Boston Marathon Qualifying Times: Everything You Need To Know About The Boston Marathon

This is my complete guide to running a Boston Marathon qualifying time in 2020.

In this guide, I’ll give you some of the practical advice and actionable tactics that I’ve shared with clients to help hundreds of runners qualify for the Boston Marathon.

You’ll also learn:

  • Everything about Boston Marathon qualifying times 
  • Lots of insights into the 2020 Boston Marathon
  • How to qualify for the Boston Marathon
  • Training to Qualify
  • Running the Boston Marathon without qualifying
  • Lots of other helpful training and racing tips

So if you want to qualify for the 2021 Boston Marathon (or run your best race in the 2020 Boston Marathon), you’ll love today’s guide.

Let’s get started.

Running The Boston Marathon

Runners Boston Marathon Qualifying

Is qualifying for the Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A) really “the most prestigious running accomplishment?”

A lot of runners think so.

And a lot of runners never qualify.

In fact, most marathon runners miss their BQ time by a large margin. And men miss by a larger margin than women.

According to running industry analysis, 88% of all marathon runners and 98% of all runners do NOT run a Boston Marathon qualifying time.

Based on data of more than 2 million runners, the qualification rate is decreasing. 

So if you want to join the minority – or maximize your chances of running a qualifying time –  keep reading.

Boston Marathon Qualifying

Boston Marathon qualifying is the process of gaining entry into the Boston Marathon.

And what are Boston Marathon qualifying times?

To qualify for the Boston Marathon, runners must meet certain race time standards. And these race times correspond to their age and gender.

By running a marathon with the required finish time, a runner gains entry into the annual Boston Marathon.

Qualifying Times

To BQ or Not To BQ: History of Boston Marathon Qualifying Times

Before we get to your future successes, let’s go back in time and briefly look at the history of qualifying times. It’s helpful to look at the big picture.

And sometimes you need to take a step back to run one hundred steps forward. Or in the case of running a marathon, that’s 26.2 miles of steps.

Random Running Statistic: Specifically, running a marathon takes a runner (based on average stride length) a total of 55,374 steps for men and 62,926 steps for women from start to finish in a 26.2-mile race.

Ready to go through the history of qualifying times? 

Let’s do it.


The qualifying times started in 1970…

1970 Qualifying Time: 4hrs 

…. and immediately got faster.

1971 Qualifying Time: 3hrs 30min

In the mid-1970s, it remained the same…

1972 – 1976 Qualifying Time:3hrs 30min

…And then the Boston Marathon introduced age groups:

1977 – 1979 Qualifying Times

19 – 393hrs 00min3hrs 05min
40+3hrs 30min 

1980 Qualifying Times

19 – 392hrs 50min3hrs 20min
40+3hrs 10min 

1981 – 1983 Qualifying Times

19 – 392hrs 50min3hrs 20min
40 – 493hrs 10min3hrs 30min
50 – 593hrs 20min 
60+3hrs 30min 

1984-1986 Qualifying Times

19 – 392hrs 50min*3hrs 20min
40 – 493hrs 10min3hrs 30min
50 – 593hrs 20min3hrs 40min
60+3hrs 30min 

1987 – 1989 Qualifying Times

18 – 393hrs 00min3hrs 30min
40 – 493hrs 10min3hrs 40min
50 – 593hrs 20min3hrs 50min
60+3hrs 30min4hrs 00min

1990 – 2002 Qualifying Times

18 – 343hrs 10min3hrs 40min
35 – 393hrs 15min3hrs 45min
40 – 443hrs 20min3hrs 50min
45 – 493hrs 25min3hrs 55min
50 – 543hrs 30min4hrs 00min
55 – 593hrs 35min4hrs 05min
60 – 643hrs 40min4hrs 10min
65 – 693hrs 45min4hrs 15min
70+3hrs 50min4hrs 20min

2003 – 2012 Qualifying Times

18 – 343hrs 10min3hrs 40min
35 – 393hrs 15min3hrs 45min
40 – 443hrs 20min3hrs 50min
45 – 493hrs 30min4hrs 00min
50 – 543hrs 35min4hrs 05min
55 – 593hrs 45min4hrs 15min
60 – 644hrs 00min4hrs 30min
65 – 694hrs 15min4hrs 45min
70 – 744hrs 30min5hrs 00min
75 – 794hrs 45min5hrs 15min
80+5hrs 00min5hrs 30min

