So, the Boston Athletic Association announced today that it was changing registration for the 2012 marathon, and then qualifying times for races after that.
From the Associated Press:
BOSTON (AP) — The Boston Athletic Association announced new registration procedures for the Boston Marathon on Wednesday in response to a growing demand that left some of the fastest runners on the sidelines for this year’s race.
The new two-week, online, rolling admissions program will allow top qualifiers to enter first, beginning with the 2012 race. Qualifying times will not change.
In October, nearly 27,000 runners registered for the April 18 race in eight hours, the fastest the field has ever filled. The first-come, first-served registration left many qualified runners disappointed.
Marathon officials made the changes after three months of study.
The 26.2-mile race begins in Hopkinton, Mass., and ends in Boston’s Copley Square.
During the new registration process this Sept. 12-23, only runners who have exceeded the qualifying standards for their age and gender group by at least 20 minutes will be allowed to apply on the first two days.
Runners who met the qualifying standards by at least 10 minutes can begin applying on the third day. Those who met them by at least five minutes can begin applying on the fifth day.
If spots remain after the first week, runners who have qualified by any amount of time can begin applying on Sept. 19. The fastest qualifiers in each age and gender group who apply during the second week will be accepted until the field is filled. If space remains, any qualifier can apply on a first-come, first-served basis.
For the 2013 race, the qualifying times will be lowered by five minutes, the first time they will be made stricter since 1980.
OK, so let me get this straight, I need to run a 3:25:59 to register on the first day now? I just don’t see that happening in Brookings in May. Hell, I don’t know if I will be able to go sub 4:00 this time around — thanks to 2 years of injuries and pregnancy. It’s not even smart to really try (though lets be honest, I fully intend to bust my ass out there and just go ahead and blow up and see what happens). I wonder if it will fill before it opens to those of us who will squeak by on our times (3:45:59 for me, since I’m 36).
And since it opens before any of the big fall races (Twin Cities, Chicago, Des Moines, regionally, anyway), maybe it will be full before those are even run? So if I don’t qualify in the spring, then what? I have to get even freakin’ faster and run a 3:40:59 in spring 2012? Good lord.
Why the hell did I not register this year? I mean, I know why I didn’t — running Boston 6 months post-partum after a year of injuries wouldn’t be smart. And I don’t want to “just run” it. I want to REALLY run it, in good shape, and bust my ass out there and see what happens (which, of course, knowing my history, would be racing on some horrible broken bone injury and then watching the wheels come off around mile 22 after setting ridiculous goals for myself). Of course, now I’m like, damn, maybe I should have just registered and run it for fun. Because 26.2 miles on crappy training is a lot of fun, right?
I don’t have much to say on if this is a good or bad idea, or much opinion on changing the qualifying times. Let’s face it, I want to run Boston because not everyone can do it. And I want to earn my spot with my time, not raising money. And I’m still proud that I EVER earned a spot there — 8 months post-partum with Jack. I worked hard for that, and even though I couldn’t run the race on that time because of injuries, etc., I’m still glad I got it (which is why I also bring it up nonstop. “Oh, do you have a bike trail in Sioux Falls?” “Yes, and I ran on it when I was training for a marathon where I QUALIFIED FOR BOSTON.” “(silence)”)
I guess I just don’t know if I can do it again. It was tough to train so hard with a newborn. It’s tough now to do mediocre training with a newborn and a toddler. Yesterday the baby woke up at 4 to nurse, and I decided to just stay up. Then my running partner wasn’t feeling good, so I had to run alone. I chose to run on our treadmill rather than icy roads at 5 a.m., alone, even though I despise treadmill running. It took pretty much everything in me to not just go back to bed.
We’ll just have to see what happens in 2011. I will be so pissed, though, if I qualify in Twin Cities and the damn race is closed to me already. Will it fill that quickly? And does this unfairly benefit people who live in warmer climates who can run without slipping on ice all winter? I don’t know.
What do you think?