Boston Marathon 2017: How to Qualify for Next Year’s Race

Boston Marathon 2017: How to Qualify for Next Year's Race
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April 19th, 1897 marked the first Boston Marathon. Fifteen men ran across the town with the only eligibility of being 19 or older. Since then, the Boston Marathon has shaped and shifted with the times to become one of the most respected marathons across the world. With strict guidelines and eligibility, the Boston Marathon is designed for the serious runner.

2017 is quickly approaching, which means it is time to start your planning for the next year. Qualifying for the Boston Marathon is no easy task, but it is possible with dedication and perseverance.


How to Qualify

For the 2017 Boston Marathon, you will have needed to complete a qualifying race after September 19th of 2015, but before September 17th, 2016. If the date of your qualifying marathon is past September, you may have to apply for the race in the following year. The deadline has already closed for registering for the 2017 race, but it is not too late to know what to plan for in the next year to qualify.

Applying to race in the Boston Marathon is a privilege that is not granted to everyone. Having a qualifying time does not guarantee a spot in the marathon. The top fastest times for age categories in qualifying marathons are put first on the list. This year 30,000 were admitted into the race, but 4,562 did not make the cut even though they had qualifying times.

To ensure your time counts for the Boston Marathon, double check that the race you are entering in is approved by the USA Track and Field (0r international equivalent) or the Association of International Marathons. For a list of top marathons that help you qualify, check out Boston Athletic Association.

Qualifying times are based on age. Find your age group below and see if your recent marathon matches to the standards of the Boston Marathon.

Age Group and Qualifying Times for Men

18-34: 3hrs. 5 min.

35-39: 3 hrs. 10 min.

40-44: 3 hrs. 15 min.

45-49: 3 hrs. 25 min.

50-54: 3 hrs. 30 min.

55-59: 3 hrs. 40 min.

60-64: 3 hrs. 55 min.

65-69: 4 hrs. 10 min.

70-74: 4 hrs. 25 min.

75-79: 4 hrs. 40 min.

80 and over: 4 hrs. 55 min.

Age Group and Qualifying Times for Women:

18-34: 3 hrs. 35 min.

35-39: 3 hrs. 40 min.

40-44: 3 hrs. 45 min.

45-49: 3 hrs. 55 min.

50-54: 4 hrs. 0 min.

55-59: 4 hrs. 10 min.

60-64: 4 hrs. 25 min.

65-69: 4 hrs. 40 min.

70-74: 4 hrs. 55 min.

75-79: 5 hrs. 10 min.

80 and over: 5 hrs. 25 min.

Qualify Through Charity

Another way to qualify for the Boston Marathon is to partner with a charity and race for donations and awareness. Organizations pick their runners specifically, so the key is to be involved with a charity that partners with the race or to be a dedicated fundraiser. Most charities require a credit card in advance, so if you do not raise enough, beware that the rest of the amount comes out of your own pocket. The minimum for fundraising is 4,000 US dollars, so lace up with perseverance to raise money for a great cause and the opportunity to run in the greatest marathon of all time.

John Hancock and the Boston Athletic Association handle the charities that connect with the Boston Marathon. Charities are on a three year cycle and are only granted 2,585 bibs for charity racers. Each charity receives about 15 race bibs where they often pick loyal runners who they can trust. Application deadlines vary for different charities, so be proactive about what cause you are passionate about to raise money and be a participant.


To Qualify With a Disability

Since the 70s, the Boston Marathon has welcomed athletes with disabilities to compete. Since then, thousands of disabled athletes have competed in the race of a lifetime. There is still a qualifying time for each division for those who are seeking to register. Different divisions include Push Rim Wheelchair, Blind/Visually Impaired, Mobility Impaired, Hand Cycle Program, and Duo team that involves an able bodied person pushing a permanently disabled person.

Whichever division you identify with, you can still achieve your dreams of finishing the Boston Marathon. Check out the official guidelines for more on the specific qualifications for registering with a disability.

Apr.16, 2012-The first wheerchair winner Shirley Reilly from USA crosses the finish line one second before the second winner Wakako Tsuchida from Japan at 116th Boston Marathon. First winner: 1:37:36/ Second winner: 1:37:37 (Hyunah Jang / Boston University News Service)

Things to Be Aware Of

When you are ready to take on the ultimate race of the Boston Marathon, there are a few things to be aware of. If you are not accepted the first time you try to register, do not give up. If Boston is one of your top goals as a runner, then keep trying. Include speed workouts in your long runs to give your body the boost it needs to have a competitive race time to qualify with. Whether you are attempting to be a qualifier or are wanting to race for a charity, you can achieve your goals with hard work and determination.

Remember that your qualifying time has to come from a certified race. Contact the coordinator of the marathon you are running in to double check that the race you are signing up for counts towards the Boston Marathon. All times are calculated on net time and based on age and gender. So lace up your shoes and read all the rules beforehand to ensure you make it into the race.


How To Register

Once you have completed your qualifying marathon, the next step is to register. Registration is closed for 2017, and all applicants have been alerted whether their application was accepted. Due to the number of entries, the top times in age categories are taken first before the rest of the spots are filled.

Once you are accepted, you can celebrate and begin training with the top training guides by Terrance Mahon, a high performance coach with the Boston Athlete Association. Each training program is designed for beginners to more advanced marathon runners who want to succeed on race day. Pick one of the four levels of plans to begin your journey to finishing the Boston Marathon.

Plan For 2017

2017 is approaching fast, which means it is time to start scheduling your marathons for next year. Check out the list of approved marathons and start planning for the year. If you keep up with your training, then you can achieve the race of a lifetime and qualify for the Boston Marathon.

Whether you are a beginner, or have been training for years, the Boston Marathon is something all runners look up to in awe. With determination and perseverance you can make your running goals come true. Train hard this year, and become the runner you have always wanted to be.


Start planning now and live the greatest achievement of finishing the Boston Marathon!

Bethany Widdicombe

Bethany Widdicombe

Bethany Widdicombe is a runner at heart, a researcher by nature, and a writer by passion. Having traveled across the world, she continues to be an advocate for awareness and knowledge that empowers people to a better life. You can now find her running out on the trail, or nestled away writing her next article.

Portland, OR