2012: New Registration Process (Rolling Admission)

2013 – 2018 Boston Qualifying Times

18-343hrs 5min 00 sec3hrs 35min 00sec
35-393hrs 10min 00sec3hrs 40min 00sec
40-443hrs 15min 00sec3hrs 45min 00sec
45-493hrs 25min 00sec3hrs 55min 00sec
50-543hrs 30min 00sec4hrs 00min 00sec
55-593hrs 40min 00sec4hrs 10min 00sec
60-643hrs 55min 00sec4hrs 25min 00sec
65-694hrs 10min 00sec4hrs 40min 00sec
70-744hrs 25min 00sec4hrs 55min 00sec
75-794hrs 40min 00sec5hrs 10min 00sec
80 and over4hrs 55min 00sec5hrs 25min 00sec

2019 Boston Qualifying Times

Most runners who qualify for the Boston Marathon get accepted into the race.

Some runners do not.

The reason: cut-off times and the window (more on this later).

The Cut-Off For Qualifying

The “cut-off” time for Boston Marathon registration is the amount of time faster than the qualifying standard a runner needs to be accepted.

Due to the rise in popularity of running, and field size limitations, a varying cut-off time is the norm.

Here is how it shaped up:

Men: 2019 Boston Qualifying Times & Accepted Times 

18-343hrs 05min 00sec3hrs 00min 08sec
35-393hrs 10min 00sec3hrs 05min 08sec
40-443hrs 15min 00sec3hrs 10min 08sec
45-493hrs 25min 00sec3hrs 20min 08sec
50-543hrs 30min 00sec3hrs 25min 08sec
55-593hrs 40min 00sec3hrs 35min 08sec
60-643hrs 55min 00sec3hrs 50min 08sec
65-694hrs 10min 00sec4hrs 05min 08sec
70-744hrs 25min 00sec4hrs 20min 08sec
75-794hrs 40min 00sec4hrs 35min 08sec
80 and over4hrs 55min 00sec4hrs 50min 08sec

Women: 2019 Boston Qualifying Times & Accepted Times 

18-343hrs 35min 00sec3hrs 30min 08sec
35-393hrs 40min 00sec3hrs 35min 08sec
40-443hrs 45min 00sec3hrs 40min 08sec
45-493hrs 55min 00sec3hrs 50min 08sec
50-544hrs 00min 00sec3hrs 55min 08sec
55-594hrs 10min 00sec4hrs 05min 08sec
60-644hrs 25min 00sec4hrs 20min 08sec
65-694hrs 40min 00sec4hrs 35min 08sec
70-744hrs 55min 00sec4hrs 50min 08sec
75-795hrs 10min 00sec5hrs 05min 08sec
80 and over5hrs 25min 00sec5hrs 20min 08sec


Boston Marathon Qualifying Times 2020

Men’s & Women’s Qualifying Times

18-343hrs 00min 00sec3hrs 30min 00sec
35-393hrs 05min 00sec3hrs 35min 00sec
40-443hrs 10min 00sec3hrs 40min 00sec
45-493hrs 20min 00sec3hrs 50min 00sec
50-543hrs 25min 00sec3hrs 55min 00sec
55-593hrs 35min 00sec4hrs 05min 00sec
60-643hrs 50min 00sec4hrs 20min 00sec
65-694hrs 05min 00sec4hrs 35min 00sec
70-744hrs 20min 00sec4hrs 50min 00sec
75-794hrs 35min 00sec5hrs 05min 00sec
80 and over4hrs 50min 00sec5hrs 20min 00sec

Here’s the recent history of cut-off times for Boston:

  • 2015 Cut-Off: 1 minute and 2 seconds
  • 2016 Cut-Off: 2 minutes and 28 seconds
  • 2017 Cut-Off: 2 minutes and 9 seconds faster
  • 2018 Cut-Off: 3 minutes and 23 seconds faster
  • 2019 Cut-Off: 4 minutes and 52 seconds faster
  • 2020 Cut-Off: 1 minute and 39 seconds faster

For the 2020 Boston Marathon, you must have run your qualifying time on or after Saturday, September 15, 2018.

Qualifying times are based on the runner’s age on the date of the 2020 Boston Marathon (April 20, 2020).

On the opening day of registration for Boston 2020, the Boston Athletic Association started with submissions for athletes who have a qualifying time of 20min+ under the standard.

