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Participant Information: Registration Q & A

More information on the 2014 Boston Marathon registration process

While 2013 has been challenging, we appreciate and again acknowledge the outpouring of support which we have received and to which we have been witness.

For 2014 and with a larger field size, we wanted to achieve the correct balance among the field of participants by accepting as many qualifiers as possible, accommodating those who were prevented from crossing the finish line in 2013, and recognizing some who were directly involved in 2013. While we would like to accept all qualified runners, field size limits are in place to ensure the best possible experience for all runners in the field.  We will next address the allocation of remaining slots in as fair a fashion as we can across people and groups who are or represent those most affected by the events of April 15

We also want to preserve the character of the marathon, to honor those most affected by what occurred in April 2013, to assure that we had at least as many qualifiers in the race as we do in a normal year, to give an opportunity to finish to those who were prevented from doing so, and to endeavor to achieve a fair balance of opportunity to athletes falling in all of those categories. Balance has been very important to us, recognizing both the special need for a response to what happened in 2013 and the strong allegiance we have to those runners who work so hard to meet the qualifying standards.

Because of these unique circumstances, we are faced with difficult decisions this year. We appreciate your support, and we understand the desire by so many to be part of the 2014 event. We hope this guide answers your questions. Thank you for understanding our position, and our efforts to accommodate as many of you as possible.

Did you let in more of fewer qualified runners this year?

We let in more qualified runners this year, not fewer. Since we had so many more qualified runners enter this year, we also had many more qualifiers than usual that did not get in.

Who are the extra entries being given to for the 2014 race?

Some of the extra slots given to special category runners this year are just that: extra slots. They were not taken away from qualified runners. They include those most affected by last year’s events: those who were prevented from finishing, first responders, elite and legacy runners, and families of victims.

Did you expand the Charity Program?

We did not expand our field of slots reserved for runners in our Official Charity Program. The increase in the percentage of “non-qualifying” runners for 2014 almost exclusively comes from the special category runners mentioned above. These slots did not take away from qualified runners either.  With some of the extra slots from the increase in field size for 2014, we will provide a limited number of special invitations to those most affected by the events of April 15, and many of these will raise funds for worthwhile charities.

Why didn't my qualifying time guarantee my place in next April's race?

Achieving the qualifying times make you eligible for entry and allow you to submit your application but does not guarantee entry. Due to the increase in the number of qualifiers who have wanted to run the Boston Marathon in recent years and beginning for the 2012 Boston Marathon, the B.A.A. introduced a “rolling admission” process to registration for the Boston Marathon.  In this process, entry is not first-come, first-served; rather, our registration process allows the fastest among all qualifiers to enter first and takes into account the field size limit. Those who meet the B.A.A.’s qualifying times are eligible to submit their application, and the fastest qualifiers are accepted.

What is behind this year’s field size change?

As you may know, the 2014 field was increased by 9,000 runners. This represents a significant increase, as our field size limit has been 27,000 in recent years. The B.A.A. made the decision on the increase in field size in cooperation with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the eight cities and towns along the Boston Marathon route. Increasing the field size impacts everyone, and requires more resources. Knowing the increased demand we would experience to run in the 2014 race, we wanted to accommodate additional participants, bringing the total field size to 36,000.

This change was part of our response to the acts that took place in April. Our city, our state, our nation and our sport are uniting to show that we don't give in to such things and that we honor those who were most affected by it. This represents a significant increase. The B.A.A. does not solely determine the size of the field in the Boston Marathon. A special exception was made this year to achieve the balance we spoke of above, to accommodate a large group of special runners (last year’s runners who did not finish), and to honor those most affected by what occurred in April 2013, achieving a fair balance of opportunity to athletes falling in various categories. But it is important to note that we will have a larger field of qualified runners in 2014.

Why is it more difficult to earn a slot this year?

Note that the number of applications from Qualifiers was significant this year. We are accepting more Qualifiers for 2014 than we have in the past, and we used the same registration process as in recent years. The running community has been remarkably supportive, and many from around the country and world have wanted to participate to run Boston in 2014 as a show of unity.

We can only accept so many runners; inevitably this means many cannot be accepted into the Marathon. We still appreciate your support, and hope you continue your quest to run Boston in the future.

Why do so many slots go to fundraisers who haven’t qualified by time?

Now in it’s 26th year, our charity programs have raised more than $150 million. One of our primary missions is to promote healthy living through sports, especially running. Every year we allow fundraisers to run to support our community. We are again supporting a group of organizations in 2014, and we recognize the good work they have performed in the community with funds raised by these runners. For 2014, because of our special circumstances, we’ve been given permission to allow even more qualifying runners than last year, so we’re allowing more time-qualified runners than last year. Though many of them may be coincidentally considering charitable giving this year, we have not expanded our charity program per se. We’ve just had so many supporters from around the world apply, so the field of applicants is much larger, which means we cannot accept all of the runners who want to participate in the Boston Marathon.

I ran last year, and have strong emotional/personal reasons for wanting to run again. Can you make an exception for me?

Almost everyone who ran or watched last year has a strong personal reason for wanting to run Boston in 2014, and each of them is equally important and valid. We regret that we can’t fill every slot that a deserving runner would like, and we hope you continue to pursue your dream of running Boston again. We understand your frustration; this was a difficult year for all of us. We have increased our field for 2014, but it is important that we maintain and uphold the quality of the experience of running the Boston Marathon. We hope those who are unable to run in 2014 understand that we wanted to accommodate those who did not finish in 2013 due to the circumstances, and we want to include some who were at the center of the events in some way. We’re working on those plans now, but accepting the most Qualifiers that we could was a priority that we wanted to take care of in September through the regular registration process.

I felt my qualifying time should have gotten me in, especially in a larger field. Why can’t I get in?

We understand that there were and are many possible ways to approach the allocation of entries for 2014, and we have sought the best balance we could achieve among all those who want to run, recognizing that others may differ on what should be done. That said, qualifying times allow you to submit an entry, and from those valid applicants, we take the fastest, considering we have a limited field size. This is true every year. This year, with our expanded field, we are actually allowing slightly more qualifying runners. We are appreciative of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the eight cities and towns along the Boston Marathon route that have given permission to have a larger field size in 2014 in order to accommodate additional participants. But we acknowledge how important the Boston Marathon is to runners and the effort required to achieve the Qualifying Standards, and regret that we cannot accept everyone who wants to run. We do hope you continue to pursue your dream of running Boston.

Can I run for the One Fund?

Any runner can raise money for The One Fund Boston, and we hope many will consider doing so. We are in the process of establishing how The One Fund will be further involved in the 2014 Boston Marathon. It is important to note that The One Fund Boston is an autonomous entity from the B.A.A.

B.A.A. Moment 2

1935 John A. Kelley