How To Get Into Boston Marathon

Getting into the Boston Marathon is a dream for many runners, myself included. As one of the oldest and most prestigious marathons in the world, the Boston Marathon is a true test of endurance and a celebration of the sport. But gaining entry into this iconic race requires dedication, hard work, and a bit of luck. In this article, I will share my personal insights and experiences on how to get into the Boston Marathon.

Qualifying for the Boston Marathon

One of the most common ways to secure a spot in the Boston Marathon is by qualifying. To qualify, you need to meet specific time standards based on your age and gender. The Boston Athletic Association (BAA) sets these qualifying times, and they can be quite challenging. As a runner, I remember the exhilaration and sense of achievement when I finally qualified for the Boston Marathon.

It’s important to note that qualifying times change from year to year, so make sure to check the BAA’s website for the most up-to-date information. The website also provides a handy calculator to determine your qualifying time based on your age and gender.

When training for a qualifying time, it’s crucial to have a well-structured training plan that includes a balance of speed work, long runs, and recovery days. Proper nutrition and hydration are also key to maintaining optimal performance throughout your training.

Charity Running Programs

If qualifying seems out of reach or you want to give back while running, participating in a charity running program is another way to gain entry into the Boston Marathon. Many charities offer guaranteed entries in exchange for fundraising efforts. This not only allows you to fulfill your dream of running the Boston Marathon but also makes a positive impact on a cause that you are passionate about.

I personally had the opportunity to run the Boston Marathon through a charity program, and it was a truly rewarding experience. Not only did I get the chance to run alongside incredible individuals who shared my passion for running and making a difference, but I was also able to contribute to a cause that was close to my heart.

Running with a Qualifying Time Buffer

The BAA sets a qualifying time buffer, which allows runners who have achieved a qualifying time but did not make the initial cut-off to gain entry. This buffer allows runners who missed the cut-off by a few minutes to still participate in the Boston Marathon. While the qualifying time buffer is not guaranteed, it offers hope to those who are on the cusp of qualifying.

In my journey to the Boston Marathon, I trained tirelessly and narrowly missed the initial qualifying cut-off. However, I was fortunate enough to make the cut-off through the qualifying time buffer and secured my place in the race. It was a testament to how perseverance and determination can pay off in the pursuit of your goals.

Entering through the Lottery

If all else fails, there is always the option of entering the Boston Marathon through the lottery. The lottery system provides a fair chance for runners from all walks of life to participate in the race. However, the odds of winning a spot through the lottery are quite low, so it’s important to have alternative plans in place.

While I did not personally enter through the lottery, I know several runners who have been fortunate enough to secure a spot this way. It’s a thrilling and unexpected opportunity for those who are randomly selected.


Getting into the Boston Marathon is a journey that requires dedication, perseverance, and a love for running. Whether you qualify, run for a charity, make the cut through the qualifying time buffer, or get lucky in the lottery, the experience of running the Boston Marathon is truly one of a kind. It’s a celebration of the sport and a testament to the power of setting goals and working hard to achieve them. So lace up your running shoes, put in the miles, and chase your dream of running the Boston Marathon. I’ll see you at the starting line!