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Boston Marathon Qualifying Times and Races 2018 - Updated!

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The Boston Marathon is one of the most elite and sought-after running events in the world; to run and finish the Boston Marathon is a dream come true for many runners. Boston Marathon, the internationally-renowned running event is so coveted because it is one of the oldest marathons in the world, making it the most prestigious. It debuted in 1897 in Beantown and is 26.2 miles long. It has always been a full-marathon, no less. The peculiarity of the Boston marathon is that you can’t just decide to participate, pay the registration amount, and show up on race day. If you want to be a part of the marathon then you must know about the Boston Marathon qualifying times and qualifying races for participants! This article will tell you how to qualify for the Boston Marathon in 2018, which will be its 122nd outing!

Know More Here:

Boston Marathon Qualifying Times

How to qualify for Boston Marathon 2018? The Boston Athletic Association (BAA) establishes a set of qualifying times for every year’s marathon. These times are divided into age groups and further categorized according to gender. The times change every year depending mainly on the number of participants. The qualifying times for Boston 2017 differed from those for Boston 2016, and the same can be expected this year. The BAA has already released the Boston qualifying times for 2018.

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

Please note the qualifying performances for the 2018 Boston Marathon must have been run between September 17, 2016 and September 20, 2017.

And now for the update!
Completing a run or marathon within the Boston qualifying time does not guarantee a runner a spot in the marathon. Owing to the very high number of registrations, only the fastest finishers in their age and gender category are selected to run on race day. Hence, the initial registrations, i.e from September 11-20, are not on a first come, first served basis.

This consequently means that running within the qualifying time isn’t enough to snag a spot in the race; a runner needs to finish a few minutes before the qualifying time. In case of Boston 2018, this time is 3 minutes and 23 seconds or faster as per BAA. 

Reduce this time from the qualifier for your age group and gender, and you will arrive at the actual time you need to run to qualify. Boston Athlete Association accepts qualifying times from USATF or AIMS certified courses for the coveted race.  Proof of qualification must accompany each athlete's application, and participants are required to be 18 years or older on Boston Marathon race day. Here are the accepted times of those who qualified in the first list released on 27th Sept 2017:

Men’s Qualifying Standards and Accepted Times

18-34 3hrs 05min 00sec 3hrs 1min 37sec
35-39 3hrs 10min 00sec 3hrs 6min 37sec
40-44 3hrs 15min 00sec 3hrs 11min 37sec
45-49 3hrs 25min 00sec 3hrs 21min 37sec
50-54 3hrs 30min 00sec 3hrs 26min 37sec
55-59 3hrs 40min 00sec 3hrs 36min 37sec
60-64 3hrs 55min 00sec 3hrs 51min 37sec
65-69 4hrs 10min 00sec 4hrs 6min 37sec
70-74 4hrs 25min 00sec 4hrs 21min 37sec
75-79 4hrs 40min 00sec 4hrs 36min 37sec
80 + 4hrs 55min 00sec 4hrs 51min 37sec

Women's Qualifying Standards and Accepted Times

18-34 3hrs 35min 00sec 3hrs 31min 37sec
35-39 3hrs 40min 00sec 3hrs 36min 37sec
40-44 3hrs 45min 00sec 3hrs 41min 37sec
45-49 3hrs 55min 00sec 3hrs 51min 37sec
50-54 4hrs 00min 00sec 3hrs 56min 37sec
55-59 4hrs 10min 00sec 4hrs 6min 37sec
60-64 4hrs 25min 00sec 4hrs 21min 37sec
65-69 4hrs 40min 00sec 4hrs 36min 37sec
70-74 4hrs 55min 00sec 4hrs 51min 37sec
75-79 5hrs 10min 00sec 5hrs 6min 37sec
80 + 5hrs 25min 00sec 5hrs 21min 37sec

Athletes with disabilities can also participate. The qualifying times for athletes with disabilities and registration process differs from non-disabled runners.

