Running - Event

Boston Marathon 2018: The Big Daddy of all Marathons

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To be able to take part in the prestigious Boston Marathon is like a dream come true for all runners. What makes this marathon stand apart from any other marathon in the world is the fact that this is the oldest and fastest annual marathon in the world. Such is the prestige of this event that participants have to pass strict requirements to be able to qualify for Boston Marathon registration.

Considered to be the holy grail of all running events, this marathon is nothing short of a golden feather in the participant’s cap. It is organized by the Boston Athletic Association (BAA). Let us browse through the details of this event so that you can motivate yourself to take part in it.

Brief History of Boston Marathon

The first Boston Marathon was held in 1897 and has remained the most sought-after event in the running world. It is the concluding event of the BAA Games. It takes place on Patriot’s Day in the USA, a day to commemorate the American struggle for liberty, that falls on the third Monday of April. Initially, it was a free event but gained monetary perks later on.

boston athletic association
Boston Athletic Association Logo (Source)

Until 1924, the marathon covered a distance of 24.5 miles, but after the standardization of 26.2 miles as the official marathon distance, the course for Boston Marathon was extended to cover the additional distance. It was not until 1972 that women ran this marathon.

This event has been part of many controversies since it began, some of the most popular ones are discussed below.

  • In 1980, a female runner merged into the crowd shortly after the start of the race and made her way through them to reach the end of the course, where she came out of the crowd and started running on the course. This led to her disqualification later on.
  • Many runners have reportedly died on this track, in different editions of the race.
  • The men’s record in 2011 did not make its place in the world records despite being the fastest runner in the history of marathons till that date. This was because the course did not qualify as one for the record due to the elevation drop and the tailwinds at the end of the course.
  • Also, in 2013, the event witnessed bombings at the finishing line.

Did you know?
The Boston Marathon is iconic for a reason—it's both the oldest (dating back to 1897) and the fastest (median time of 3:44) marathon in the country.

Entry Requirements: Marathon Course

The first requirement for entry to the Boston Marathon is to complete a standard course for marathons that is certified by the International Association of Athletics Federation within 18 months prior to the Boston Marathon for which entry is sought.

Entry Requirements: Boston Qualifying Times

The prestige of the Boston Marathon is evident by the fact that you need to have a great running record at some other marathons to be eligible for registration. Since its inception in 1897, many changes have been made in the criteria that make a runner eligible for participating in this marathon.

The current set of Boston qualifying times, based on the age of the runner are as follows:

  • 18- 34 years- 03:05h (men) and 03:35h (women)
  • 35- 39 years- 03:10h (men) and 03:40h (women)
  • 40- 44 years- 03:15h (men) and 03:45h (women)
  • 45-49 years- 03:25h (men) and 03:55h (women)
  • 50- 54 years- 03:30h (men) and 04:00h (women)
  • 55-59 years- 03:40h (men) and 04:10h (women)
  • 60- 64 years- 03:55h (men) and 04:25h (women)
  • 65-69 years- 04:10h (men) and 04:40h (women)
  • 70-74 years- 04:25h (men) and 04:55h (women)
  • 75- 79 years- 04:40h (men) and 05:10h (women)
  • 80 years and above- 04:55h (men) and 05:25h (women)

According to the latest update form the BAA, the cut-off for Boston Marathon 2018 entry is 3 minutes 23 seconds.

This means that regardless of their age and gender, runners must have a qualifying time at least 3 minutes and 23 seconds faster than that mentioned in the table above.

Did you know?
Women were officially excluded from the race until 1972. 

It is to be noted that some runners who enroll for the Boston Marathon do not need these qualifying times. This is only for those runners who are taking part as Boston Marathon Charity drives, or for vendors, municipal officials, sponsors, local running clubs etc. A fixed number of running spots are reserved for these runners every year.

Check out the Complete Guide on Boston Marathon Qualifying Times and Races 2018 - Updated!

Entry Requirements: Boston Marathon Charity

If you want to run the Boston Marathon for charity, you can only do it for one of the organizations that are registered with BAA for this purpose.

Some examples of the boston marathon charity teams and organizations are Family Aid Boston, Flying kites, 826 Boston Inc., Best Buddies, Boston Children’s Museum, Golf Fights Cancer, Minds Matter Boston, Many Hops Inc., Team Impact etc. Every year, new charity organizations are included in the list and their registration happens independently of the main event’s registrations.

run boston marathon for charity
Boston Marathon Charity run (Source)

There is a minimum fundraising requirement that you have to fulfill in order to qualify for Boston Marathon Charity run. This requirement is specified by the charity organization that you choose to run for. Usually, it is around $5000, but may be more or less.

