Frustrations with Qualifying Standards for the Boston Marathon

by Vy Waller
(Waterloo Ontario)

I have run Boston so this email is not for me. I will run it again when I turn 60.

However: I know a lot of people who qualify and do it every year. That if fine except that because they do it every year another friend who has been working for 5 years to qualify and finally has will not get to go. He is 65-69 and because he just made it he will be one of the last to be able to sign up.

My question is: Why not let all of the first timers in first.
Then start with the fastest and work back.

He and many others like him because of genetics and maybe other health issues or other issues just make the time and now they will never get in. SAD so SAD.

I am lucky. I have a build that allows me to run fast. Even in the beginning I had a good pace and in local races I get to win my races. Some races I don't even have to be in great shape and I can still win.

But right now I want to speak for those who aren't as lucky as me and some others who have worked far harder than I have to get to Boston and finally make it and now can't get in.

Please get this message to those who made this recent decision and ask them to think about first time qualifiers having the first day to sign up.

They deserve it. They have worked hard. My friend and I will come another year. My other friend who goes every year will not be harmed if she doesn't get to go one year but alas she WILL get in. It is the first timers that won't.

Hello Vy. I understand why you are frustrated with the people at the Boston Marathon, but they didn't expect their event to get so incredibly popular in the last few years. Only five years ago, anyone who applied got in. They had to do something because runners who were qualifying weren't getting in. Take this year for instance. The online registration open and closed on the same day!

If they kept things the way they were, you would have to take a day off of work and hope for the best that your online registration would get in faster than the other applicants.

That doesn't mean your opinion isn't valid. In fact, I will forward your message onto the race directors for the BAA (Boston Athletic Associations) and tell you if I get any response.

First timers do deserve a shot at running in Boston, but it is because of first timers that the Boston Marathon has become so popular in the last few years. Unfortunately the qualifying standards are very tough compared to years prior (5:59 seconds faster per age group).

- Coach Tief

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Ralph Brubacher

I have a question about qualifying times and age. I am running a Boston Qualifying marathon on Sun., Nov.6, 2011. I turn 60 on Mar. 4, 2012. If I qualified I would try to register for the 2013 Boston Marathon. At what age do I consider myself when trying to qualify on Nov. 6?

Hello Ralph,

You will be considered in the 60-64 age group even if weren't 60 on November 6th of this year. The Boston Marathon looks at what age you are going to be on the date of the 2013 Boston Marathon. I hope you get under that 3:55 qualifying standard.

Happy Trails - Coach Tief

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How soon can I start marathon training again?

by Matt
(Mill Creek, WA)

Hi Coach,

I just completed my 2nd Marathon. My 1st was in June. After the Rock n Roll Seattle I followed the Hal Higdon Marathon Recovery plan which was a month long. After that I jumped into the same plan that I used to train for RNR, about half way into the plan. My next marathon is in 9 weeks, and though I am obviously still sore (2nd day post marathon), I'm amped to get back into some big miles.

My question:
How long until I can safely get back to logging some big miles for this next marathon?

Thanks in advance!

I haven't been in this situation before, but the best advice I can give to any runner is to listen to your body. If you have some nagging injuries or soreness, back off for at least two weeks. You can run, but they should all be easy recovery runs.

You can always focus on things like doing some good core strengthening work or upper body strength training after you go for an easy run if you want to get some more exercise in.

After two weeks, you can get back into the swing of things as far as training is concerned. I suggest the fourth and fifth weeks as good ones to get some good long runs in. If you look at it this way, your last marathon was an awesome training session for the one coming up.

A blog that I follow is "SkinnyRunner". She runs a lot of marathons with little rest. She doesn't talk much about her training, but it is very possible to get after the running fairly soon again, so long as you feel good enough to do it. Stick to only one long run a week though at least in the next four weeks. Also, no hard speed training or fast tempo runs for two weeks.

Happy Trails - Coach Tief

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This article was written by David Tiefenthaler, the founder and main contributor for In addition to running, he's also an author, and a full time teacher.

You can follow David on Twitter @Tiefsa or visit his blog



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