Tuesday, October 26, 2010

On Boston's Lightning-Fast Registration Closure

 Yeah, this shot is old. Like, 1999 old. But it was one of the cooler pictures Google Images pulled up.

If you're the slightest bit the running nerd that I am, you probably know that registration for the 2011 Boston Marathon (taking place April 18, 2011) closed in just over eight hours after it opened up on Oct. 18. As in filled up, booked solid, done deal.

The Boston Marathon is the cream of the crop when it comes to American road races. It's the oldest annual marathon and and one of the most well-known racing events in the world.

Of course, Boston being Boston, it holds qualifying standards even tougher than NYC's (with several existing loopholes, natch). One such requirement is that women in my age group, 18-34, have to finish another marathon in 3:40 or less within the seven months preceding the race.

 What was YOUR 2003 qualifying time, Will Ferrell, hmmmm?

Some people are saying qualifying standards should be tightened up even further. I don't think I'd agree on this one, because the challenge is definitely already alive and present. But I personally can't say I am TOO up in arms about this recent development, because I certainly wasn't counting on qualifying this year-- I'm aiming to finish NYC in 4:30.

Even though Boston Athletic Association Executive Director Guy Morse called the rapid closure an "unprecedented event," I still think the problem lies in the BAA's choice in timing, and I  think anyone who WAS hoping to use his or her NYC finishing time to qualify should have been given a fair shot.

Although I finished my final required NYRR race for guaranteed entry on Dec. 19, 2009, I wasn't invited to register until Jan. 26, 2010*, just like everyone else who was eligible to apply before the randomized lottery drawing took place in April. Like Boston, once NYC registration is closed, it's closed. Just because I qualified to run doesn't mean my spot was secured-- had I bummed around and procrastinated on paying my $160 race registration fee, I undoubtedly would have missed the boat to run this year. The bottom line is that my chance was THERE, and for many 2011 Boston hopefuls, it now is not.


*Full disclosure: I registered that very day, YesInTheMiddleOfWorkNoShame.


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