In 2 days registration for the Boston Marathon 2012 will open, yet I am unsure if I can even get in if I want to run. My Boston Qualifying time of 3:23 is over 16 minutes faster than my qualifying time of 3:40 which allows me to apply in the 2nd wave of registration for those who have beaten their qualifying time by 10 minutes or more.

Tomorrow I have two good friends attempting their first BQ at a marathon that they specifically chose because it was the day before registration. One thing they were sure of is that their BQ, no matter how fast, had to be run before September 12th, 2011 or they were not getting into the 2012 race. I pray tomorrow that they run fast enough that they will not only achieve BQ’s but will be at the starting line of Boston in 2012.

The new registration procedures mean that a Boston Qualifying time NO longer ensures that you will get to run the Boston Marathon. While I find that fact very sad, for those [including myself] who have worked very hard to qualify I understand the rules and am fine with them.

Yes I just said I am FINE with the fact that if I run a BQ I might not get in to the race. You may say that I feel this way because I have run Boston and therefore do not appreciate it as much as someone who has never run it before. NOT TRUE.

Boston is Boston. It is the top for most runners, something people work for, for their whole lives. I appreciate every time I qualify for the race and will appreciate every time I have the privilege of running such a prestigious race.

The reason I am okay with it is because a BQ whether or not I get to run is still a privilege. Let’s look at it compared to the Olympics Trials. Boston is basically the Olympics, in my opinion, for the average man. It is a sporting event that you compete with the fastest men and women in the world. Can a basketball player say that? When you play an intramural soccer game do you compete against the guys in the World Cup? Running with THE BEST of the best is one of the BAZILLION reasons why I think the sport of running ROCKS.

When an elite runner qualifies for the Olympic Trials, it goes on their *running resume*. Olympic Trials Qualifying will always be part of who they are. They may or may not be able to run the Trials but no one can take that OTQ away from them. If they do run it, there is no guarantee that their time will be fast enough to run at the Olympics. Still does not take away their Olympic Trials Qualifying race, or the fact that they ran the Olympic Trials.

Undoubtedly everyone who applies to get in to Boston this year is going to feel one or more of these emotions — happy, overjoyed, relieved, hurt, depressed, or sad. Some of us will get in to Boston and some of us won’t.

For those of us who don’t – STAND TALL and RUN PROUD. NO one can take your BQ away from you. You will always be great in my eyes.



  1. Marisa @ The Pace of my Life says:

    I agree. BQing is quite an accomplishment even if you don't get to run the race. YOU still did IT!!

  2. Lesley @ says:

    I have a friend who has been working toward qualifying. She will likely just barely edge under the standards. However, once she qualifies, I really urged her to run for charity. It's important to her to qualify, but if she meets the standard, even by a second, that's exactly what she'll be doing.

  3. Mile Posts by Dorothy Beal says:

    That's great Lesley! I know I will get crucified for this but I think in order to *fix* the fact that SOOOO many people obviously want to run Boston that the charity runners should be required to qualify. Still raising money for great causes but also allowing those of us who have achieve a BQ to run it!

  4. I really liked your post. I finally BQed with a 3:39:06 last month. Do I think I am going to get to run? Probably not. Do I ever think I will get to run Boston? As a relatively new runner I think I still have a lot of improving to do and have little doubt that I will be able to run the race one day. Although it is a little sad that had I run my time a year earlier I would get to run Boston, maybe this is what makes me less sad. Feeling that it isn't something out of reach even with the stricter standards. Ultimately my top goal is to fulfill my full running potential and like you said a BQ is still a BQ. Quite an accomplishment.

  5. I agree. I have a goal of one day qualifying for Boston – yet I know I'll never run it since I live in Australia. For me it's the challenge of being able to say "yep, I qualified"

  6. Could not agree more — to the charity runners comment.

  7. Christy @ My Dirt Road Anthem: A Runner's Blog says:

    Great post! You are so right just to even qualify is amazing. I have not run a marathon yet, so I look up to anyone who has and really admire those that have that BQ on their resumes. Great job to all who do. I also have to say I really hope I win your giveaway but irregardless I already ordered a skirt today because I loved your post about it so much. Thanks for being such an inspiration.

  8. I agree with your comment about the charity runners – should have to BQ too. Their entries make up at least 15% of the field.

  9. I know that this has nothing to do with this post, but I have to say it. I have been a lurker on your blog for a long time now. I am a SUPER new runner and can't even run 4 miles straight yet, and still have some weight to lose. But I just want you to know that I read your posts, and you inspire me so, so very much…and I just think you are so awesome. God bless your sweet soul. I think you are so cool, and I can't wait to read your Boston Recap again! :-)

  10. Thanks for this post. It was super insightful – not sure if I will be fast enough this year or next year, but BQ-ing definitely is a great goal and I appreciate the thought you put into sharing your experience.