As time went on, they opened up registration for people with times less than 20 min+ under their Boston qualifying time.

After the registration for Boston 2020 was complete, here are some statistics about qualifying times:

A total of 24,127 runners were accepted as qualified athletes.

Amongst these runners, there was a total of 600+ races used to run their Boston Marathon qualifying times.

The total number of Boston qualifying times submissions was 27,288.

And that means:

3,161 runners who ran a qualifying time did NOT get accepted into the 2020 Boston Marathon.

And here are some other interesting statistics:

  • 112 countries will be represented at the Boston Marathon in 2020.
  • The Boston Marathon in 2020 will have a total field size of 31,500.
  • So that means: 7,363 runners will run the race without having qualified.

Training To Qualify

Here is a simple step-by-step process on how to run a Boston Marathon qualifying time AND run the best race of your life in Boston (without being plagued by running injuries):

  1. Know the qualifying times.
  2. Set the right marathon training goals for you.
  3. Train intelligently. And by intelligently, I mean: Follow a custom training plan designed, monitored AND adjusted by a professional coach.
  4. A high-quality marathon training plan developed for you (and you only).
  5. Register for the Boston Marathon and continue to train intelligently.
  6. Run the Boston Marathon and follow your nutrition, hydration, fueling plan.
  7. And of course: stick to your pacing and race strategy plan too.

Let’s go deeper.

Set The Right Goals For Intelligent Training

Whether your goal is to run your first or fastest qualifying time, you’ll want to set goals.

Setting goals is a crucial step in running a qualifying time.

In many cases, bad goal-setting results in lots of wasted time and energy.

Running a Boston qualifying time is often just a matter of seconds so everything makes a difference. 

Here is what I recommend:

Set a goal of at least 5 minutes faster than the qualifying time you need.

Better yet, set a goal for 10+ minutes faster.

But of course, this depends on the individual runner.

And there are a lot of factors to consider when setting goals and writing a full or half marathon training plan.

For example, you need to consider: your body weight, body fat percentage, recent race times, pain threshold, injury history, and a lot more. Maybe you need to lose some fat or drop a few pounds.

Get honest about your goals and believe in yourself.

Many people say things like:

  • “I’m not fast enough.”
  • “That’s not something I can ever accomplish.”
  • “It’s too difficult.”

The funny thing is this:

Many of my clients used to say the same thing.

But they qualified and continue to run personal records in Boston every year.

And I can tell you from coaching all sorts of runners that anyone can do it.

Despite being challenging, you can do it. But you need to train intelligently.

And train your mind to truly believe in yourself through training your mind.

How many miles a week should you run to qualify for Boston?

A lot of runners want to know how to get fast enough to qualify for Boston. 

Can the average runner qualify for Boston?

The answer is simple: Yes!

It’s hard but you can do it. 

And here is how many miles a week people usually run to qualify for Boston:

Weekly Training Mileage Boston Marathon Qualifying

According to data from Strava, male qualifiers ran nearly twice as many miles more than male non-qualifiers.

The same goes for females.

Female qualifiers also ran nearly twice as many miles as female non-qualifiers.

Male qualifiers averaged 559 miles in 12 weeks of training.

Female qualifers averaged 482 miles in 12 weeks of training.

How many times a week should you run to qualify for Boston?

Is running 4 times a week enough? 3 times a week? 

This chart breaks down how many times a week people typically run to Boston qualify?

Times Per Week You Should Run To Boston Qualify

As you can see above, both men and women Boston qualifiers run about two more runs per week than those who didn’t qualify.

Male qualifiers averaged 7.05 runs per week.

Women qualifiers averaged 6.70 runs per week.

Boston Athletic Association

The Boston Athletic Association (BAA) did a pretty good job figuring out qualifying times in 2019 for the 2020 race.

In recent years, the B.A.A. stated that they were decreasing the qualifying times. And they did what they said they were going to do.

Here’s more on the 2020 Boston Marathon registration:

Slowest BQ Standard

In 2020, the slowest Boston Marathon qualifying time was for women runners that are 80+ years old.

For them, the time to qualify is 5 hours and 20 minutes.

Fastest BQ Standard

In 2020, the fastest qualifying standard was for men in the 18-34 age group.

For this age group, the qualifying standard was 3 hours.

