number of total runners running down that long country road and the great popularity of the race the lines need to be drawn somewhere.

As for fairness, well there were lots of people who couldn't make the old qualifying standard too. It sucks to be on the wrong side of it, but if there is going to be "qualifying" there are going to be people who can't.

There is a table showing the history of qualifying at the bottom of this article: http://runningtimes.com/Print.aspx?articleID=19160 (it didn't post well when I tried).

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Re: Boston Marathon qualifying articles

Postby jgore » Thu Feb 17, 2011 7:57 am

The changes were necessary and, I think, are being handled very well. Because more people now qualify than can be accommodated, qualifying at any speed would no longer be a guarantee of getting in under the old system. Despite the fact a lot of people consider the Boston Marathon to be a reward for their efforts, it is still a race. As such, it makes sense that the most qualified be assured entry.


Double Bellybuster wrote:
Joe Dwarf wrote: But then I suspect that would take away the marketing of the "BQ" mystique...

The adjustment may have been inevitable and a good idea, but part of the mystique is gone for the recreational runner. Someone who is well off a BQ time and may previously have decided to trained for years to qualify may well be more hesitant to decide to train for years to qualify with an even crazier-sounding time...with the qualification then being not to enter but to monitor their computer for a week then potentially have the opportunity to enter.

Far from removing the mystique of Boston, the new registration system and faster qualifying times actually increase it. Gaining entry will be even more of an accomplishment because 'the club' becomes a little more exclusive. Yes, I'm talking semantics. I know what you were getting at: it may provide less of an incentive to some recreational runners. That can't be avoided. The good thing is that the criterion for exclusion is speed, a quality inherent to running a race, not something arbitrary like luck-of-the-draw when trying to access an overwhelmed online registration system. The fact that there are age-group qualifying times allows many people to run the race who would not get in if the only restriction was finishing time. The organizers are doing a very good job of trying to balance being as inclusive as possible while being fair to the fastest racers.

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Re: Boston Marathon qualifying articles

Postby Tori » Thu Feb 17, 2011 9:52 am

Here is a link to a Boston newspaper, the story says up to 3,000 weren't able to get in this year and they are expecting about the same number for 2012 who won't get in once registration is filled up.

http://www.boston.com/sports/marathon/a ... s_revised/

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Re: Boston Marathon qualifying articles

Postby HCcD » Thu Feb 17, 2011 10:03 am

Tori wrote:Here is a link to a Boston newspaper, the story says up to 3,000 weren't able to get in this year and they are expecting about the same number for 2012 who won't get in once registration is filled up.

http://www.boston.com/sports/marathon/a ... s_revised/


Not to reopen the debate again ...but, could this not have avoided the 3,000+ qualified runners who did not get in for 2012 ?? :? :?

Organizers said they have no plans to significantly address the large number of nonqualifying participants. 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.

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Re: Boston Marathon qualifying articles

Postby Joe Dwarf » Thu Feb 17, 2011 10:15 am

There were nearly 27,000 entrants last year. If only 3,000 were unable to get in that's not so worse. If 50% of qualifiers are in the last bracket, then the odds of getting through the mad rush go down from 90% to 80%.

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Re: Boston Marathon qualifying articles

Postby Jwolf » Thu Feb 17, 2011 10:29 am

HCcD wrote:
Tori wrote:Here is a link to a Boston newspaper, the story says up to 3,000 weren't able to get in this year and they are expecting about the same number for 2012 who won't get in once registration is filled up.

http://www.boston.com/sports/marathon/a ... s_revised/


Not to reopen the debate again ...but, could this not have avoided the 3,000+ qualified runners who did not get in for 2012 ?? :? :?

Organizers said they have no plans to significantly address the large number of nonqualifying participants. 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.



Not to open the debate again... but...

It's hard for qualifying runners to understand, but these non-qualifying entries are very important to the whole Boston Marathon machine and the local communities. Without the support of local communities, the race would not be able to happen.
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Re: Boston Marathon qualifying articles

Postby kaybee » Thu Feb 17, 2011 10:37 am

Joe Dwarf said:
“The most qualified people will get in and the rest are in an effective lottery. You could avoid the server load problem by letting everyone register over a period of time and then take the fastest qualifiers out of each age/sex group regardless of when they registered.”

And later, “then the odds of getting through the mad rush go down from 90% to 80%.”

I may be misunderstanding what you are saying, but there is not a lottery in the second week and server problems should not be an issue because, if I understand them correctly, they are going to do what you suggested: " letting everyone register over a period of time and then take the fastest qualifiers out of each age/sex group regardless of when they registered".

My understanding for the 2nd week of the registration process is it does not matter at which point during that week you register, it is not first come first serve. They will take all those who register during that week (those within 5 min of their BQ time and those who were faster but didn’t register in the 1st week) and, at the end of that week, select the fastest runners from each age group until the remaining spots are filled (so your time does still matter ), notifying those who were accepted at the end.

