Destinations Fitness Marathons

What Is a Boston Marathon Qualifying Time?

2017 Boston Marathon Registration
Written by Charlie

The Boston Marathon is certainly one of the greatest marathons. Find out what it takes to run it with a Boston Marathon qualifying time.


The 2017 Boston Marathon has come to a close and many happy runners completed this great goal. Now, there are many runners that are looking ahead to the 2018 Boston Marathon and hoping/training to get a Boston Marathon qualifying time for the ultimate marathon experience.

So, what does it take to qualify for Boston and what should you know?

What Is a Boston Marathon Qualifying Time?

The 2018 Boston Marathon will be April 16, 2018

Granted, most of the runners that set out to run the Boston Marathon know the time they need to hit to be eligible to submit an application. But that does not stop thousands of people from searching the internet to know what a Boston Marathon qualifying time is and what they need to do to qualify. Here are the qualifying times and what you need to know.

Boston Marathon Qualifying Times

The Boston Marathon is one that people must qualify for in order to enter. Just qualifying does not necessarily guarantee entry (see below for more) but it will let you enter and hopefully be approved! The Boston Marathon qualifying times are age and gender specific. Here are the times:

Breaking Down the Numbers & Age

The policy used to be that they would give you up to 59 seconds on your qualifying time, meaning if you needed a 3:30, they would actually give leeway and let you submit up to a 3:30:59. But, now it is incredibly more competitive and there are thousands of qualified runners each year who’s qualifying time actually is not good enough to make the cut! Plus, they have made the qualifying times even more difficult than several years ago.

Your Age Does Matter!

When it comes to age, here is the fun part. They grade you according to the age you will be when the Boston Marathon is that you have qualified for. For instance, I turned 35 this year. If I had qualified for this year’s Boston Marathon, even though I would have been 34 when I qualified, I would have needed to get a 3:10 instead of 3:05 since I was 35 at the running of the Boston Marathon. So, keep that in mind! Especially when it comes to the qualifying window (see below)!

Boston Marathon Qualifying Window

If you ran a Boston Marathon qualifying time after September 17, 2016 then you would have ben eligible for entry for this year’s Boston Marathon and the 2018 Boston Marathon.

This will be the same for this year. If you run a qualifying race after a date-to-be-determined in mid-September, you will be eligible for the 2018 Boston Marathon (if you qualify before registration closes, which is typically the week or so after that) and the 2019 Boston Marathon. This is great if you are changing age categories by the 2019 Boston Marathon since it would give you a bit of an advantage if you qualify during that sweet spot.

Sometimes Qualifying Is Not Enough

Here is how the registration window opened for the 2017 Boston Marathon qualifying times:

In the end, anyone who “only” beat their qualifying time by more than 2 minutes and 28 seconds were in for the 2017 Boston Marathon. That means that you had better make sure you really clear your qualifying time if you want in to the 2018 Boston Marathon!

When Does Registration for the 2018 Boston Marathon Open?

It will open sometime in mid-September but there has not been a date set yet. In the meantime, if you have not already qualified, get training as you have some months before the registration opens!

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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.