30 Minutes

Typically, men’s qualifying standards are 30 minutes faster than women’s qualifying standards.

Also, the qualifying times get significantly slower as you get older.

The problem here: running these “qualifying standards” does not actually lead to guaranteed entry.


How Do You Qualify For The 2021 Boston Marathon

Boston Marathon Qualifying Window

For the Boston Marathon in 2021, qualifying times must be run on or after Saturday, September 14, 2019. 

If you plan on running a qualifying time, make sure you are racing to run a time within the window. And faster than the cut-off time. 

Setting the right goals also involves understanding the rules and regulations. 

So here you go:

Rules & Regulations



Here are some of the rules and regulations:

  • Runners must be 18 years of age on race day. And The Boston Marathon welcomes runners from any country.
  • To qualify, only certified full marathon distance courses are accepted. The course must be certified through USATF, AIMS, or foreign equivalent certifications. Distances shorter than a full marathon are not accepted. Indoor marathon times are also not accepted. If you’re not sure, check out the race website or contact the race director to find out if your course is certified.
  • Whether you want to run another Boston qualifying time or qualify for the first time, your BQ does not carry over for a lifetime. Lifetime admission is not an option at the Boston Marathon. You must earn it every year.
  • An exemption to the qualification requirements is for runners who get admittance from partners (more on this later).
  • Chip Time (Not Gun Time): Does the Boston Marathon go by gun time or chip time? Qualifying times are based on the official submitted chip time. All qualifying times are subject to verification. Boston qualifying times need to be verified before a runner is officially entered into the race.
  • No Guaranteed Entry. Due to field size limitations, running a Boston Marathon qualifying time does not guarantee entry into the race. A qualifying time simply allows the runner to submit registration for the race.

Make sure you double and triple check the rules book to confirm if and when they have rule changes.


Reach out to B.A.A. if and when you have any questions.

Create complete certainty with the stuff you can control.

The marathon is hard enough:

Don’t make it harder than necessary.

Run the Boston Marathon Without Qualifying

Follow a Custom Training Designed Specifically For Your Boston Marathon Qualifying Goal 

As you can see above, the cut-off time varies every year.

Your running fitness needs to be significantly better than the qualifying time you need to run.

The reason: marathons are very unpredictable and there are many factors that come into place on race day.

So if your fitness level is just slightly better than the time you need, you leave barely any margin of error.

And sadly, that means weeks, months, and often years of hard work to achieve your goal is wasted if it’s slightly warm, humid or rainy on race day.

This doesn’t mean you need to run a world record.

Aim For The Bullseye

Give yourself a cushion and take the cut-off time uncertainty (usually around 5 minutes) out of play.

Here is what you have to do:

Become Crystal Clear With Your Training Goals

Again, make sure to look at the qualifying standards for your age group.

Look at recent cut-off times: the times you need to run faster than your qualifying standard to qualify for the race officially.

Don’t Expect A Perfect Qualifying Attempt

To be extra safe, improve your fitness to 10 minutes under your standard.

Set Your Qualifying Goal

Write it down in the present tense. Select the specific date you will achieve this goal.

Pick The Best Marathon Race For You

Later on this guide, you’ll also find the fastest marathon courses for running a BQ.

Be Patient & Progress Your Marathon Training Gradually

Create a training plan that gradually progresses you towards your BQ race.

Commit the time and energy to achieve your goal.

Be Serious About Your Marathon Training

Train intelligently and prioritize the importance of pacing, fueling, and hydration.

Follow a marathon training plan that is 100% customized to your individual needs.

To qualify for the Boston Marathon, run a marathon time significantly faster than the qualifying standard of your age group.

Injury Prevention

Prioritize training intelligently which includes injury prevention, pacing, hydration, and fueling. For many, you need to lose weight or lose body fat.

With scheduling races, don’t race too frequently. 

Typically, I recommend clients schedule a 10K or half marathon approximately 3-5 weeks prior to their goal BQ marathon race.

 Top 10 Fastest Boston Qualifying Races

Whether you’re trying to qualify for Boston, or training to run a new PR, let’s look at some of the fastest marathon courses.

Spend some time and browse through popular qualifying races for the Boston Marathon.

As you’ll see below, I’ve put together a list of fast BQ courses to help you make an intelligent decision.

The success rate of Boston Marathon qualifying times was based on analyzing previous race times of finishers, the average temperature on race day, and the course elevation.

