Congrats to all the runners who got their entry accepted for the 2011 Boston Marathon. It sold out in record time…7 hours!
Goes to show the marathon business is booming.I feel like I'm a day late and a dollar short with this post, but I wanted to get your opinions since many of you are looking to achieve this goal.
For those of you who don’t understand what the big to-do is, Boston is like the brass ring for marathon runners. Aside from the great history and atmosphere of the race, the “challenge” of qualifying makes it an even more alluring.
I put challenge in quotes because is it really a challenge anymore? With so many people quickly filling the slots, is it time to raise the bar? Heck, the NYC Marathon is traditionally one of the biggest qualifying races and it’s still 2 weeks away.
There are a lot of cranky NYC’ers out there right now.
Taking a look at the current standards, you can see the discrepancy between the men's and women’s times*
*An additional 59 seconds will be accepted for each age group time standard. For example, a net time of 3:50:59 will be accepted for a 42-year old woman.
When comparing the times against an age graded chart, the disparity is more obvious. Ladies under 35, you’ve got it the easiest, but men get the advantage as they age.
Amby Burfoot, winner of the 1968 Boston Marathon and staffer at Runner's World, wrote a more in depth article on this topic if you want to check it out.
Which also brings up another thought, should charity runners be allowed to swallow up thousands spots? To put it in a less than popular way, should you be allowed to buy your spot in the race?
Adjusting the qualifying standards based on the age graded table seems like a fair way to handle this. Make the times equivalent to 68% of your age grade across to board. If that doesn't work, bump it to 70%. Meaning your race time to qualify would put you at the top of your local running class, if not at the bottom of the regional level.
I'm part of the been there, done that (twice), not looking to try again anytime soon crowd. It's easy for me to say crack down on the standards because I already got mine.
I can attest that running the race is a surreal experience that lives up to the hype. For the majority of the running population, it’s not something they'll ever achieve.
The standard should be a stretch, but not impossibly out of reach. Let's keep the mystique alive folks.
Do you think race management will be making any changes? What should be done?
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