Author Topic: Boston Marathon registration/qualification changes  (Read 6742 times)

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Offline Ryan

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Boston Marathon registration/qualification changes
« on: February 16, 2011, 09:38:08 AM »
Interesting way of handling the issue. Rolling registrations and, for 2013, faster qualifying times across the board.

http://www.boston.com/sports/marathon/blog/2011/02/baa_announces_new_procedures_f.html

Offline Ed

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Re: Boston Marathon registration/qualification changes
« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2011, 12:18:38 PM »
Even though this will make it much more difficult for me to qualify for Boston.  I am all for it.
 
The Boston marathon might get its prestige back and this would be good.
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Offline Andrew A.

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Re: Boston Marathon registration/qualification changes
« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2011, 11:07:38 PM »
Looks like treating the symptom to me.  No matter how fast a qualifying performance I might turn in, I still see little sense in registering in September for a race in April.  The qualifying standards will remain rather lax, to boot.  Boston will remain a largely yuppie tourist destination race.
Why dink around? Go for it, be the best. It is worth whatever risk there is even if you fall short. You will be better.
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Offline Ryan

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Re: Boston Marathon registration/qualification changes
« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2011, 07:11:18 AM »
The September registration is what most got me. As I pointed out elsewhere, this procedure would allow for December, January, or even February registration. Forcing people to register 7 months pre-race is going to keep many of the most competitive, fastest sub-elites they claim to be favoring with this method out. Most of the fastest sub-elites I know would not register for an expensive marathon 7 months in advance. They want to know at least something about how their training is going before registering. Even when I ran Chicago, registering 3 months out was a bit uncomfortable.

Other than that, though, I kind of like the procedure. Once all is said and done, for open men if I recall the current standards correctly, those who have gone sub-2:45 get first dibs. Then, sub-2:55, sub-3:00, then finally sub-3:05. That seems reasonable and, if demand is strong enough, maybe the de facto standard will become sub-3:00 or faster. This creates first slightly stronger standards and second the potential, if the demand is there, that the standards will get stronger by default as needed.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2011, 07:14:14 AM by Ryan »

Offline dring

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Re: Boston Marathon registration/qualification changes
« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2011, 09:19:35 AM »
Looks like treating the symptom to me.  No matter how fast a qualifying performance I might turn in, I still see little sense in registering in September for a race in April.  The qualifying standards will remain rather lax, to boot.  Boston will remain a largely yuppie tourist destination race.

The yuppie tourist destination is so true.  When I ran it, I thought this is going to be cool because these are great runners.  That was proved wrong in so many ways.  People did not dress properly for weather, they stopped to pee within the first mile (really), and generally it seemed like they were there for a victory lap.

Offline r-at-work

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Re: Boston Marathon registration/qualification changes
« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2011, 10:21:56 AM »
"September": I've never been a race director, but I have run large 'events' and I can understand wanting to know WAY ahead of time how many people are going to show up. I was never brave enough to believe that % that don't make it and always ended up with left over pizza for lunch the next day.
 
"treating the symptoms" : well, yeah, that's about all they can do and I actually think they made several good decisions (a) let faster in each age/gender group get in first (b) cut 5:59 seconds in the second year...
 
"yuppie tourist destination": except for those Kenyans, or are they classified as tourists? seriously how many distance runners are not yuppies?should they ban anyone that lives outside the greater Boston area to get rid of tourists? Actually I think the area likes getting that influx of tourist bucks, and yuppie tourists have lots of bucks.
 
"victory lap": yeah, and it's sweet...loved being a tourist... loved listening to the speakers (most former Boston Champions)... if you didn't see the 'great runners' when you were there, maybe it's because they are at the front on race day. I ran in 2007, the threatening Nor'Easter... most people dressed for the weather (layers), better than most BIG races.
 
'get it's prestige back': if it had lost it why are so many people tryng to get in?
 
 
They want to keep their numbers up, but let 'faster' runners (in each group) have the best shot of getting in. I think that the incremental registering is brilliant and will HELP the general running public. Not only will they get a standard but it will tighten by the faster runners GETTING IN FIRST, just like a race! My thought is that with the incremental tightening of the qualifying times Boston is prepping the throng for the possibilty of another round of tighter times if this doesn't ease the registration crush.
 
-Rita
 
 
 
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Offline Andrew A.

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Re: Boston Marathon registration/qualification changes
« Reply #6 on: February 17, 2011, 11:00:43 AM »
Glad you jumped in!  :)
"September": I've never been a race director, but I have run large 'events' and I can understand wanting to know WAY ahead of time how many people are going to show up. I was never brave enough to believe that % that don't make it and always ended up with left over pizza for lunch the next day.
Nor have I, yet it was obvious enough "how many people are going to show up" just based on the past two rounds of registration for this race.  When was the last time John Hancock BAA failed to fill its field of alloted entries?
 
