The little blue-and-golden tickets that get a runner into the world’s most famous marathon just became a lot harder to come by.
I first heard it from Caitlin at Healthy Tipping Point. Having had my head in the sand for the past few weeks, my first thought was that it was an early April Fool’s joke (which actually happened last year when someone set up a fake Boston Athletic Association page announcing new qualifying times).But a look at the real BAA page confirmed it: Across the board, qualifying times for the 2013 Boston Marathon have officially been lowered by 5 minutes and 59 seconds.
The worst part
They had to do something. Registration for this year’s race was open for all of eight hours before the race filled. (I set about 30 alarms to make sure I didn’t miss it, and I was lucky enough to get a spot.)
The natural response, of course, is to make it harder to qualify. I get that. Amby Burfoot, who has a great article about why he doesn’t like the new requirements, cites an estimate that the new requirements will lower the number of qualifiers from about 57,000 down to 41,000. (Thanks to Tim from Midpack Runner for pointing me to this article.)
Mission mostly accomplished. But here’s what I hate about it.
Since this won’t completely alleviate the problem of too many people trying to register for too few spots, the BAA went one step further: Registration will now take place on a rolling basis, so that the fastest qualifiers in each group will have the chance to register first. Only after they’ve had their chance will slower qualifiers be able to register, if spots remain open.