AW promotion: Want to qualify for the prestigious Boston Marathon? Learn the age and gender based qualifying standards, find the perfect certified marathon, and get training tips tailored to hit your goal time
The Boston Marathon is one of the most prestigious marathons in the world, but runners cannot simply sign up – they must meet strict qualifying standards. This in-depth guide covers everything you need to know about qualifying for the Boston Marathon, from understanding the age and gender-based standards to choosing the right certified course.
You’ll also get training tips tailored for achieving your target qualifying time so you can cross the finish line in Boston. Dream big and see if you have what it takes to earn a coveted spot in one of running’s most iconic events.
The Boston Marathon is unlike any other – runners must meet specific qualifying standards to earn a spot at the start line. But the reward of crossing the finish line on Boylston Street in Boston makes the hard work well worth it. This comprehensive guide explains the ins and outs of qualifying, from the age and gender-based time standards to strategies for selecting the right goal race.
You’ll also learn training tips for honing your speed and endurance to hit your target qualifying time within the window. Finally, discover if you have the dedication and drive to achieve one of the most prestigious accomplishments in running – qualifying for the Boston Marathon.
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Qualifying Standards Are Based on Age and Gender
Unlike most marathons which allow any runner to register, the Boston Marathon requires participants to meet qualifying standards. The standards are based on age group and gender, so older runners and women have slower qualifying times. The qualifying times have gotten faster over the years as more and more runners aim to reach Boston. For the Boston Marathon, qualifying times range from 3 hours for 18-34 year old men to 5 hours 20 minutes for women 80+.
The Boston Athletic Association has an extensive list of qualifying times on their website. Some key age groups:
Men’s Qualifying Times
- 18-34 years old: 3:00:00
- 35-39 years old: 3:05:00
- 40-44 years old: 3:10:00
- 45-49 years old: 3:20:00
- 50-54 years old: 3:25:00
- 55-59 years old: 3:35:00
- 60-64 years old: 3:50:00
- 65-69 years old: 4:05:00
- 70-74 years old: 4:20:00
- 75-79 years old: 4:35:00
- 80 and over: 4:50:00
Women’s Qualifying Times
- 18-34 years old: 3:30:00
- 35-39 years old: 3:35:00
- 40-44 years old: 3:40:00
- 45-49 years old: 3:50:00
- 50-54 years old: 3:55:00
- 55-59 years old: 4:05:00
- 60-64 years old: 4:20:00
- 65-69 years old: 4:35:00
- 70-74 years old: 4:50:00
- 75-79 years old: 5:05:00
- 80 and over: 5:20:00
Runners in the non-binary category can qualify using the women’s times. More information here.
Training to Run Your Qualifying Time
Running a Boston Qualifying time requires diligent training and dedication. Though challenging, it’s achievable with the right preparation. Here are some tips to help you achieve your qualifying time:
- Build a base first. Before starting a focused Boston qualifying training plan, develop a solid aerobic base with weeks of easy running. This will prevent injury when you increase mileage and intensity.
- Gradually increase long runs. Work your way up to doing 20+ mile long runs consistently in your marathon training. This prepares you physically and mentally for the full 26.2-mile distance.
- Do marathon-pace workouts. Get comfortable holding your goal Boston qualifying pace by doing tempo runs, marathon pace segments, and half-marathon tune-up races at or slightly faster than your target pace.
- Run hills. Running hills makes you stronger and teaches you to maintain form when fatigued – perfect for the Newton Hills waiting for you late in the Boston Marathon course!
Bottom Line: Dreams Do Come True at Boston
Qualifying for the Boston Marathon is a challenging but rewarding goal. With smart training and the right certified marathon, your Boston dreams can come true! Use the B.A.A.’s list of qualifying times to determine what you need to run. Then train hard and smart, choose the right course, and execute on race day. See you in Hopkinton!