Runners Who Don’t Need Qualifying Times

According to stats, as a regular practice, only 80% of the total participants are chosen from those who achieve the Boston Marathon qualifying time. Hence, if suppose 30,000 runners are participating in the race, then only 24,000 people will be chosen from those who ran the qualifying races and times in their respective categories. The BAA reserves the remaining 20% (6000) for specific runners who are in the following category:

Charity Runners
The Boston Marathon Association sets aside a few thousands of spots for runners who are affiliated with one of the marathon’s official charities. These runners do not have to run a qualifying marathon to get into the race.

A runner running for charities must raise a minimum sum of $5000. In case you fail to meet the fundraising minimum, the amount will be charged to your credit card. Most charities secure the runners’ entries with a credit card and a signed contract to avoid dupery. Those interested can read the guide to Boston marathon charity program.

Special Invitees
This includes participants that are associated with the event’s official charities, sponsors, media, those residing in the cities along the marathon’s route, and elite runners who are invited by the BAA to participate. This is why the BAA has always maintained its stance of not guaranteeing a spot in the marathon simply based on qualifying times.

Extra Information On Boston Marathon Qualifying Times

The Boston marathon allows participants of 18 years of age and above; your age on race day determines which category you run in. If you are not an 18-year-old as of April 16, 2018, then you cannot run the marathon.

In order to know whether the BAA recognizes your track or course, you will have to contact them and enquire.

The BAA accepts only full marathon distances for qualifying. Anything less than 26.2 miles (42 km) is not accepted. Also, they consider net running time – the time when the finish line is crossed (to start and complete the race).

The BAA’s official website provides all the information in a concise yet all-inclusive way.

Boston Marathon Required Pace Guide

Heres a quick guide to the required pace as per age group to reach the respective qualifying times: 

Age Group Required Pace - Men
No. of minutes per mile
Required Pace - Women
No. of minutes per mile
18 - 34 7:03 8:12
35 - 39 7:14 8:23
40 - 44 7:26 8:34
45 - 49 7:49 8:57
50 - 54 8:00 9:09
55 - 59 8:23 9:32
60 - 64 8:57 10:06
65 - 69 9:32 10:40
70 - 74 10:06 11:15
75 - 79 10:40 11:49
80 and above 11:15 12:23

Boston Marathon Qualifying Races

To run the qualifying distances, you can’t just choose any terrain or route and clock in your time. There are tracks and courses specifically chosen for running Boston marathon qualifying races, which are certified by the USA Track & Field. For overseas aspiring participants, the marathons that they need to run to qualify for Boston marathon should be accredited or recognized by their respective country’s athletic body.

 Visit the links below to check if the race is certified. Additionally, you could contact the event you are participating in, to check if the race is certified.

The marathons most frequently used to qualify at, register for, and be accepted into the Boston Marathon are listed below. It is not the complete list nor does it suggest how many individuals can qualify from each event. 

The top qualifying races are:

  • 2017 Boston Marathon
  • 2016 Chicago Marathon
  • 2016 New York City Marathon
  • 2016 California International Marathon
  • 2016 Philadelphia Marathon
  • 2017 Erie Marathon
  • 2017 Mountains 2 Beach Marathon
  • 2017 REVEL Mt Charleston Marathon
  • 2016 Berlin Marathon
  • 2016 Indianapolis Monumental Marathon
  • 2016 Twin Cities Marathon
  • 2017 London Marathon
  • 2016 St George Marathon
  • 2016 Richmond Marathon
  • 2017 Grandma's Marathon
  • 2017 Ottawa Marathon
  • 2017 Phoenix Marathon
  • 2016 Baystate Marathon
  • 2017 REVEL Big Cottonwood Marathon
  • 2017 Lehigh Valley Via Marathon
  • 2016 Steamtown Marathon
  • 2016 Marine Corps Marathon
  • 2016 Mohawk Hudson River Marathon
  • 2017 Jack and Jill's Downhill Marathon
  • 2017 Bayshore Marathon

Boston Marathon Date and Registration for 2018

So when is the Boston marathon taking place in 2018? Qualifications start as early as the previous year; the date for the 2018 Boston marathon is April 16th, which is also Patriot’s Day.