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"treating the symptoms" : well, yeah, that's about all they can do and I actually think they made several good decisions (a) let faster in each age/gender group get in first (b) cut 5:59 seconds in the second year...
Oh, they could be far more proactive and aggressive. 
 
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"yuppie tourist destination": except for those Kenyans, or are they classified as tourists? seriously how many distance runners are not yuppies?should they ban anyone that lives outside the greater Boston area to get rid of tourists? Actually I think the area likes getting that influx of tourist bucks, and yuppie tourists have lots of bucks.
Okay, but what does that have to do with the real purpose of a marathon race?  I would imagine there are more than a few good Boston/New England area runners who are certainly not yuppies.  Was Bill Rodgers a yuppie?  Benji Durden?  Joan Benoit Samuelson?
 
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'get it's prestige back': if it had lost it why are so many people tryng to get in?
Marketing and perception.

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They want to keep their numbers up, but let 'faster' runners (in each group) have the best shot of getting in. I think that the incremental registering is brilliant and will HELP the general running public. Not only will they get a standard but it will tighten by the faster runners GETTING IN FIRST, just like a race! My thought is that with the incremental tightening of the qualifying times Boston is prepping the throng for the possibilty of another round of tighter times if this doesn't ease the registration crush.
Yes, hopefully that is the case.  The perception that "faster runners" will get in first is interesting as I am unsure just how this really helps the 2:25-2:45 males and the 2:50-3:15 females other than allow them to the front of the line to register at a ridiculously early date.  Those rolling registration points are still relative to the individual qualifying standards and there will still be plenty of 40+ aged runners who even at 5, 10, 20 minutes faster than the established (or even revised) qualifying standards are still relatively slow.  However, this might hurt the far end of the older age groups as it is seemingly far easier to beat those qualifying standards by 5, 10, 20 minutes at ages 18-69 than it is at 70+.
Why dink around? Go for it, be the best. It is worth whatever risk there is even if you fall short. You will be better.
‎"There is no such thing as an overachiever. We are all underachievers to varying degrees." - John Wooden.

Offline r-at-work

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Re: Boston Marathon registration/qualification changes
« Reply #7 on: February 17, 2011, 12:26:53 PM »
...When was the last time John Hancock BAA failed to fill its field of alloted entries?
... they could be far more proactive and aggressive. 
...  Was Bill Rodgers a yuppie?  Benji Durden?  Joan Benoit Samuelson?

 
I think Boston did not fill in 2008... but I think we are in an increasingly 'tourist driven' world (really I agree with you guys on most of the points)
I do think BAA could have been more proactive & agressive, but they are rather a conservative bunch and want to fill the race (with 14% not showing up)
Those you mentioned weren't yuppies 'in the day' but they are now! In the day they could have gotten a BQ-20 with no problem. Probably an 'elite' big maybe even an invite...but this year Meb couldn't even get an elite bib! and that's not because of the runners in corrals 10-20, but another issue all together. I could mention that if he had WON last year he would have gotten bib #1 without even asking!

Quote
They want to keep their numbers up, but let 'faster' runners (in each group) have the best shot of getting in. I think that the incremental registering is brilliant and will HELP the general running public. Not only will they get a standard but it will tighten by the faster runners GETTING IN FIRST, just like a race! My thought is that with the incremental tightening of the qualifying times Boston is prepping the throng for the possibilty of another round of tighter times if this doesn't ease the registration crush.

Yes, hopefully that is the case.  The perception that "faster runners" will get in first is interesting as I am unsure just how this really helps the 2:25-2:45 males and the 2:50-3:15 females other than allow them to the front of the line to register at a ridiculously early date.  Those rolling registration points are still relative to the individual qualifying standards and there will still be plenty of 40+ aged runners who even at 5, 10, 20 minutes faster than the established (or even revised) qualifying standards are still relatively slow.  However, this might hurt the far end of the older age groups as it is seemingly far easier to beat those qualifying standards by 5, 10, 20 minutes at ages 18-69 than it is at 70+.

I think this is the part that is SO interesting... I would LOVE to see a breakdown of what age groups DO get in! I really don't have a dog in this fight as I've "been there, done that, have the t-shirt"... but I might want to go back at some point and maybe then I can talk to the 70+ standard!
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Offline Ryan

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Re: Boston Marathon registration/qualification changes
« Reply #8 on: February 17, 2011, 12:48:48 PM »
Rita, I won’t get into the rest of the discussion but, on the early registration dates, they sold out in 8 hours this year. At this point, they darn well know before registration opens exactly how many will be there. The number is whatever they set as the limit.

As for how many register vs. how many show, later registration decreases no show percentages and also decreases variability in those numbers. Open registration later and they will be more sure of how many people will be there on race day.

Offline Andrew A.

