Except that the higher the entry numbers, the higher the prize purse for this race. 8)
I can safely say that if I lived in New England then I would be looking to this race rather than Boston. The cost and need to enter almost half a year ahead of race day works against the best interests of a lot of good runners for whom BAA John Hancock is their local major spring marathon. Witness how high a 2:40-2:50 runner places these days versus twentysome years ago — and how often they tend to be runners visiting from far away. That is what BAA John Hancock has seemingly become, a rich tourist runner event. Meanwhile, Exeter puts in place a structure to grow competitive depth, between the entry standards, entry fees, and prize purse.