  1. Via Marathon
  2. St. George Marathon
  3. Wineglass Marathon
  4. Chicago Marathon
  5. Baystate Marathon
  6. Steamtown Marathon
  7. Big Bear Marathon
  8. California International Marathon
  9. Philadelphia Marathon
  10. Pocono Marathon

What Pace Should I Run In Training?

BQ runners are better at pacing than non-BQ runners. But it’s more than that.

With time, distance runners learn that precise pacing is a crucial element of improving running performance.

Running at the appropriate paces to target improving their aerobic fitness, they see better results.

Inexperienced distance runners are constantly trying to push the pace in training and win workouts.

Patience, patience, patience.

How Many Miles Should I Run A Week To Qualify For The Boston Marathon?

The mileage for BQ runners is significantly higher.

No magic number of miles you should run to qualify for Boston.

But there’s no doubt that higher mileage results in better aerobic conditioning for marathon success.

The main thing is to focus on incremental progress from where you are today.

With consistency and patience, your mileage will get up there.

How Many Times Per Week Should I Run To BQ?

Again, there’s no magic number here either.

Running a Boston Marathon qualifying time takes discipline.

Remember, the name of the game is incremental progress.

With regard to the number of runs per week, you also need to exhibit patience.

If you currently run 2-3x per week, don’t just bump it up to 7x per week.

The high majority of BQ runners completing 6-7 runs per week have built up this volume over the course of many years.

How Fast Should I Run During Marathon Training?

Boston qualifiers run most of their runs at a faster pace than non-BQ runners.

This does not mean that BQ runners push the pace on most of their runs. In fact, it’s the opposite.

The reason the paces are faster is due to their fitness level being better.

Register For The Race 

According to the Boston Athletic Association, the same process as previous years was used to register runners with qualifying times. They begin with the fastest qualifying times in their gender and age group.

So basically, the fastest marathon runners control their own destiny.

How much does it cost to run the 2020 Boston Marathon?

Runners from the United States are charged $180.

International runners are charged $240. Boston Marathon Start Time Waves

Men’s & Women’s Wheelchair Racers

Generally, the race begins around 9 am with the men’s and women’s wheelchair racers followed by the handcycles and duos.

Elite Women

Shortly after, usually around 9:30 am, the elite women runners start.

Elite Men

Next, the elite men start their race around 10 a.m.

Time Qualifiers & Charity Runners

After the men’s elite, time qualifiers and charity runners take off in 4 waves at roughly 10 am 10:30 am, 11:00 am, and before 11:30.

Run The Route

In this section, I’ll give you the details you need about the Boston Marathon route.

Surprisingly, the Boston Marathon is run mostly outside of Boston.

What is the course of the Boston Marathon?

80% of the Boston Marathon is NOT run in Boston.

The prestigious 26.2-mile point-to-point race starts in Hopkinton and ends on Boylston Street in the heart of Boston.

The Route

The marathon course takes runners through various suburban towns, along windy roads, and up and downhills.

Let’s run through the course:

Boston Marathon Start Line

The legendary Boston Marathon route begins in Hopkinton, Massachusetts.

Runner’s run along Route 135 towards Route 16 and onto Route 30.

Before runners reach Boston, they run through the scenic route.

Next, runners climb the Newton Hills and then towards the reservoir.

Heartbreak Hill

Jerry Nason, a Boston Globe reporter, coined the term Heartbreak Hill back in 1936.

In this race, runner Johnny Kelley surged past rival Tarzan Brown.

As Kelley passed Brown, he gave him a pat on the back.

Because of these antics, Brown was energized and later passed Kelley for a first-place victory.

Broken Heart

In a story published by Nason, he wrote that Brown “broke Kelley’s heart” on the hill.

Heartbreak Hill is located between miles 20 and 21.

At mile 24, runners finally reach the city of Boston.

The Boston Marathon route finishes near the Boston Public Library on Boylston Street.

Finish Line At The Boston Marathon

With a final surge up “Heartbreak Hill,” the Boston Marathon dash to the finish line caps off one of the more challenging marathon courses anywhere.

