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How to Qualify for the Boston Marathon

The Boston Marathon is the only U.S. Marathon for non-elite athletes that requires participants to meet strict run-time requirements. If participating in the world's oldest yearly marathon sounds like just the thing for you, then get to know what it takes to compete.


  • Step 1: Be an adult Be at least 18 years old by race day. Minors aren't allowed to participate in the race.
  • Step 2: Train Train for your qualifying race, keeping the Boston Marathon in mind. The course in Boston is extra hilly, so be sure to add hill training to your workout routine. Before the race, runners should be able to run 15 to 25 miles per week.
  • Step 3: Meet the time Meet the time standard for your age by running a qualifying marathon officially recognized by the Boston Athletic Association. Obtain proof of your finish time from race officials. Find a list of qualifying times and races at
  • TIP: Your time must be met on or after the September 20th prior to race day, which is always the third Monday in April.
  • Step 4: Follow the rules Follow all of the guidelines and qualification standards that accompany your application. Register online the day registration opens, and you're ready to hit the famous Boston streets for this Patriot Day tradition.
  • FACT: In 2010, 21,000 people signed up online for the 2011 marathon in just 8 hours, 65 times more quickly than they did in 2009, and more than 200 times as fast 2005, when it took almost 7 months to fill the same number of spots for the 2006 marathon.

You Will Need

  • 18 years of age
  • Training
  • Qualifying race
  • Proof of your qualifying time
  • Internet access

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