You BQ’d. Now What? Here’s What to Do Next
You’ve done it. You’ve qualified for Boston. After the sheer elation at the finish line and the soreness that’ll set in within hours, you’ll need to think about officially registering for the Boston Marathon. (Yes, you will be registering yourself for The Boston Marathon.) Take some time to let that wash over you. You’ll be getting on the website to use the actual information not just wonder who is lucky enough to pay the nearly $200 entry fee. This is all assuming of course you checked, double checked and rechecked that you were running a USA Track and Field (USATF) certified course.
Understanding Your Time
We all know, or rather all of us runners know, that you have to qualify to run the Boston Marathon. However, sneaking in by the skin of your teeth with a few seconds quicker than your qualifying time, unfortunately, will not guarantee that you will toe the famed start line. You may have bragging rights for qualifying but if the year has a quick field you might not even be able to get started. The qualifying times are not for the faint of heart to begin with but if you want to guarantee you get to that line, like always, every second counts.
Keep in mind, because the math can get tricky, that the qualifying time is for the age you are on the day of the Boston Marathon not the day of your qualifying marathon. For example, there could be a chance for some of you to run a race in December 2017 at age 38 with a January birthday, and be able to run a qualifying time for April 2019 at age 40! It’s a small gift from the running Gods.
Looking at the last three years alone, including the 2018 field, runners had to run at least 2 and half minutes faster and upwards of almost three and half minutes faster than their qualifying time to even have a chance to register. With the current qualifying times, it can almost be guaranteed if you beat your qualifying time by five minutes or more, you’re in!
The Boston Athletic Association (BAA) began a rolling registration in 2012. This sets the field into a potential four waves: 20 minutes faster than your qualifying time, 10 minutes faster than your qualifying time, 5 minutes faster than your qualifying time and after a one week close, if space remains, an opening up for all qualifiers.
If you need assistance figuring out your registration date, you will be able to use the registration calculator to calculate what day you can register. Do not register early as it won’t go through. Beyond that, it’s pretty much like any other race. All you need is your basic information: name, date of birth, mailing address, email, phone number, two emergency contacts and qualifying race, date run, location and qualifying time. You know, all the stuff you know by heart. Then whip out that credit card and start watching charges from the BAA appear on your card. (Because of all the races you have run, this is the race to acquire some merchandise!)
An email confirmation does not solidify your fate. The registration process can take up to three weeks. Do what you need to do and the rest will follow suit. In the email you received from BAA acknowledging your entry and application to the Boston Marathon, you will receive a reference ID. You, without any effort on your part, go through a vetting process. After the verification of information and your entry payment confirmed, you will get an official acceptance email. Pretty fancy.
Then in a fun, turn of pomp and circumstance you will get a confirmation of acceptance card in the mail. Physical mail. When was the last time a race mailed you something “official”? Go ahead run up and down the driveway in your work clothes. Instagram and Snapchat that envelope! Celebrate the accomplishment all over again!
Your End All, Be All
The BAA has all of this down to a fine science. Check out their website at www.baa.org for any questions or information about qualifying. It’s an easy to use website. Just be warned it’s a time-suck because it is so informative and interesting. If you want a fun read, find the section on the History of Qualifying.
The information is clear, concise and to the point from qualifying, to registering, to updating your qualifying time if need be. It’ll also serve as a motivator for the months (and months) before the race. You can get news, race activities, shop Adidas, get course info, training plans and much, much more.
Finally, the Fun Stuff
Get. The. Hotel. Now. Or at least as soon as the hotel will let you book. You’ll want a great room for a good night’s sleep and a great location to party afterwards. Take a glance at flights so you can watch for your ideal setup and figure out who you are going with. Could be runners only, a fun couple’s trip, and a fun girl’s trip. And let’s not forget the actual running of the race. Set a goal or 25 goals. It’s Boston, so go bonkers! You could re-qualify or you could stop and take pictures the whole time. It doesn’t need to matter to anyone but you. A lot of work got you here. Make sure you enjoy every mile (and the .2) of the Boston Marathon. You deserve it.