The 2017 marathon was held on April 17th. 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. During this registration, entry would be given to the fastest runners based on their gender and age group.

And that’s officially the initial period. But don’t lose heart if you do not make it in the first registration period because if there are spots still available post the initial period, then the Boston Marathon Registration will open for a second time on Monday, September 25th. And this time, the registration will remain open for qualifying runners, on a first-come, first-served basis until the maximum field size, roughly 24000, is reached.

when is the boston marathon
Boston Marathon – A dream for all runners

Ultimate Training Tips for Boston Marathon by Strava

The fitness tracking mogul, Strava has cracked the ultimate training regime for all the Boston Marathon aspirants. Strava extracted its users’ data for the study. They conducted an analysis of training habits between runners who qualified for the Boston marathon versus the runners who didn’t qualify. The dataset analyzed runs of a user 12 weeks prior to a marathon. Below are the six ways you should train yourself to achieve the Boston qualifying time.

1. Run More Miles

What’s new in that advice? Well, the habit to inculcate. The habit of running longer distances without draining oneself. It is known that the more you run, the faster your marathon time will be. According to Strava’s data, Boston Qualifiers run approximately 480 total miles during training while non-qualifiers complete roughly 282 miles. There appeared a considerable difference in the average mileage between male and female BQers, 59.67 and 54.03 miles respectively and male and female non-BQers, 42.84 and 40.06 respectively.

2. Run More Often

There’s no room for slackers in the Boston Marathon. Go for a run whenever possible. It will build your strength and set you in a rhythm. Strava found that BQ runners run as much many times as possible and try to squeeze in at least two more runs per weeks than the non-BQ runners.

With an average of 7.05 runs in a week, the male qualifiers had the most runs record per week. On the other hand, the women qualifiers average runs per week was 6.70.

3. Run at Your Favorite Time

Not a morning person? Can’t wake up in the morning to train yourself? No worries, train in the afternoon or evening. Because it doesn’t matter which time of the day you choose to run. What matters is the time you take to complete the run. Strava’s findings show that female BQers usually prefer to run in the morning while male BQers divided the schedule equally between morning and evening.

4. Know When to Take It Easy

A marathon is longer than a sprint. And so, there’s a technique to run it. Do not crank up your speed right in the beginning but that’s not to say that you run at a turtle pace.

Keep a steady speed and gradually increase it. According to Strava’s data, male BQers ran 15 percent of their training runs at marathon pace or faster and for the remaining 85 percent of their miles, they run slower than the standard qualifying pace. And the same is true for the female runners too.

5. Increase Your Average Speed

Over the 12-week training cycle, Starva reported that average pace per mile of the BQ runners is significantly faster than the non-BQers. Male BQers averaged about a 7:45 minute-per-mile pace across their training runs, while women BQers averaged about an 8:30 pace.

And comparatively non-qualifying men averaged about an 8:50-minute pace and the non-qualifying women, a 9:50 pace across all the training runs.

6. Be Focused and Determined

Running the Boston Marathon is a serious deal. Try to remain focused during your run. Keep the phone in silent mode and avoid going on social media during a run. Refrain from taking mid-run selfies.

Posting mid-run snaps may help you connect with the running community or increase the number of likes on your photo but what it will not get you is a spot in the Boston Marathon. The purpose of the training is to maintain the intensity over a period of time and pausing during tempo, race-pace, or long runs can interfere with gains.

boston marathon qualifying times

The Boston marathon of 2018 is still a while away, and if you start practicing it now, you can achieve your goals in the next 16 to 20 weeks. Running this marathon is nothing short of an honor for runners. All you need to do is put in the required practice and sincerity, and you can be on the next plane to Boston very soon!

Excited to be a part of Boston Marathon 2018? Then, you can have a look at our Ultimate Marathon Running Guide: From Start to Finish

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