2019 Boston Marathon Race Recap

  • 26,657: Total number of 2019 Boston Marathon finishers
  • 3 Hours, 53 Minutes: Average finish time at the 2019 Boston Marathon
  • 3 Hours, 57 Minutes: Average finish time at the Boston Marathon
  • 97.4%: Number of 2019 Boston Marathon finishers
  • 18-39 Years Old: This was the largest age group at the Boston Marathon with 12,178 total finishers
  • Massachusetts: The state with the most finishers with 4,428 followed by California (2,038) and New York (1,341)
  • Wyoming: The state with the least number of finishers at the 2019 Boston Marathon (25) followed by South Dakota (26) and Mississippi (31)
  • 100% Finished: 100% of the runners from Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming finished the race. Females in the following age divisions also had a 100% finish rate: 75-79 & 80+.

Note:  The statistics gathered from the Boston Marathon include both runners who qualified for the race and also those who ran with a charity.

Boston Marathon Winners (Men)

  • 2019: Lawrence Cherono (2:07:57)
  • 2018: Yuki Kawauchi (2:15:58)
  • 2017: Geoffrey Kirui (2:09:37)
  • 2016: Lemi Berhanu (2:12:45)
  • 2015: Lelisa Desisa (2:09:17)
  • 2014: Meb Keflezighi (2:08:37)
  • 2013: Lelisa Desisa (2:10:22)
  • 2012: Wesley Korir (2:12:40)
  • 2011: Geoffrey Mutai (2:03:02)
  • 2010: Robert Cheruiyot (2:05:52)

Boston Marathon Winners (Women)

  • 2019: Worknesh Degefa (2:23.31)
  • 2018: Desiree Linden (2:39:54)
  • 2017: Edna Kiplagat (2:21:52)
  • 2016: Atsede Baysa (2:29:19)
  • 2015: Caroline Rotich (2:24:55)
  • 2014: Buzunesh Deba (2:19:59)
  • 2013: Rita Jeptoo (2:26:25)
  • 2012: Sharon Cherop (2:31:50)
  • 2011: Caroline Kilel (2:22:36)
  • 2010: Teyba Erkesso (2:26:11)

The Community

How Many Boston Marathon Runners

Now, let’s look at more history:

  1. State Holiday: The Boston Marathon, held on Patriot’s Day every year in April, is now a state holiday in Massachusetts.
  2. Fast Runners: On a yearly basis, the marathon brings together many highly competitive amateur and professional runners from around the world.
  3. 30,000 Boston Marathon Runners: Though beginning with 15 runners in 1897, the Boston Marathon now attracts an average of about 30,000 registered racers each year. The fact you have to run a qualifying time to get into the race has made it exclusive and helped grow the race in popularity. 
  4. 50,000 Running Fans: The Boston Marathon attracts 500,000 fans each year, making it New England’s most viewed sporting event. These half million fans cheer on runners every year, providing the local economy a considerable boost.
  5. $200 Million: The race brings in nearly $200 million around Boston. For each Boston resident, the event brings in roughly $300.
  6. Historic Race: In 1996, the Centennial Boston Marathon set a record as the world’s largest marathon with 38,708 participants, 36,748 starters, and 35,868 finishers. After this historic race, Boston Marathon qualifying times have continued to get faster.
  7. Boston Athletic Association: The Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.), established in 1887, hosts the Boston Marathon. It is among the oldest athletic clubs in the world. 
  8. Unicorn? The B.A.A. symbol is the unicorn, so that’s why you see it engraved on the medals presented to Boston marathoners.

The impact on the local economy is big.

As you can see by the numbers, and the craze behind Boston Marathon qualifying times, this is far from a small race.

Most Consecutive Boston Marathons

Bennet Beach holds the record of most consecutive Boston Marathons.

In 2012, he set the record after he finished his 45th consecutive Boston Marathon.

At the time, the record was held by Neil Weygandt with 44 straight races.

First Women To Run The Boston Marathon

Back in 1966, Bobbi Gibb became the first woman to run the Boston Marathon.

Since she was considered a “bandit” runner, Gibb’s finish was deemed to be unofficial.

Kathrine Switzer

Wait, what about Kathrine Switzer?

Well, Gibb paved the way for Switzer.

The following year, in 1967, Switzer became the first woman to run the Boston Marathon officially.

Since the Boston Athletic Association used to prohibit women from running the race, Switzer registered under initials “K.V. Switzer,” and she ran in bib number 261.

After a few miles into the race, race director Jock Semple noticed her and he ran to try and pull her out of the race.

The boyfriend of Switzer body-checked Semple, and Switzer kept running.

