Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Breaking Boston News

Just saw this and thought I'd share for anyone interested.  Registering for Boston 2012 has a rolling admittance based on your margin of qualifying time.  I think I may be making some serious adjustments to my Boston goal for this year.  Before I was thinking I definitely wanted to requalify and I wanted a PR, but I wasn't too worried about by how many minutes -- I was more interested in being able to recover quickly since we fly straight from Boston to Italy. 

The ramifications of these changes are just starting to sink in for me.  For all these friends I have who were hoping to qualify in Chicago this fall, or at some other fall marathon (seems like a lot of people I know are doing Chicago though), registration for Boston 2012 will likely already be full.  And so for people running a fall 2011 marathon, that will be attempting to qualify for Boston 2013, which has the faster qualifying time requirement!  So people will have to move at least 5 minutes faster after Sept. 24, 2011.  Wow.  This is huge...

I'll have to think more though, because I'm not positive I'll want to run Boston again.  I don't usually like to repeat marathons where I have to travel.  Too many others I want to do.  But geez, I'd like to have the option!  What if it's bad weather this year, or I get hurt?  I'd rather be able to try next year too.  Or if I want to go next year to run with friends.  Or if I want to go next year because it's the best race ever.  I definitely have to do some major evaluation of my goals and training.  Anyway, here are the details. 

Background:  Boston registration was a mess this year.  The marathon filled up in less than a day, when it's never closed out so quickly before (though it had been closing more quickly each year for the last few).  And there were slighly fewer spots available for runners this year because they allowed deferments last year for all European runners stranded because of the volcano.  So fewer spots plus people who got shut out last year, plus people who heard about people getting shut out last year meant it filled fast this year.

I posted about my first attempt to get in, not knowing it wasn't open yet, and then about the chaos of registration day, when I actually was able to register (only after authorizing about 40 charges to my credit card of $130 per pop). 

Changes:  It was inevitable that it had to change somehow.  So now it's rolling admissions based on your qualifying margin.  And also new times go into effect in 2013.  The new times are basically 5 minutes faster across the board, but really 6 minutes because they're eliminating the 59 second cushion that was there before.  Or so I've heard.  This is all hearsay at this point!

UPDATED:  Since the BAA website is slammed and I finally got through, here's the full text:

B.A.A. to Offer Fastest Qualified Runners Early Acceptance into 2012 Boston Marathon With New Registration Process

BOSTON – The Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.) announced today a change in its registration process for the Boston Marathon, allowing the fastest qualifiers to enter the earliest and with a rolling admission system while also offering all eligible runners an increased registration period. The changes in registration are a response by the B.A.A. to greater than ever demand by runners to gain entry into the Boston Marathon and culminate more than three months of analysis, including input from the running industry. Rather than accepting runners who have met the qualifying standards on a first come, first served approach, a more systematic, performance-based process will be employed.

2012 Boston Marathon

For the 2012 Boston Marathon, registration will extend for two weeks, beginning on Monday, September 12, 2011 and continuing until Friday, September 23, 2011. The qualifying times for the 2012 Boston Marathon will not change from recent past years since the standards had been previously announced and have been in effect since last September. However, the new registration process addresses the increased demand among qualified runners to participate in the Boston Marathon and will accommodate those who are the fastest qualifiers first.

Registration will occur on a “rolling admission” schedule until the maximum field size is reached, beginning with the fastest qualifiers. On the first day of registration for the 2012 Boston Marathon, those who are eligible for entry by having met the qualifying standards for their age and gender group by 20 minutes or more will be able to enter on the first day of registration (September 12). On the third day (September 14), registration will open for those who have met their qualifying standards by 10 minutes or more. On the fifth day (September 16), registration will open for those who have met their qualifying standards by five minutes or more. During this first week of registration, applicants will be notified as they are accepted and their qualifying performance verified.

If the field size is not reached after the first week and additional space remains, then registration will open to all qualifiers at the beginning of Week Two (September 19) and those who have met the qualifying standards by any amount of time will be able to apply for entry. The application process will remain open for the entire week, closing on September 23. At the conclusion of Week Two, those who are the fastest among the pool of applicants in their age and gender will be accepted. Accepted athletes will be notified on September 28.

If space remains available after this two week process, registration will remain open to any qualifier on a first come, first served basis until the maximum field size is reached.

The field size for the 2012 Boston Marathon will not represent a significant increase from the most recent years.

Registration Process for the 2012 Boston Marathon

Date registration opens for runners with times...

September 12, 2011 20 min., 00sec. or more below their qualifying time (based on age/gender)

September 14, 2011 10 min., 00 sec. or more below their qualifying time (based on age/gender)

September 16, 2011 5 min., 00 sec. or more below their qualifying time (based on age/gender)

Second Week

September 19, 2011 All Qualified Runners

September 23, 2011 Registration closes for qualified applicants

September 28, 2011 (appx) Qualifiers from entry during second week of registration are notified of their acceptance.

If the field is not filled at the conclusion of the two weeks, then registration will remain open and qualifiers will be accepted on a first come, first served basis until the maximum field size is reached.

2013 Boston Marathon

For the 2013 Boston Marathon, in addition to the new “rolling admission” process for registration which will be in effect for the 2012 Boston Marathon, the B.A.A. will adjust the qualifying times by lowering them by five minutes from the times which have been in effect in recent past years. The adjusted qualifying times will go into effect on September 24, 2011, and are as follows:

2013 Qualifying Times (effective September 24, 2011)

Age Group Men Women

18-34 3hrs 05min 00sec 3hrs 35min 00sec

35-39 3hrs 10min 00sec 3hrs 40min 00sec

40-44 3hrs 15min 00sec 3hrs 45min 00sec

45-49 3hrs 25min 00sec 3hrs 55min 00sec

50-54 3hrs 30min 00sec 4hrs 00min 00sec

55-59 3hrs 40min 00sec 4hrs 10min 00sec

60-64 3hrs 55min 00sec 4hrs 25min 00sec

65-69 4hrs 10min 00sec 4hrs 40min 00sec

70-74 4hrs 25min 00sec 4hrs 55min 00sec

75-79 4hrs 40min 00sec 5hrs 10min 00sec

80 and over 4hrs 55min 00sec 5hrs 25min 00sec

*Unlike previous years, an additional 59 seconds will NOT be accepted for each age group time standard.

Registration for the 2013 Boston Marathon will begin on Monday, September 10, 2012.

“As the number of qualified runners has increased combined with greater demand to run the Boston Marathon, our new registration process enables those who qualify by the greatest amount of time to have the longest period to enter,” said Tom Grilk, B.A.A. Executive Director. “Our new registration process takes into consideration the many comments we received from runners this past fall and winter, most of whom urged the B.A.A. to institute a system which recognizes athletic performance above all else.”

Additionally, to recognize and to encourage longtime Boston Marathon entrants, the B.A.A. will allow those who have met the qualifying times and who have finished the last ten consecutive Boston Marathons to enter anytime during the registration period. Currently, there are approximately 500 runners who have run 10 or more consecutive Boston Marathons.

The B.A.A. last adjusted the qualifying times for the 2003 Boston Marathon, relaxing times for runners who were 55 years old and older. The last time the qualifying times were made more stringent was for the 1980 Boston Marathon.

The 2011 Boston Marathon reached its maximum field size of qualifiers faster than any previous year when qualifiers rushed to fill the race and the qualified field closed in eight hours, three minutes.

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