Boston Marathon 2018 Qualifying Races

The runner needs to complete any of the following races with a qualifying time in order to be eligible for the Boston Marathon on 16th April 2018 -

  • Texas Marathon
  • Spring Hill Marathon Mania
  • Walt Disney World Marathon
  • Houston Marathon
  • First Light Marathon
  • Ocala Marathon
  • McAllen Marathon
  • Team Loco Marathon
  • Miami Marathon
  • Big Beach Marathon
  • Death Valley Marathon
  • Hilton Head Island Marathon
  • Florida Marathon
  • Fort Smith Marathon
  • Springfoot Marathon
  • Lost Dutchman Marathon
  • Warm Up Columbus
  • Five Points of Life Marathon
  • Seaside Marathon
  • Ellerbe Marathon
  • Black Mountain Marathon
  • Harlingen Marathon
  • Snickers Marathon
  • Napa Valley Marathon
  • Little Rock Marathon
  • Oceans Run Marathon
  • Lower Potomac River Marathon
  • Big Island International Marathon
  • Virginia Creeper Marathon
  • Asheville Marathon at Biltmore Estates
  • Tomoka Marathon
  • Hippity Hop Marathon
  • Lake Lowell Marathon
  • Salt Lake City Marathon
  • Blue Ridge Marathon
  • Boston Marathon
  • Bend Marathon
  • Rock n Roll Nashville Marathon
  • Waterloo Marathon
  • Delaware Marathon
  • Oshkosh Marathon etc.

Please note that qualifying races must be finished in the qualifying window for a particular Boston Marathon. For example, for the 2018 event, the qualifying window began from September 2016. This means that a runner needs to run any of the qualifying marathons after this time, to be considered for the Boston Marathon 2018.

Boston Marathon Registration

The registrations for 2018 Boston Marathon started in September 2017. Only those runners who have fulfilled all the above entry requirements in terms of qualifying times and qualifying races are eligible to apply. It is to be noted that all qualified runners will not be accepted for this event as the number of spots is limited.

The Boston marathon registrations for 2018 open September 11th, 2017 at 10:00 A.M. Eastern Time, and closes on September 20th, 2017 at 5:00 P.M. ET. BAA uses a “rolling admission” technique, and not a first-come, first-served basis. This means that first priority will be given to faster qualifiers and then to slower qualifiers, regardless of their time of application.

boston marathon 2018 dates
Snap of the Registration Page for the Race(Source)

Participation by charity running is usually more relaxed and runners are encouraged to consider this way of participation too. Many charity organizations registered with BAA continue accepting applications till the end of the year.

Boston Marathon Race Timings

The much-awaited Boston marathon schedule on 16th April 2018 will have the following start timings:

  • 09:32h - Elite women’s race start
  • 10:00h - Elite men’s race, wave one start
  • 10:25h - Wave two start
  • 10:50h - Wave three start
  • 11:15h - Wave four start

Boston Marathon Route Map

Boston marathon route
The route for Boston Marathon (source)

The course for this event starts at Hopkinton and culminates at Boston and is certified per the guidelines set forth by the IAAF and USA Track and Field.

The start line is on the Main Street, and runner follows route 135 that takes them through the towns of Ashland, Framingham, Natick, and Wellesley, where route 16 joins their route. The new route then continues through Newton Lower Falls and Commonwealth Avenue, then turning towards route 30.

The course then traverses through Newton Hills and Cleveland Circle, Beacon Street and into Brookline. From here the course arrives at Kenmore Square, that marks the last mile of the race, towards Hereford Street and Boylston Street before finishing close to the John Hancock Tower.

Of special mention in the course is the area between miles 16 and 21. This terrain is marked by the Heartbreak Hill, and considered to be the most challenging series of climbs in any marathon.

Boston Marathon Course Details

It is to be noted that placement of Aid Station throughout the course is planned. Starting after the second mile, there will be one aid station after every mile up to the 25th mile covered. Medical support units will be stationed at the start line, finish line and at numerous locations on the course.

In addition to the above stations, miles 11.8 near Wellesley, mile 17 at Newton and mile 21.5 after crossing Boston College will have energy gel stations. Digital clocks will be fixed at every mile and 5 kilometers and will be used for recording unofficial race times only.

boston marathon charities 2018
Boston Marathon 2017 with digital clocks (Source)

Prompt aid will be provided to those runners who need help with directions or any kind of assistance or first aid. In case of emergency, runners will be picked up from the course in buses and sent to the nearest medical support unit. Portable toilets will be stationed near all water supply units and medical stations.