  11. I feel the exact same way about qualifying for Boston. My biggest running goal is to qualify for the Boston Marathon. However, I am pretty sure I will never have the chance to run it since it is run on a Monday in April, which, as a teacher, is a little hard for me to schedule. However, just being able to say that I qualified for Boston will make me the happiest runner on the planet!

  12. thethinksicanthink says:

    I agree. I made a goal to meet the Boston std about a year ago (and then I ran 3:48 in May — a 21 min marathon PR but still 8 min off the std!). I'm trying for 3:35 at NYC this year. If I beat that, it probably won't be by much. And, I probably wouldn't get into Boston. But, really, that's ok to me. My life will go on just fine if I don't run the Boston Marathon. I don't know if its my non-running background (if you'd asked me 3 years ago I probably wouldn't have even known you had to qualify for Boston) that gives me that attitude towards. For me, its more about setting a high goal and working hard to achieve. And the BAA provides that goal for me – its a nice benchmark to say you've passed.

    I've been running 2.5 yrs now, so maybe with some more time, I'll beat the standard by a lot and get to run it. But, being a medical student, I'm not going to count on that to happen.

    I agree on the charity runners qualifying. I have two friends who qualified and then didn't get in with it closing so fast last year. They then ran for charity. I thought that was great – they earned the opportunity to be there and did something good in the process.

  13. Getting my BQ was so emotional…."DREAM BIG". And I did. I did it! But only by 4 minutes and 55 minutes…meaning that I'll be registering on September 19th…hopefully. While I am thoroughly thrilled with qualifying, I can't help but WISH that I get in. I notice that I'm a little emotional all over again this week while waiting! Thanks for the positive post. It helps!

  14. Amanda@runninghood says:

    great post here Dorothy. Gosh I hope i get in…3:24 for me this year so I am also on the second day. Hoping it all works out. My husband has his marathon tomorrow in hopes of qualifying. He has to run 3:10 or faster and not so sure that will get him in. I agree about the charity comment too!

  15. そのとうり!  I hope to get in on the button for my age bracket later this year (to then use for 2013 Boston). But even if I don't get to run the race (due to being the in the last group being able to sign up), a BQ is a BQ!!!

  16. I stumbled upon your blog from Cate's and I really loved this post. I BQ'ed two years ago, got two pelvic stress fractures almost immediately afterward that forced me to take a year off from running and then finally ran Boston this past April, albeit a lot slower than my BQ time. I will probably never be fast enough to BQ again, but just having done it once…to be able to say that at some point in my life, I had achieved something that so few can really is amazing. I love your take on all this…and this post kind of made me cry. In a good, happy way. Good luck on getting into the race this year!

  17. jillconyers says:
  18. You are so right about how a BQ can never be taken away. I get to sign up on Friday, and really hope I get in. If I don't, I am still a qualifier. The killer for me is that if the date of Boston was one week later, I would get to sign up on Wed, as I am having a birthday right after the Boston Marathon. It makes me one of the oldest people with my qualifying time. I also agree that charity runners should have to qualify to run. I think that would be a great option for those who just barely qualified, but still want to run.

  19. I love this and completely agree with your perspective. A BQ is still a BQ, regardless of whether you run Boston or not. Actually, I see qualifying for Boston and running Boston as 2 separate things – each amazing in their own way. When I heard about the standard change, it gave me a new goal to shoot for. It energized me, in a way. So when I got that sub-3:20 at National, I was so excited just to be able to sign up for Boston. Signing up on Monday is, in a way, sort of more exciting than even running the marathon in April (for me, anyway).

    But even if I wasn't able to sign up, or able to run the marathon come April, that BQ is mine. And I think anyone who does BQ should wear that badge of marathon honor with pride. :)

    PS. Completely agree with your comment re: charity runners as well.

  20. says:

    AMEN!!! I just BQ'd today at the Lehigh Valley Marathon. I completely realize that my time (3:43:46) is slightly below my qualifying time and won't be good enough to actually register for Boston. BUT, I am a BQer and ALWAYS will be! It's a title that no one can take from me and something that I will always have.

  21. This is a great post! I haven't yet run my first full and BQing is no where in my near future, but I love your analogy. Thank you (and good luck!)

  22. {lifeasa}RunningMom says:

    Awesome post and I am sure those who don't get into the race with appreciate you pointing out that they are still very awesome for qualifying!

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