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Re: Boston Marathon registration/qualification changes
« Reply #9 on: February 17, 2011, 12:58:40 PM »
Those you mentioned weren't yuppies 'in the day' but they are now!
I am fairly certain that they are not.  I know Benji Durden (lives just up the road), have met JBS, follow Rodgers today and none of them strike me as being anything remotely close to affluent yuppies.  Regardless, the chief point being implied was that this race once served runners of that stripe (how many times do we need to trot out how many men went sub-2:20 in '83?) yet now seems essentially indifferent to that demographic.  The 'prestige' and the concept of it being a competition first and foremost were pushed aside long ago and these changes do essentially nothing to move this race back in that direction.
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Meb couldn't even get an elite bib! and that's not because of the runners in corrals 10-20, but another issue all together. I could mention that if he had WON last year he would have gotten bib #1 without even asking!
Yes, but what that could have to do with this topic is lost on me. 
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I think this is the part that is SO interesting... I would LOVE to see a breakdown of what age groups DO get in! I really don't have a dog in this fight as I've "been there, done that, have the t-shirt"... but I might want to go back at some point and maybe then I can talk to the 70+ standard!
Nor I, really, as the marathon is just another distance to me and John Hancock BAA is just another marathon that happens to have been around a long time to my view.  I am most interested in what best serves the sport, I suppose. 
Why dink around? Go for it, be the best. It is worth whatever risk there is even if you fall short. You will be better.
‎"There is no such thing as an overachiever. We are all underachievers to varying degrees." - John Wooden.

Offline r-at-work

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Re: Boston Marathon registration/qualification changes
« Reply #10 on: February 22, 2011, 08:32:31 AM »
I am most interested in what best serves the sport, I suppose.

if nothing else the BAA changing the entry policy has caused LOTS of talk, maybe that helps the sport a bit... I think the staggered (faster than BQ) entry process is a good idea as it does help the sport... assuming faster runners want to get in to Boston, not just feel that since it's gone to the 'yuppies' they'd rather just stay home.
 
My sister who teaches middle school (and runs 5K-10Ks) tells me that many long time teachers say they have seen a slide towards laziness. I'm wondering if that (school) trend might be reflected in the number of sub-elite runners today(how many times do we need to trot out how many men went sub-2:20 in '83?). After all it takes time and effort to get runners to sub-2:20 (and the female equivalent), not just races that cater to them (though I think there might be some of those around as well).
 
One reason I like this BB is that most here are serious, at whatever distance is run.
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Offline Andrew A.

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Re: Boston Marathon registration/qualification changes
« Reply #11 on: February 23, 2011, 12:51:25 PM »
if nothing else the BAA changing the entry policy has caused LOTS of talk, maybe that helps the sport a bit...
Talk within the sport?  Not that I have noticed.  None of my teammates or training partners has brought up the topic in discussion.  We talk about plenty of other happenings in the sport, just not that.
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I think the staggered (faster than BQ) entry process is a good idea as it does help the sport... assuming faster runners want to get in to Boston, not just feel that since it's gone to the 'yuppies' they'd rather just stay home.
Faster runners have been effectively shut out of Boston for years now, being "allowed" to register unimpeded in September seems to do nothing to help in that regard.
Quote
My sister who teaches middle school (and runs 5K-10Ks) tells me that many long time teachers say they have seen a slide towards laziness. I'm wondering if that (school) trend might be reflected in the number of sub-elite runners today(how many times do we need to trot out how many men went sub-2:20 in '83?). After all it takes time and effort to get runners to sub-2:20 (and the female equivalent), not just races that cater to them (though I think there might be some of those around as well).
Agreed, though what various things will feed into the motivation to put in the time and effort?  Races that support competition from the top down first and foremost?  There is a national/societal trend towards diminished expectations/standards to make people feel better about themselves.  See grade inflation, SAT score reformat, clothing size changes, etc.  Also, distance running as a sport simply occupies a lot smaller portion of the general sports landscape and thus a smaller portion of the collective national psyche. 
Why dink around? Go for it, be the best. It is worth whatever risk there is even if you fall short. You will be better.
‎"There is no such thing as an overachiever. We are all underachievers to varying degrees." - John Wooden.

Offline Andrew A.

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Re: Boston Marathon registration/qualification changes
« Reply #12 on: April 15, 2012, 02:42:51 PM »
For 2013, qualification times will drop by five minutes uniformly across the board.  Combine this with the weather forecast for tomorrow and it looks like there could be a record low percentage of people qualifying for next year's John Hancock BAA at this year's.
http://www.coloradorunnermag.com/2012/04/15/bettering-boston-qualifying-standards-get-tighter/
« Last Edit: April 15, 2012, 02:49:07 PM by Andrew A. »
Why dink around? Go for it, be the best. It is worth whatever risk there is even if you fall short. You will be better.
‎"There is no such thing as an overachiever. We are all underachievers to varying degrees." - John Wooden.

Offline Ryan

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Re: Boston Marathon registration/qualification changes
« Reply #13 on: April 15, 2012, 07:16:36 PM »
Definitely looks like it would be the case. Simply a confluence of events, though, not some grand conspiracy.