I swear, the people who market the big marathons (London, New York and Boston) are really good at their jobs. [Or maybe running is just that fun.]

London’s lottery tends to fill up in about 24 hours. Not to mention the Marine Corps marathon which was at capacity in record time this year. So naturally, now that the Boston registration date is about a month away, I am starting to wonder the inevitable: Will I get in?

The BAA has tightened qualifying times across the board this year. Instead of a 3:40, my age group needs a 3:35. OK, great, I got a 3:32.19 at Houston so I am within the qualifying standards. But, the tricky part is, you get to register based on what your qualifying time is. The first group is qualifying by more than 20 minutes, followed by more than 10 minutes and then more than 5 minutes. The last group is me – qualifying time, but under 5 minutes. I register a whole week after the initial registration opens for the super-fast bunnies!

This is smart by BAA because of course they want the fastest runners on the course, it’s what makes it such a prestigious race. But of course, this means I will be having nightmares for the next 32 days because I will be worrying about whether I will get in. Because worrying does too help!

To make myself feel better, I turned to the Runner’s World forums where there are people who are in the same boat as me, and even others who are hoping registration doesn’t fill as fast as last year so they can use qualifying times from Chicago and New York. So I did what anybody would do.

Well, anybody who is certifiably a huge runnerd.

I found stats and created charts. Fun, right?

Marathon Guide tracks the top 20 races that have the most Boston Qualifiers. Since many of these races are held in the fall, I had to eliminate them from my analysis. So I have a total of 13 races. The disparity between qualifiers in 2011 to this year is quite large, particularly at Boston. Many think that the hot weather is to blame since this has been one of the hottest years on record.

Here is how it shakes out:

1 – Boston; 2 – Houston; 3 – Grandma’s; 4 – City of Los Angeles; 5 – Ottawa; 6 – Disney World; 7 – Vancouver; 8 – Eugene; 9 – San Francisco; 10 – Pittsburgh; 11 – Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona; 12 – Miami; 13 – Cleveland


In my analysis, there are only two races – Houston and Vancouver – that had more BQers this year than last. While registration will include people who qualified for Boston after September 24, 2011, the chances that it will fill as fast as last year are slim. At least, that’s what I’m telling myself.


How fast do you think Boston will fill this year? Are you trying to register? 

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