When news hits on Monday and I want to write about said news a week later, today’s 24/7 news cycle can make it seem a little on the stale side. However, the 115th Boston Marathon’s selling out in less than eight hours is something that remains fresh many days later.
Last year, the fabled marathon filled to capacity in November and that was shocking. The previous year it was topped off in January and many were left out in the cold thinking it would be open for a few more weeks. When I signed up to run my very first Boston Marathon in 2005, I waited until I procured a slightly faster seeding time at the Little Rock Marathon- held on March 6th and Boston was still open then! Obviously the popularity of the event is growing and the state of running in America is strong. As such, now is the time to make it harder to get into Boston.
It has become quite clear that standards for obtaining a Boston Qualifying time need to be harder. For those new here to my writing style, I will explain that “harder” simply means more difficult than they are currently – not impossible for most to reach. Without a doubt, if 20,000 people with a BQ can fill the race in eight hours, the demand has far exceeded the supply.
Not too long ago the qualifying standards were 2:50 for men and 3:15 for women. While I don’t think the move to those very tough standards is necessary, changes need to be made. First and foremost, the female standards are disparagingly slow, almost to the point of insulting women. Women had a large disadvantage in the sport by simply not being allowed to compete in the marathon (or any long distance race) until the past 30 years or so. We have found out what the fairer sex can do and while the female elites may never be in the same class as male elites, the evidence is there that they needn’t be handled with kid gloves anymore. These women are runners and the difference between corresponding age groups should reflect that. The fittest and fastest women out there should not have to only run a time that a 50-54 year old man is required to run.
On the flipside, it is clear that the men’s standards need to drop as well. A full ten minutes per age group might be a little too much but five minutes is completely reasonable. For the 18-34 year old males, running a 3:05:59 is entirely reachable. The same drop would work well for each corresponding group.