“4,000 Sign Up for Boston Marathon on First Day of Registration.” That is the title from an article from Runner’s World News Wire this morning only 24 hours after registration for the 2014 Boston began! The only people allowed to sign up so far with the new tiered system are those racers who beat their Boston Qualifying times by 20 minutes or better. The article says this number far out-paces the registration for last year. After the terrible attack at last year’s Boston, many more runners than usual are wanting to be part of the 2014 Boston Marathon. I believe it’s patriotism, courage and the need to band together as runners that is drawing larger-than-ever crowds of runners to sign up for this year’s event.
As for me, earning a spot at Boston has been a huge dream of mine since I first started running more than 5 years ago. Chasing down a Boston time did not come easy for me. My first marathon was a time of 4:57 (a far cry from the 3:45:59 time I’d have needed to qualify in 2009 when I ran as a 36 year old female.) I eagerly looking forward to turning 40 since runners are given an additional 5 minute “leeway” as they get older. I was excited to see that goal time become 3:50:59. Unfortunately, the 2011 Boston marathon sold out in 8 hrs and 3 min, leaving many of the faster runners out of the race. That’s when they decided to do the wave signup system to make sure those who run the fastest get first shot at signing up. They also changed the qualifying standards to make it more difficult to get a “BQ” – a Boston Qualifying time by 5 min and 59 seconds for every bracket.
So, last year instead of needing a 3:50:59 to BQ, I needed to run a 3:45:00. I ran a 3:48 and a 3:47 in attempts to qualify, missing my new mark by just a bit in May of 2012 at the Famous Potato Marathon in Boise, Idaho and the Redding Marathon in Redding, California in Jan of 2013. Finally, in May I ran a 3:40:44 – finally earning my longed-for Boston qualifying time this spring! It was a very emotional day and I cried as I crossed the finish line. My parents were there taking a video and my Mom said to me, “Where are you going now?” And through tears I cried out, “BOSTON!!” It was one of the most meaningful moments of my life.
So now, after 7 marathons, I have finally earned my first BQ which gave me a cushion of 4 minutes and 16 seconds over my Boston qualifying time for a woman who will be in the 40-44 age group on Patriot’s Day in April of 2014 (I’ll be 41). I hope it’s enough! With the new sign up system, the faster runners get first shot at the spots at Boston. There were 22,000 time-qualifying spots available when registration opened up Monday morning. Assuming all 4,000 of those who registered did run a certified course and did beat their BQ time by 20 minutes or more (these things are verified for each runner before they are officially registered), there are now 18,0000 spots left.
On Wednesday, September 11th, registration will open up for those racers who beat the qualifying standards by 10 min 00 seconds or faster. If space remains in the race after that round, on Friday, September 13th, registration will open up for runners who beat their BQ time by 5 minutes, 00 seconds or faster. Is space remains after that round then registration will finally open for all runners who met their Boston qualifying times on Monday, September 16th. That will be my round – IF the race hasn’t filled up!!! Crossing my fingers and nervously watching the data trickle in in the hopes that I do get a chance to register and head to Boston next April! The waiting game begins…..