Their words:
“If the field size is not reached after the first week and additional space remains, then registration will open to all qualifiers at the beginning of Week Two (September 19) and those who have met the qualifying standards by any amount of time will be able to apply for entry. The application process will remain open for the entire week, closing on September 23. At the conclusion of Week Two, those who are the fastest among the pool of applicants in their age and gender will be accepted. Accepted athletes will be notified on September 28.”

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Re: Boston Marathon qualifying articles

Postby ian » Thu Feb 17, 2011 10:52 am

Jwolf wrote:Not to open the debate again... but...

It's hard for qualifying runners to understand, but these non-qualifying entries are very important to the whole Boston Marathon machine and the local communities. Without the support of local communities, the race would not be able to happen.

Absolutely. Also, the race capacity can't be pushed any higher because of certain bottlenecks, and because a lot of the non-qualifying entrants are towards the back of the pack, they likely affect the bottlenecks differently. It's not safe to assume that every non-qualifying entrant could simply be replaced with a qualifying one. We runners can be a self-entitled bunch sometimes, but the BAA doesn't owe us anything.

kaybee wrote:The application process will remain open for the entire week, closing on September 23. At the conclusion of Week Two, those who are the fastest among the pool of applicants in their age and gender will be accepted.

Despite the uncertainty of an unknown cutoff, I like this better than a Monday morning web stampede.

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Re: Boston Marathon qualifying articles

Postby canalrunner » Thu Feb 17, 2011 11:10 am

Let's just view it as an Olympic qualifying standard. To go to the Olympics you need to meet certain time standards in the marathon, if there are more who meet that standard than there are spots on the team then they go by the fastest qualfiers. Still impressive to qualify for the Olympics, still impressive to BQ.

Will be interesting to see what the actual BQ times are this year for participants and whether it varies by age group/gender. Good judge whether 5 minutes is the right time reduction.
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Re: Boston Marathon qualifying articles

Postby Joe Dwarf » Thu Feb 17, 2011 11:16 am

kaybee wrote:Their words:
“If the field size is not reached after the first week and additional space remains, then registration will open to all qualifiers at the beginning of Week Two (September 19) and those who have met the qualifying standards by any amount of time will be able to apply for entry. The application process will remain open for the entire week, closing on September 23. At the conclusion of Week Two, those who are the fastest among the pool of applicants in their age and gender will be accepted. Accepted athletes will be notified on September 28.”
Whoops, missed that bit. So there's more motivation to strive - even if you don't make the next group, you improve your chances.

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Re: Boston Marathon qualifying articles

Postby kaybee » Thu Feb 17, 2011 11:18 am

ian wrote:Despite the uncertainty of an unknown cutoff, I like this better than a Monday morning web stampede.


I agree. Registration for 2011 was crazy.

2011 will be my last Boston Marathon as I am within 5 min of the current qualifying time, and I am no longer motivated to push myself that hard to try to qualify again. However, I think what they have done is fair.

I do feel bad for those who did get the 2012 qualifying time but won't know if they are in depending on how things pan out in September.

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Re: Boston Marathon qualifying articles

Postby HCcD » Thu Feb 17, 2011 11:27 am

canalrunner wrote:Let's just view it as an Olympic qualifying standard. To go to the Olympics you need to meet certain time standards in the marathon, if there are more who meet that standard than there are spots on the team then they go by the fastest qualfiers. Still impressive to qualify for the Olympics, still impressive to BQ.

Will be interesting to see what the actual BQ times are this year for participants and whether it varies by age group/gender. Good judge whether 5 minutes is the right time reduction.


Unless, you are in Canada, where they have a higher qualifying standard than the Olympic qualifying standard ... and, you have a good shot a podium spot or at least finishing in the Top 8-10, apparently ... :? :shifty: :wink: :roll:
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Re: Boston Marathon qualifying articles

Postby Double Bellybuster » Thu Feb 17, 2011 11:41 am

jgore wrote:Far from removing the mystique of Boston, the new registration system and faster qualifying times actually increase it. .


Not with me. The previous times were something I felt potentially attainable, but not likely, for me down the road with a couple more years of dedication and improvement. But an extra five minutes, combined with uncertainty of grabbing the prize once there, put qualifying beyond what I can view as even remotely attainable. And this isn't a mental block - I am currently broken down from training for and attaining a PB time in November...that was still 23 minutes off a BQ time.

And that is not to say this isn't an appropriate decision by the race at all, it seems logical and reasonable.

But for me, qualifying at age 39, or 44 as a more attainable plan B, after I got off the couch at 35 just does not seem attainable. And thus the mystique, for me only, has gone from signifciant two days ago to 0. I will make myself a note to think about this again in five years. Perhaps the mystique will have some life to this recreational runner at that time.
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Re: Boston Marathon qualifying articles

Postby RayMan » Thu Feb 17, 2011 11:42 am

Isn't this system similar to how people qualify for Ironman Hawaii - a kind of rolldown system? It seems to me the fairest way to determine who gets to go, and who doesn't...and yeah it makes Boston brutal to get into again.

