Thoughts on the new Boston Marathon qualifying times

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    • #53452

      Now that the new qualifying times are out long enough that emotions have cooled, I thought I’d share my thoughts quickly on the new times and ask you what you think of them.

      For those who missed the news (I suppose it’s possible) the BAA tightened their qualifying standards. Every qualifying time got 5 minutes faster. Some people are very upset about this. I tend to take a different view of it.

      I get it, if you have been working toward the standard, it stinks that the target got moved on you. Especially if you were targeting a fall race to qualify for 2020, it’s tough.

      However, to actually get into the 2019 Boston Marathon, you already needed to run 4:52 faster than the qualifying time. In my opinion, tightening the standards by 5 minutes is simply truth in advertising. For 2020, you would have most likely needed to be more than 5 minutes faster than the qualifying standard to actually get in. Why not be more honest about things and just say you need to be 5 minutes faster?

      In my opinion, the only thing they could have done better was to announce earlier that this was coming. They knew for quite some time that this time was coming. They could have announced last year that new qualifying standards were coming from 2020. That way people would have known with plenty of advance notice.

      What do you think? Did the BAA do the right thing by tightening the standard? Could they have handled it better? Should they have left well enough alone?

    • #54184
      William Blair

      I guess I am OK with tightening the BQ times, or apply my 2nd idea below. My issues with Boston are:
      1. Although I agree with charity running and have run Marine Corps Marathon as a charity runner, I disagree with charity running in Boston. IMHO, it contradicts what Boston represents: a level of excellence. So, if you are rich or very good at raising money, you can run Boston without a BQ.
      2. If you have run Boston many times in a row (say, 10) disallow entry for a year to allow a first-timer to get in.

    • #54185

      William, interesting thoughts. As I’ve stated in other places, I personally believe it’s the BAA’s race and they should do what they feel is best. I do think you’d get some pushback over your ideas (sometimes the best ideas get pushback so I’m not saying that’s a bad thing).

      1. “It’s for charity, that’s a good thing!” I totally get that argument and have to admit it was my first thought when I read your idea. Maybe Boston should be an exception? There are a lot of races that raise a lot of money for charity, maybe there should be one that doesn’t? I could go either way with that argument but it’s an interesting idea that I don’t think should be dismissed as quickly as certainly many people would want to dismiss it.

      2. “It’s tradition!” I know some people who go out to Boston every year. It’s part of the tradition for them to do so. I have a little trouble with this. If they qualify and they want to make a tradition of going out there, why shouldn’t they be able to keep that tradition going? That said, as with the charity idea you offer, just because I’m not a big fan of it doesn’t make it an idea that’s not worth considering.

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