Custom Search

Monday, September 12, 2011

BR: the new BQ

Was qualifying for Boston a challenge?
Try registration! It opens this week in a wave-style registration that allows the fastest runners to register first, and allots remaining slots to the fastest of the "general qualifying" group.
The idea is to keep Boston fast, which makes sense to me.
But I have some ideas that the BAA might also consider. I mean, if they ask me. Which they won't.
It makes sense to simply make the cutoff times stricter, and not just the 5 minutes that go into effect next year. The time cutoffs have changed a lot over the years, but right now they are just too slow to keep the Boston mystique. I'm not saying BQ time is slow, it's not - it's fast, and any time I BQ I totally act like a jerk about it. But a lot of very average runners like myself is not how the BAA envisions their race, so rather than give a half-chance to people in the lower strata of BQ times (isn't it dumb that I have to use terms like BQ strata?!) they should just make it a lot harder.
And while we're making it harder let's look closer at certain groups. I've come to agree that women are kind of given a pass with qualifying times. I don't have the science to back it up, but I don't think that men on average are capable of a half-hour faster marathon than women. I think 20 or 25 minutes would be better. There is also a little bit of a problem with the age group division. Once you turn 35 you are considered old and get extra time to qualify. That means that for this year a 35 year old woman would get a full 3:45 for her race! And women tend to mature later in running, so she's probably at her peak. Then you get an extra 5 minutes for every five years!
My ideas?
1. It needs to be harder for everyone, like a 3-hr for guys and a 3:25 for girls (and yes, that means I wouldn't qualify!).
2. Let's make it a little tougher on the girls, especially in that 35-40 bracket.
3. Quit with the weird age divisions. How do you have one bracket that is 16 years, then all the rest are 5?
4. Lose the wave registration. Once times are more stringent, you won't need them. This system sounds like a great big logistical disaster that will generate a tide of anger and complaints, and since it judges entrants based on time anyway, BAA might as well simply restrict registration to those it deems fast enough to compete.

So while I'm waiting for BAA to consider my ideas (haha), the big question is - will I try to register? In the past, I have said no, since my husband's frenemy who irritates the crap out of me lives in Boston. However, we visited anyway last Spring and I loved the city so much I do want to go back. So I am going to attempt to register. I'll be in wave 2...or, as the website refers to it. "BQ-10". Silliness!

Are YOU registering for Boston?
Is "BQ" a goal for you?
What's your opinion of the new times and registering procedures?


  1. Love your thoughts here. I think they need to make qualifying even harder. I might make enemies with this opinion but I think it would, as you mention, help with the problem. I will be registering on Wednesday. Hope to get in. With a 3:24, I hope I do but if I don't, then I'll just have to go for that 3:10 and qualify like a man. Ha! Love your tell it like it is writing Gracie. :) Your writing is always kind of refreshing for me.

  2. FREAKING love this post.

    I thought I was the only one who avoided cities because of people. Seriously I can't run St. george because I *^%$@@* 10 people there.

  3. Good questions and comments. I have no desire to run Boston or any of the other "big" marathons - qualifying time or not.

  4. I love that you don't want to do Boston because of a jackass you can't stand. I feel that girl.

  5. I agree with this. One part of me wants standards low so I can qualify one day, but at the same time--what's the point of qualifying with a second to spare if I'll never get to run it anyway? I'm with you--make it harder to BQ!

  6. I have zero desire to qualify for Boston. I would have to take well over an hour off my marathon time! Eep! Haha.

    But I do agree it should be a lot harder to get in since they want it to be "elite" runners.

    I hope you get in! You are a good runner and it would be fun to do! I want to go and cheer/watch the Boston Marathon one day.

  7. I don't think the BAA has ever said that they want the race to be for elite runners. Elite is generally defined as those able to qualify for the Olympics. For women that means a 2:40 time, I think. If the BAA went to that standard it wouldn't be able to afford to put on a race. I am trying to find the stat about average marathon time for women in the below-35 category. It is in the high 4s... at least an hour slower than the old BQ time so the field has been above average for the group often considered to have the easiest time. More people are running marathons, hence more people are getting a BQ but the average marathon finish times are getting slower. Read an article a few months ago about this a few months ago that I will try to link to here so you all don't think I am making this up :)
    That said the BAA can do whatever it wants... The harder the BQ the better it will be if I ever manage to qualify again (likely never unless I don't slow down between now and my 80th birthday).

  8. I think if it means something to you , you should go for it. Especially because you like the city. Just avoid the frenenemy. no need to hang with them.

    I actually have no interest at all in running Boston. I just really dont want to. I don't even see much mystique about it, as it is an expensive race, in a city. BUT, I gotta admit, My ultimate goal is an ultra in South Africa, for which I do have to qualify for, so I guess I can not really say much.

    Thing is that there will always be slow runners at Boston as they let people raise money for charity and get a Boston Entry, so...when people tell me they ran Boston now, I just sort of shrug...especially if they are actually running with my slow tush when they are telling me about it!

  9. i've run the Boston around 8 times now so i feel i can comment on this honestly. first off, in my opinion, i don't and never have felt the BAA tries to make this a race for elite runners. my PB is 3:12 - hardly fast enough to call myself 'elite'. but i will say it's nice to run and not have to dodge the slower runner. i run this race for one reason and that to beat my PB. it's a fast moving race and unlike other marathons, i look forward to the fast pace.
    personally, i feel they need to up the qualifying time. but that's just me.

  10. I am not fast enough, even at the levels they have now! But I am trying! If they make it even harder, I will just have to try even harder! But that's okay, as there are so many more races out there! It is a notch on your belt to say you have done Boston though!

  11. Oh and I love Boston, so I think you should go just because of that. For me.