SBD/February 17, 2011/Events and Attractions

Boston Marathon Revamps Registration To Appease Faster Runners

BAA officials have no plans to increase size of Boston Marathon field
Boston Marathon organizers yesterday announced plans to "overhaul registration for the 2012 marathon and tighten qualifying standards" for '13, the "first time in 33 years the Marathon has toughened its qualifying times," according to Hohler & Springer of the BOSTON GLOBE. The Boston Athletic Association "unveiled the new rules four months after registration for the 2011 event closed in a record 8 hours and 3 minutes." The amended policy is "aimed at guaranteeing entry to the fastest marathoners through a rolling, online admissions process that permits top qualifiers to register first." By "tightening the qualifying standards -- they will drop by five minutes in every age category for men and women -- organizers hope to further accommodate the best runners without increasing the overall field or the burden on cities and towns along the 26.2-mile course." BAA officials said that they have "no plans to significantly address the large number of nonqualifying participants." Former marathoner Tom Derderian, who wrote a book about the Boston Marathon, said that the "revamped policies satisfy the BAA’s need 'to adapt to the contemporary context’ of the race by limiting the impact on cities and towns along the course." Hohler & Springer note even "with the registration changes, however, the BAA may not be able to restore its proud tradition of accommodating every qualified marathoner." BAA officials last year estimated that "as many as 3,000 qualified runners were denied entry for the 2010 race" (BOSTON GLOBE, 2/17).
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