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Re: Boston Marathon qualifying articles

Postby mcshame » Thu Feb 17, 2011 12:25 pm

The mystique of Boston....

I feel for you BB, I can understand that the standard getting tighter is disappointing, but how does it reduce the mystique? I am so wanting to run in the Boston Marathon and that was even true prior to even believe that it was even possible for me. If I was not able to qualify and run in it, I would still be feel the mystique, the "wow" for the people that got there.

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Re: Boston Marathon qualifying articles

Postby Double Bellybuster » Thu Feb 17, 2011 1:38 pm

mcshame wrote:The mystique of Boston....

I feel for you BB, I can understand that the standard getting tighter is disappointing, but how does it reduce the mystique?


Not sure why it doesn't pain me to give up for a while or perhaps forever. I've never been in attendance. Not sure that I've ever watched on TV as I always work that day. I've never been close enough to the standard that I've targeted it for the following year.

But I won't question it, it is good. I will happily put my effort toward races that will have me. I imagine that if I ever get within 10-15 minutes of a BQ time, folks will ask me "Is that a qualifying time?" and I will think of it again. But for me, I guess the mystique was all tied to feasibility as it was a number to attain not an event I attend or watch.

BTW, just my thoughts. I greatly respect and admire the accomplishment of all you folks here who have qualified for Boston. Be proud, you rock.
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Re: Boston Marathon qualifying articles

Postby Strider » Thu Feb 17, 2011 2:01 pm

I like it.

So here is my Story. My next Marathon is slated to be Wineglass in the fall (running a bunch of stoopid trail races before then), and being 50 y/o goal time was under the old qualification 3:35:59. Now with the change I won't be able to try and register for the 2012 Boston, it will be 2013, and the time I have to run is 3:30. That said ideally I'd like to leave myself some buffer and aim for a more guaranteed time sub-3:25 or better yet, sub-3:20. So rather than coasting to and through Wineglass, I am going to have to work my butt off and have a hell of a race, and I LOVE IT. Boston to me has always been about the goal and the effort to get there and now to be able to go back for the 4th time I have to put it all out there. Make wearing that Jacket all the more sweet.

But first I need to get my JFKQ ;)
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Re: Boston Marathon qualifying articles

Postby mcshame » Thu Feb 17, 2011 2:04 pm

Strider wrote:I like it.

So here is my Story. My next Marathon is slated to be Wineglass in the fall (running a bunch of stoopid trail races before then), and being 50 y/o goal time was under the old qualification 3:35:59. Now with the change I won't be able to try and register for the 2012 Boston, it will be 2013, and the time I have to run is 3:30. That said ideally I'd like to leave myself some buffer and aim for a more guaranteed time sub-3:25 or better yet, sub-3:20. So rather than coasting to and through Wineglass, I am going to have to work my butt off and have a hell of a race, and I LOVE IT. Boston to me has always been about the goal and the effort to get there and now to be able to go back for the 4th time I have to put it all out there. Make wearing that Jacket all the more sweet.

But first I need to get my JFKQ ;)


Love this post :D That's what it's all about

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Re: Boston Marathon qualifying articles

Postby Double Bellybuster » Thu Feb 17, 2011 2:17 pm

Sounds like the course it going to get a motivated Strider, good stuff and look out course. But what is this acronym?

Strider wrote:But first I need to get my JFKQ ;)


Just for Kicks Qualification?
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Re: Boston Marathon qualifying articles

Postby Strider » Thu Feb 17, 2011 2:27 pm

JFKQ is the Qualification for the JFK 50 miler. They haven't posted the qualification standards for 2011 registration yet, but last year for 2010 they were pretty tough. If I remember correctly it was a sub-9 hour 50miler or sub 3:30 marathon for 50 and over. (imagine what it was for you young folks). There is a lottery for those who don't meet the standards, but I have already been rejected in one lottery this year.

Off topic, but my plan was to try for sub-9:00 at Seaton, but looking at the course I think it would be next to impossible. So the plan now is to run the 53km at Seaton and go for the sub-9:00 at Sulphur. This leaves me with no chance of being able to run a sub-3:30 marathon if I don't make it. All the Eggs, One Basket.
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Re: Boston Marathon qualifying articles

Postby Cupcake Girl » Thu Feb 17, 2011 2:40 pm

I've abandoned all hope of qualifying for Boston, at least before I retire and I ain't talking Freedom 55.

I had a nice little plan going that would have seen me cruise to qualification at age 45. Not now. Oh well. I just can't wrap my head around busting my kaboose for something I am just not physically capable of doing. When I started running, way back when, Boston was always that brass ring. Now, nothing. And I can't say I love the training and racing so much I'll run marathons for fun. That is not my relationship with that distance.

I am guaranteed into New York next year. That will be my marathon swan song.

Ironman, here I come. :dance: And I know Kona is beyond unrealistic, so no dreams there.


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