How to qualify for the Boston Marathon? What are the qualifying times?

By Chris Chavez
April 11, 2018

Three of the six World Marathon Majors are in the United States. Chicago and New York City are available to all runners through a lottery system. What separates Boston from the rest is that many of the runners must qualify to run. It is estimated that about 80 percent of the runners qualified for the race and other participate through invitations and charities.

Simply hitting the qualifying times for your respective age group is sometimes not enough to land a spot in the race. In recent years, runners have needed to run times that are nearly three and a half minutes faster than their age group's time.

The rolling admission application process allows the faster runners in each age group register first. The Boston Marathon Athletic Association accepted 23,198 of 28,260 applicants for 2018. The number of applicants rejected can vary from year to year.

Qualifying times must be run on a course certified by USA Track and Field. Overseas marathons have to be certified by the respective country's athletic federation.

Charity runners enter the race through their respective charity program. There are ways of running the marathon without a time qualifier or charity but that usually requires knowing someone who works for one of the race's sponsors or someone connected with special invitations that have been set aside by the BAA.

Registration for the 2019 Boston Marathon will likely take place in September.

Below are the qualifying times for runners in 2018:

MEN

18 to 34 – 3:01:37

35 to 39 — 3:06:37

40 to 44 —  3:11:37

45 to 49 —  3:21:37

50 to 54 —  3:26:37

55 to 59 —  3:36:37

60 to 64 —  3:51:37

65 to 69 — 4:06:37

70 to 74 — 4:21:37

75 to 79 — 4:36:37

80 or older — 4:51:37

WOMEN

18 to 34 — 3:31:37

35 to 39 — 3:36:37

40 to 44 —  3:41:37

45 to 49 —  3:51:37

50 to 54 —  3:56:37

55 to 59 —  4:06:37

60 to 64 —  4:21:37

65 to 69 — 4:36:37

70 to 74 — 4:51:37

75 to 79 — 5:06:37

80 or older — 5:21:37

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