Here is How Fast You Had to Run to Gain Entry for the 2020 Boston Marathon

2017 Boston Marathon Registration
Written by Charlie

Find out how fast you needed to be to gain entry to the 2020 Boston Marathon and what remains as a last shot for you to run the 2020 Boston Marathon.

The door has closed on 2020 Boston Marathon registrations and there are a lot of happy runners, 27,288 runners to be exact. But, even with the change of qualifying times, there were still a lot of surprised and sad runners as well, again, to be exact, 3,161 disappointed runners.

How Fast To Enter the 2020 Boston Marathon?

Link: BAA Acceptance

To give a short overview, for the 2020 Boston Marathon, the BAA changed the qualifying times to make them 5 minutes faster for each group. This was a good move overall since the successful entrants last year had to run almost 5 minutes faster than their qualifying time!

I had guessed that being 20-30 seconds faster than the new qualifying times would be enough but I was quite wrong! To successfully enter the 2020 Boston Marathon, you needed to run 1 minute and 39 seconds faster than your qualifying time! And this was with an additional 1,500 runners allowed this year!

That is a pretty amazing number to me! It shows that runners are getting faster each year or that faster runners are trying to enter the Boston Marathon. It also means that you still cannot know when you cross the finish line of your qualifying race if that time that was a bit faster than necessary was enough.

I remember back to just a few years ago that you would have until early March to enter and that you only needed to clear your qualification time! In fact, you had up to 59 seconds past your time (so if you needed to run a 3:30, you could run a 3:30:58 and still qualify). Not anymore!

The Breakdown of 2020 Boston Marathon Entrants

Here is how it broke down by qualifying times:

  • 4,051 Qualifiers met their qualifying time by 20 minutes, 00 seconds or faster.
  • 6,772 Qualifiers met their qualifying time by 10 minutes, 00 seconds or faster.
  • 6,948 Qualifiers met their qualifying time by 05 minutes, 00 seconds or faster.
  • 5,885 Qualifiers met their qualifying time by 1 minute, 39 seconds or faster.
  • 471 Qualifiers were accepted based on finishing 10 or more consecutive Boston Marathons.
  • 290 Qualified Para Athletes have been accepted, or are expected to be accepted, through the conclusion of the Para Athletics Divisions and Adaptive Programs registration period.
What If You Still Want to Run the 2020 Boston Marathon?

Link: Boston Marathon Charities

Each year, the BAA holds back a number of entries for charities. For example, in most years (as in this year), that number is 4,000 bibs. These are given to Boston charities or national charities. These entries require at least $5,000 in fundraising for the charity to be able to be used, however.

If you have a charity that is near and dear to your heart, you could go this way. But, I understand if you want to wait until you actually get in as well. The charity entrance can be a hotly discussed issue as many believe you should not run the Boston Marathon unless you have qualified.

However, if you just missed the 1:39 cutoff this year, you still did qualify so that should not be something to keep you back. Or, start finding a great race for next year and get that qualifying time and leave no doubt!

To the 27,288 runners that will be toeing the line on April 20, 2020, congrats and enjoy the build up for your race! To everyone else, there is always next year, and I am in that crowd as well! Plus, future years bring you to slower qualifying times as well when you enter new age groups. 🙂

Featured image by Marcio Jose Bastos Silva courtesy of 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.


  • That sounds great but at the same time, I’m curious of the % of first time Boston marathon runners. It seems to me the same friends always run Boston each year.

    • sorry, there is no evidence of that. In fact, there have been many people who had heart issues and the doctors told them it was their running that caused their heart to be in good enough condition so that they did not die.