The Boston Marathon gets new qualifying times, registration process. Elites announced. It’s gonna be a barnburner!!!

59 days until the Boston Marathon.

I am so uncoordinated using crutches that I have wacked my foot about 10 times already today. Tomorrow, I think I will just use one…as a cane. That should be enough. When I realized the countdown today my thoughts very quickly went down the my-foot-hurts-I am-going-to-be-out-of-shape-no-way -I-can-recover-oh-crap path really fast. In an effort to to stay focused I thought I would share some BAA news with you all.

First, as it pertains to us mere-mortals, new qualifying times, and registration procedures for the Boston Marathon were posted yesterday. A huge number of runners will be upset over this news. I will present the facts and then my thoughts.

Next year registration will be run on a “rolling” schedule for two weeks. That means that the fastest runners (those exceeding their age-group qualifying time by 20 minutes or more) will register on the first day (9/12/2011). On day 3 those ahead of the time standard by 10 minutes register, then on day 5 those at the 5 minute mark. At the start of week two registration opens for anyone who met the qualifying time for their age-group, however runners will be accepted fastest to slowest until capacity is reached. The field size for the race will not be increased.

Beginning with the 2013 Boston Marathon the qualifying times will be as follows (plus an increase in field size-I think):

2013 Qualifying Times (effective September 24, 2011)

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 over 4hrs 55min 00sec 5hrs 25min 00sec
*Unlike previous years, an additional 59 seconds will NOT be accepted for each age group time standard.

This represents the first time since 1980 that BQ times have been made tougher. Registration with the new standards will be conducted using the same rolling admission schedule I outlined above.

My thoughts:

I think this is great!

I recognize that it means I (and many, many others) may never have another opportunity to run Boston (as I BARELY made the cut this time), which is disappointing because my training has been severely disrupted this time around, but it also increases my desire to want to run it again. I  feel extremely grateful that I made it in this year. My BQ  time was 3:37, so for 2013 I would have missed the cut. To assure entry into 2012 I figure I need to improve by 15 minutes. That’s huge! But my dream finishing time is 3:15 so that lights a fire in me, even though I have yet to even consider if I want to try to repeat Boston.

The reason I think this revision of BQ standards is great is because it sort of gives a new coat of polish to the prestige of running the Boston Marathon. As running becomes more and more popular (which is awesome!), completing a marathon is getting very close to simply a common milestone in an active lifestyle. I really believe that anyone can complete a marathon if they train long enough, and gradually enough. Not everyone, however, can run at a 7 to 10 minute per mile clip for 26.2 miles.  (that’s the range for ages 18-65)

I am very interested to see how registration goes the next two years, whether or not I plan to run. This is a great opportunity to see the effect the higher standards and more competitive application process have on the event and, really, on the sport itself. I do hope that the BAA pays close attention to the distribution of age, sex, and ability of acccepted entrants in these next two years.

Additionally I would like to point out that marathon running, as a sport, is very slow to make changes when compared to other popular sports. Heck, the rules of football, hockey, and even cycling seem to change with each season! Even the weekend warrior athlete is getting stronger and faster with all the technology we have access to, it’s time for the playing field to catch up.

Moving on

Also, last week, the elite field was officially announced. If you are a spectator this year, it looks like it’s going to be an exciting race! Check it out:

Men’s Open Field Country Personal Best
Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot Kenya 2:05:52 (Boston, 2010) CR
Geoffrey Mutai Kenya 2:04:55 (Rotterdam, 2010)
Ryan Hall USA 2:06:17 (London, 2008)
Gilbert Yegon Kenya 2:06:18 (Amsterdam, 2009)
Evans Cheruiyot Kenya 2:06:25 (Chicago, 2008)
Tadese Tola Ethiopia 2:06:31 (Frankfurt, 2010)
Sylvester Teimet Kenya 2:06:49 (Seoul, 2010) CR
Bekana Daba Ethiopia 2:07:04 (Houston, 2011) CR
Philip Kimutai Sanga Kenya 2:07:11 (Frankfurt, 2010)
Shadrack Kiplagat Kenya 2:07:53 (Amsterdam, 2007)
Tekeste Kebede Ethiopia 2:07:23 (Boston, 2010)
Feleke Abreham Cherkos Ethiopia 2:07:29 (Amsterdam, 2010)
Deressa Chimsa Edae Ethiopia 2:07:54 (Dubai, 2009)
Stephen Kibiwot Kenya 2:07:54 (Praha, 2009)
Robert Kipchumba Kenya 2:08:07 (Xiamen, 2011) CR
Gebregziabher Gebremariam Ethiopia 2:08:14 (New York City 2010)
Moses Kigen Kipkosgei Kenya 2:10:12 (Nairobi, 2009) CR
Antonio Vega USA 2:13:47 (Boston, 2010)
Peter Kamais Kenya 2:14:58 (New York City, 2010)
Alistair Cragg Ireland Debut
Moses Mosop Kenya Debut
Women’s Open Field Country Personal Best
Teyba Erkesso Ethiopia 2:23:53 (Houston, 2010) CR
Galina Bogomolova Russia 2:20:47 (Chicago, 2006)
Sharon Cherop Kenya 2:22:43 (Toronto, 2010) CR
Tirfi Tsegaye Beyene Ethiopia 2:22:44 (Toronto, 2010)
Merima Mohammed Ethiopia 2:23:06 (Toronto, 2010)
Salina Kosgei Kenya 2:23:22 (Berlin, 2006)
Caroline Kilel Kenya 2:23:25 (Frankfurt, 2010)
Dire Tune Ethiopia 2:23:44 (Frankfurt, 2010)
Alice Timbilili Kenya 2:25:03 (Amsterdam, 2010)
Kim Smith New Zealand 2:25:21 (London, 2010)
Kara Goucher USA 2:25:52 (New York, 2008)
Tatyana Pushkareva Russia 2:26:14 (Boston, 2010)
Desiree Davila USA 2:26:20 (Chicago, 2010)
Teyba Naser Ethiopia 2:26:20 (Los Angeles, 2010)
Silvia Skvortsova Russia 2:26:24 (Berlin, 2009)
Werknesh Kidane Ethiopia 2:27:15 (Dubai, 2011)
Hellen Mugo Kenya 2:27:16 (Carpi, 2010)
Yuliya Ruban Ukraine 2:27:44 (Frankfurt, 2010)
Woynishet Girma Ethiopia 2:27:51 (Amsterdam, 2010)
Blake Russell USA 2:29:10 (Chicago, 2005)
Florence Kiplagat Kenya Debut
Aim high!
-AB

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