The Guide to Boston Marathon (1): Registration and Getting Qualified

Before you begin, a major caveat is warranted here: obviously, I do not know EVERYTHING about the Boston Marathon; however, I do wish to write this blog based on my first hand experience at the 2015 Boston Marathon.  I hope this article will help those who have attained the elusive standard to better prepare themselves for their upcoming event.  I will talk about everything I know from registration, booking tickets, travelling, packing,  expo,  race morning, race day, and many more.


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 over 4hrs 55min 00sec 5hrs 25min 00sec


BIG congrats to those who have achieved the elusive standards!  But are you CERTAIN that you are absolutely in for the Boston Marathon? For 2015, the cut-off was 1:02 minute.  So if you just made the standard on the dot, you will unfortunately not be accepted into the marathon.  I’ve seen the cut-off to be as rigour as more than 90s, so my sincere advice is aim for a faster time than what is posted of at least about 2-3 mins faster .   The registration works in a rolling acceptance manner. In other words, the fastest runners get to register on the first day while the slowest runners on the last day.

The total number of runners accepted for the 2015 race was 30,000 and the qualifier breakdown was:

  • 4,093 qualifiers who were 20:00 or more under their standard.
  • 6,490 qualifiers who were 10:00 or more under their standard.
  • 6,160 qualifiers who were 5:00 or more under their standard.
  • 6,447 qualifiers who were 1:02-4:59 under their standard.
  • 356 qualifiers with an active streak of at least 10 years.

In retrospect, interestingly, one thing I should mention post-race is that out of the 30,000 runners, only 26,600 made it to the finish line.  I witnessed many who dropped out during different stretches of the course.  It was a rough day to be out there.  I’ll talk more about my race in another post!

Another important thing I learned for registration was that your Boston qualifying time is based on your age on race day and NOTon your age on the race you qualified.  For example, I ran my BQ on May 03, 2014 at the Vancouver BMO International Marathon in a time of 2:58:06.  My age on that day was 34 and I’d turned 35 on the day running the Boston Marathon.  Initially, I thought my qualifying time would be 3:05:00; however, it was actually the next age category of 3:10:00.  What difference does this make? The former gives me 7 mins, allowing me to register on the 3rd day on registration week sometime in September.  The latter enables me to register earlier on the 2nd day for those who ran more than 12 mins faster than the stated time. This also gave me extra confidence to know I’d be accepted and to proceed with my air/accommodation booking.

Please continue reading Part 2 

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