Here are 5 Marathons For a Last Chance at Qualifying for the 2019 Boston Marathon

2017 Boston Marathon Registration
Written by Charlie

If you are trying for a last shot at qualifying for the 2019 Boston Marathon, here are 5 marathons that could help you grab that time and to get in under the wire! There is a nice variety here and you will likely be surrounded by others with the same goal and a staff cheering you on for it.

The registration period for the 2019 Boston Marathon opens September 10. With the window for qualifying for the 2019 Boston Marathon closing at the end of registration, that gives everyone who wants to qualify for the 2019 Boston Marathon just about a month to go! If you need a last chance, here are 5 marathons that could be that shot for you.

5 Marathons for a Last Chance at Qualifying for the 2019 Boston Marathon

Maybe your goal marathon for a Boston Marathon qualifying time was a bust or maybe you have one coming up but the heat is something that is scaring you away. Having a “plan B” for a Boston qualifier is a good idea and these 5 marathons could just be your Plan B!

I chose these 5 marathons based on reviews as well as their locations, type of course, and how fast it appears to be. Hopefully, one of these will help you get your goal of running the 2019 Boston Marathon!

Information about Qualifying for the 2019 Boston Marathon

Boston says that the qualifying window closes when the registration closes. It opens on September 10 and goes in a wave start based on the amount of time you cleared the qualifying window. At the end of that week, it will close and reopen on Monday, September 17, if there are still slots. Historically, there are still slots available so that should be the case again this time. To see your Boston Marathon qualifying time, check out this page.

In no particular order, here we go!

Pacific Northwest Marathon

Link: Pacific Northwest Marathon

  • Date: September 15
  • Location: Coburg, OR (just outside of Eugene)
  • Cost: $85

People say that this marathon is received by very friendly people in the area and that the organizers themselves are very interested in providing an exceptional running experience.

This course is a fast one with a nice, negative elevation profile. If you are looking for a marathon in the northwestern part of the US, this could be that one for you!

Given the time of year and location, temperatures should be very helpful and, of course, the scenery won’t hurt!

Charles River Marathon

Link: Charles River Marathon

  • Date: September 8
  • Location: Boston, MA
  • Cost: $350 (all the earlier fundraising commitment slots are filled)

This race takes place right in the hometown of the Boston Marathon so it will be popular with many of the local runners trying for that last shot at the 2019 Boston Marathon. It is a 2.6 mile loop course so you will be running 10 laps on this flat course.

A loop course can be great for runners trying for a specific goal because you learn the terrain quickly, the aid station at the starting line can be well-stocked so you don’t need to carry water, and the chances are bigger crowds are better since the course is so short.

Flat, friendly, repetitive, and in the Boston Marathon area should make this a popular race with anyone in New England that wants to grab a 2019 Boston Marathon qualifying time. That high cost is prohibitive but if you live nearby, you would not have to spend money traveling to a different race.

US Air Force Marathon

Link: US Air Force Marathon

  • Date: September 15
  • Location: Dayton, OH
  • Cost: $110

I ran this race several years ago and it has always stood out to me for a few reasons – an awesome medal, a unique course, and the honor of receiving the medal from an Air Force officer at the end of the race. Also, as an AVgeek, getting to see some great Air Force planes was not that bad either!

Of the marathons at this point of the calendar, this is one that should make sure you have quite a bit of company throughout the entire race course. This is a popular race and the course leads you through some crowd areas that can give you that boost to help you get to your goal.

It is not flat but after you summit that huge hike at the start of the race, you will be having a fair amount of downhill after that. That is, until you reach mile 20 :). But, hey, at least you have that 60 foot drop around mile 25 to spark you kick!

Run the Loop Marathon

Link: Run the Loop Marathon

  • Date: September 2
  • Location: Downingtown, PA
  • Cost: $60

This marathon makes it on the list for a couple of reasons. One is the price, which is really quite reasonable, and the other is that it is a 1 mile loop course. That may sound horrible to you but in reality, it is actually very helpful for a goal race like this! I have done 63 miles on a 1/2 mile course and 55 miles on a 1 mile loop course and there is one big advantage to them – big aid station. Since you are passing that single aid station every mile, you can easily go without carrying anything for the whole race and you will have all the staff there at that point to help cheer you on.

A 1 mile loop can be a blast! That is just far enough to let you keep yourself focused on your mile splits while not being all that monotonous. Definitely give this a look if you are anywhere near this one!

Last Chance BQ.2 – Grand Rapids
Link: Last Chance BQ.2 – Grand Rapids 
  • Date: September 8
  • Location: Grand Rapids, MI
  • Cost: $125

Ok, with a name like this, you know exactly what they are all about! This means this entire race is focused on helping you to get to that Boston Qualifying time. This creates a very close knit group of runners that will be encouraging each other throughout the race and a staff that is going to do everything they can to help you reach your goal.

BTW, they are so serious about this last chance effort that you will only be eligible if your full or half times give you a shot at this!

A “Maybe” Option – Lehigh Via Marathon

Link: Lehigh Via Marathon

I did not include this in the list above due to complaints about what appeared to be a rather unfortunate planning issue in the 2016 marathon. Apparently, organizers did not account for a train schedule that held up runners at the train tracks for 8 minutesThis cost many runners their BQ attempts. I did not notice that in the 2017 comments but still did not feel good about recommending it in the list above.

That being said, this marathon ranks high on the list of being one of the best Boston qualifying races so it could be an option for you! It is held on September 9 and costs $155.


So, there you have it! Good luck as your swing for that last chance at a 2019 Boston Marathon qualifying time. If you aren’t able to pull it off this year, there is always next year!

Featured image courtesy of Marcio Jose Bastos Silva via Shutterstock

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.

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