That number, to most runners, is significant. Or it used to be.
It used to be the Boston Qualifying time for women aged 18-34. Now though, it just got that little bit harder. 5 mins harder.
The new Boston Qualifying time for my age group for the 2020 race.
Ok, so technically, 3.35 hasn’t been fast enough to actually get you to the starting line for many years now. With competition getting fiercer for bibs, this year you had to run 4.52 seconds faster than 3.35.
Looking at it that way, not a huge amount has changed.
If everyone that runs a sub 3.30 gets a place in the Boston Marathon in 2020, then it will actually only be an 8 second speed increase between the 2019 goal posts and the new qualifying time.
And I think that’s a great thing. My goal of a sub 3.35 wasn’t just to run a Boston Qualifier, but it was to run a BQ and get a place in the Boston Marathon and earn that spot. I want to run a time that will get me a bib, to line up in Hopkinton knowing that I ran my fastest to deserve to be there.
I know that there were a LOT of disappointed runners this year. People that had run an official BQ but had missed out on that elusive start line because of the fierce competition. And I don’t want that to happen. For people to have worked their socks off to run a sub 3.35, and yet, somehow have ended up on the sidelines again.
I don’t know how they get around that other than by lowering the qualifying time, to avoid so many heartbroken runners come September.
However, if it keeps going the way of years gone by, and you really need a 3.25 to get into the race in five years time, then I don’t think it’s OK. Why set these arbitrary times if so many people can achieve them that it no longer becomes a way to keep to the number limits?
For some, just running the BQ will be enough. To know that you’ve run a time that officially qualifies you to at least put your hat in the ring.
I’ve followed Kelly Roberts and her journey to BQ, where her goal was to run a Boston Marathon Qualifier, however she recently announced in her video that her ‘BQ or Bust’ that her big NYC BQ attempt is still going to be a sub 3.35 rather than aim for a 3.30. Personally, I don’t think that it’s a BQ attempt anymore. The goalposts have moved, so by default the goal moves.
I had thought she’d made it clear that she wanted to Boston Qualify, that it wasn’t just about the time. It was the prestige of that qualifier.
Certainly, that’s how I feel.
If you’ve read this blog for a while, you’ll know I’ve actually run the Boston Marathon, back in 2017. I was given a bib thanks to Adidas, but I felt like a bit of fraud. I felt like I didn’t really deserve to be there, and so I am determined to make my way back to Hopkinton having earned it.
So, whatever they make that qualifying time, you better believe I’ll continue to work my ass off to run it.
I’m giving it my all.
Plus I very nearly did a Paula Radcliffe at the end of the race, so don’t have a good medal photo…so that’s another reason I have to go back! Read my race recap here!
Would love to know what you think about the changing Boston Qualifying times?