Making It Into the Boston Marathon, Finally

By | April 7, 2019

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In 2017, I interviewed a few people who had technically qualified for the Boston Marathon but didn’t make it into the race. That’s because as demand for spots surged, Boston switched to rolling admissions, allowing the runners who beat the qualifying time for their age and gender by the most time to sign up first, and then moving down from there.

That made getting into the marathon a moving target, which was frustrating to runners who had trained thinking they knew what they had to do to qualify.

For the 2018 race, runners had to be three minutes, 23 seconds faster than the supposed “qualifying” time for their age and gender to get in; for this year’s race, which is being held on April 15, they had to be four minutes, 52 seconds faster.

One of the people I talked to in 2017 was Dan Hirschman, who just missed for both the 2017 and 2018 races. But for 2019? He’s in.

“I was absolutely ecstatic,” said Hirschman, who is now 45. He qualified for Boston by running the 2018 Myrtle Beach Marathon in three hours, 11 minutes, 52.5 seconds, well under the three hour, 25 minute qualifying time for a 45-year-old man, and more than eight minutes under what he actually needed.

As Hirschman predicted when I talked to him initially, his best shot at finally making it was moving up an age bracket, which gave him 10 extra minutes. Still, he said, “I felt such a sense of satisfaction that all that work had paid off because I knew that time would be enough. There was also this incredible sense of relief.”

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For the 2020 race, qualifying times are getting five minutes faster across ages and genders. Hirschman is confident he can still do it, and will give it a shot on April 15.

“I fully intend to soak in the day and enjoy it, but I am definitely going to race,” he said.

Next week, I’ll have a full preview of the race and how The Times is covering it (and don’t forget our event on April 13 — use code RUN for $ 5 off!) Until then, here are two things happening in the running world that you may want to know about:

First, The Washington Post recently published a story about accidents associated with BOB jogging strollers. If you use one to run with your kids, this is a must-read. (For more on jogging strollers, here’s Gretchen Reynolds on how to run with one.)

Second, Women’s Running (which I sometimes write for) recently posed an interesting question: Should races have pregnancy deferral policies? It’s inspired a lively Twitter conversation if you’d like to weigh in.

Got thoughts? I’ve got Twitter — I’m at @byjenamiller.

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Run Well!

— Jen

Jen A. Miller is the author of “Running: A Love Story.

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