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Heartbreak: Thousands Qualified For Their Boston Marathon Dream Race But Are Shut Out

4,562 Runners Aren’t Allowed To Run Boston Marathon After Qualifying For It ~

Thousands of runners who worked their tails off to qualify for the Boston Marathon, the grand-daddy marathon of them all, won’t get to see their dream happen.

That’s because, for the third year in a row, the marathon has more people making their standard qualifying time than the race can handle. (The standard age-group qualifying times are set by the Boston Athletic Association, (the B.A.A.) the organization that puts on the Boston Marathon.)

So 4,562 people won’t get to run their dream race in 2016, even though they ran the qualifying time set by the B.A.A. And if runners want to run Boston in the future, they’ll will likely have to qualify again and run 2:28 faster than the standard B.A.A. qualifying time.

(If you need to get faster for your next marathon, check out hill training how-tos, how to make your long runs easier, and marathon coaching advice.)

What Happened?

Because so many people qualified and wanted to get in to Boston 2016, only those who ran an average of 2:28 faster than their required qualifying time made the cut.

“For so many runners, qualifying and participating in the Boston Marathon is the highlight of their running careers,” Tom Grilk, B.A.A. Executive Director said in a release.

“We are very sorry we don’t have space for everybody. There is no joy in not having room for everybody,” said Grilk. “[The numbers] seem to represent a swing back to competitiveness that I think is important to people. A great many people seem to have worked a little harder to be a little faster.”

Who Does Get To Run Boston?

The entire field is capped at 30,000 runners, and 24,032 runners will be time qualifiers or runners with an active streak of running the race for at least the last 10 years. That number is 486 more than the number of runners accepted for the 2015 race.

The cut-off qualifying time is more than double what it was for the 2015 marathon, when athletes had to run at least 1:02 or faster than their standard qualifying time to earn a bib. This year, about 16 percent of qualified applicants did not get accepted; last year only about seven percent were shut out. Compared to last year’s registration period, 25,493 runners signed up and 1,947 applicants got rejection notices.

Will They Make The Qualifying Times Tougher?

When asked if the B.A.A. would consider changing qualification standards in the future, Grilk said, “We always have an eye on everything. We can’t make the roads bigger. Right now there’s not a plan to change anything. If we did, it would take a long time because we’ve now opened the qualifying window for the 2017 race. Some things in life simply are competitive. That is what has been at the core of the Boston Marathon since 1897: competition.”

(Thanks to RW and for their original articles and for the image.)


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