Boston Marathon race requires the runners to maintain an average of 14:23 minutes per mile pace. Once the roads are opened for traffic, runners who are running slower than this recommended pace will be notified.

Parking Arrangements

Due to the severely short parking spots in Hopkinton, BAA requests all participants to take the official buses for the event to reach the starting point of the Boston Marathon. There is no parking allowed on streets in Hopkinton.

Registration Inclusions

After registration, runners are entitled to the following:

  • Free admission to the John Hancock Sports and Fitness Expo
  • Full sleeved T-shirt
  • Runner’s gear check-list
  • A printed copy of the official program
  • Bib number
  • Officially timed result
  • Entry to pre-race pasta dinner
  • Free transportation to the start line on race day
  • Access to Athlete’s Village in Hopkinton
  • Athlete tracking
  • ET Massage
  • Entry to post-race party
  • Finisher’s certificate (if applicable)
  • Finisher’s medal (if applicable)
  • Racer’s result book

Boston Marathon Prize Money

The fastest runners in the men and women category of this event received $150,000 each. There are prizes for top 15 finishers in each category amounting to a total of more than $700,000 as prize money.

Boston Marathon Race Training

While any marathon will require a regular and targeted training program, the Boston Marathon is peculiar because of its characteristic uphill and downhill terrain. The key to complete this marathon is to focus on your training program with dedication and consistency. Whether you are targeting a time-based training plan or a distance-based training plan, it is important, to be honest, patient and persistent.

boston marathon charities 2018
Boston Marathon 2017(Source)

Do not neglect your taper period if you want to perform well in any marathon. For a detailed explanation of tapering for marathons and finding your taper plan, refer to one of our articles on this topic.It is advisable to invest in proper training equipment and a good pair of running shoes, and avail the services of a running trainer. You will find very helpful articles on how to prepare for a marathon on our website.

Read: Post Marathon Recovery Steps after Running a Marathon

Boston Marathon Results: Winners of the 2017 Boston Marathon

The official Boston marathon results from the BAA for 2017 are:

Elite Men Category

  • 1st place- Geoffery Kirui (Kenya) at 02:09:37
  • 2nd place- Galen Rupp (USA) at 02:09:58
  • 3rd place- Suguru Osako (Japan) at 02:10:28

Elite Women Category

  • 1st place- Edn Kiplagat (Kenya) at 02:21:52
  • 2nd place- Rose Chelimo (Bahrain) at 02:22:51
  • 3rd place- Jordan Hasay (USA) at 02:23:00

Read: The Hero of Boston Marathon 2017: US Veteran Earl Granville

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: When will the Boston Marathon 2018 be held?

A: 16th April 2018.

Q: What is the registration fee for this event?

A: If you are a US citizen, you will have to pay $180. For international runners, the fee is $250.

Q: What is the registration procedure?

A: Registration for this event is through rolling admission, meaning that faster qualifiers will be registered on priority, followed by slower qualifiers, until the number of spots is full.

Q: What are the specifications of Boston Marathon qualifying races?

A: In order to qualify for the Boston Marathon, runners have to complete a race on a course that is approved and recognized by the USA Track and Field, or another country’s official athletic federation, if outside the USA.

Q: How many people can run this marathon?

A: Around 30,000. The exact number is not revealed because of the dynamic nature of selection.

Q: Is there any upper and lower age restriction for this event?

A: The participant needs to be at least 18 years old on race day. There is no upper age limit.

Q: Is the registration fee refundable on account of injury?

A: The fee once paid will not be refunded or transferred under any circumstance.

Q: How many places are reserved for runners entering through charity?

A: A total of 2585 bibs are reserved for participants taking the charity run in the Boston Marathon. This number is distributed among the various organizations registered with the BAA.

Q: How many official organization are included in the charity list?

A: A total of 146 recognized organization are part of the combined list of the BAA and John Hancock charity programs, both of which are recognized for the event.

Q: How much money is generally raised for charity in the Boston Marathon?

A: It varies. For example, the 2013 Boston Marathon raised $20 million in charity runs but the 2014 Boston Marathon generated $38.4 million. This could be due to the bombings that happened in the 2013 event.

If you are a passionate runner with enough experience, then you should definitely aim for participation in the Boston Marathon. This race is definitely not for the faint-hearted and requires sustained grit and passion for running this format.

Participating in this race will give you a chance to run with the best runners across the globe, and to be able to complete this course is a big achievement in itself.

Check out the Complete Guide for all the Marathons in the USA

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Running - General