Since that time, Switzer has continued to run marathons (and Boston Marathon qualifying times) to inspire women around the world to do the same in a tremendous global running movement of female runners.

Marathon World Majors

The World Marathon Majors is a series of six of the most famous marathons in the world:

  • Boston Marathon
  • Tokyo Marathon
  • London Marathon
  • Berlin Marathon
  • Chicago Marathon
  • New York City Marathon

Often, the Boston Marathon is considered the most prestigious of the six World Marathon Majors. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Next, I’ll answer common questions.

Can you run the Boston Marathon without qualifying?

If you didn’t run a Boston Marathon qualifying time and don’t plan on training to run a qualifying time, you can still run the race. 

The Boston Marathon Charity Program partners with charitable organizations to raise money for great causes.

Here is how it works:

  1. Select a charity
  2. Raise money for charity
  3. Gain entry into the Boston Marathon

So yes, you can register without running a qualifying time.

In fact, 20% of the Boston Marathon bibs are held each year for Boston Marathon charity runners that did not run a qualifying time.

How much money do you need to raise to run the Boston Marathon?

Runners typically fundraise $5,000 for their charity. The minimum varies with charity.

What happens if I don’t meet my fundraising minimum?

Most charities require their runners to secure the fundraising amount with their own credit card.

If I want to run the 2020 Boston Marathon for a charity, where do I go?

The Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.) says that 80 percent of the field is made up of qualified runners. And the remaining bibs are given mainly to elite runners and charity runners. 

The B.A.A. and its official sponsor John Hancock both run charity programs.

These charities serve as the “official charities” of the race. 

2020 BAA Official Charity Programs

  • Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism
  • The Esplanade Association
  • The MEB Foundation
  • New England Patriots Charitable Foundation
  • TB12 Foundation
  • Arredondo Family Foundation
  • Boston Public Library – Team BPL
  • Heather Abbott Foundation
  • Lingzi Foundation
  • 15-40 Connection
  • Bill Belichick Foundation
  • Brain Aneurysm Foundation
  • The Cam Neely Foundation
  • David Ortiz Children’s Fund
  • Doc Wayne
  • Dreamfar High School Marathon
  • Family Reach
  • Fisher House of Boston
  • Gronk Nation Youth Foundation ( Rob Gronkowski)
  • House of Possibilities
  • Joe Andruzzi Foundation
  • Joseph Middlemiss Big Heart Foundation
  • Journey Forward
  • Jumpstart – Children First
  • Lazarus House
  • Last Call Foundation
  • Light Foundation
  • Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress
  • Military Friends Foundation
  • One Mission
  • Pedro Martinez Foundation
  • Shawn Thornton Foundation
  • South Boston Neighborhood House
  • Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts
  • Vanessa T. Marcotte Foundation

Unofficial charities exist too.

These are partnerships with associations that fall outside of the official charity program.

They include active military and veteran groups.

Another example: American Medical Athletic Association.

If you’re looking for a charity spot, I suggest you reach out to one of these organizations. 

Start Times for the 2020 Boston Marathon

B.A.A. Announces Start Times for the 2020 Boston Marathon

124th running of the world’s oldest annual marathon to be held on April 20, 2020

BOSTON – The Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.) today announced the start times for the 124th running of the Boston Marathon, to be held on April 20, 2020. A field of 31,500 participants will make their way from Hopkinton to Boston on Patriots’ Day. For the 35th year, the Boston Marathon is principally sponsored by John Hancock.


Men’s Wheelchair9:02 a.m. ET
Women’s Wheelchair9:05 a.m. ET
Handcycles & Duos9:30 a.m. ET
Elite Men9:37 a.m. ET
Elite Women9:45 a.m. ET
Para Athletics Divisions9:50 a.m. ET
Wave One10:00 a.m. ET
Wave Two10:25 a.m. ET
Wave Three10:50 a.m. ET
Wave Four11:15 a.m. ET

*Start times are subject to change.

If you need help running a Boston Marathon qualifying time, you can contact us here.

I hope you enjoyed this guide and learned something from it.



Scott Fishman is the founder of AllWorldU. He’s coached hundreds of athletes on 6 continents. Some of his clients include coaches, trainers, physical therapists, doctors, and elite athletes.

Boston Marathon Qualifying Times: Everything You Need To Know About The Boston Marathon