Qualifying for Boston in 2021 Will Be Harder than Ever

Boston Marathon Data Analysis, Part 3

Adrian Hanft

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Registration for the 2020 Boston Marathon has closed and there is a brand new set of data ready for analysis. If you are one of the runners who was accepted, congratulations! Qualifying for Boston is not easy, and as we will see shortly, it shows no signs of getting easier.

As you might remember from my first analysis, the qualifying standards needed to be adjusted in 2020 because so many people were being turned away. In fact, nearly 1 in 4 runners who applied in 2019 were rejected despite having ran fast enough to qualify. Although the 5 minute adjustment helped, another 3,161 people were turned away this year. This year you needed to beat your qualifying time by 1:39 to be accepted.

Cutoff Times:

2014: You needed to beat your qualifying time by 1 minute, 38 seconds
2,976 people turned away

2015: You needed to beat your qualifying time by1 minute, 2 seconds
1,947 people turned away

2016: You needed to beat your qualifying time by 2 minutes, 28 seconds
4,562 people turned away

2017: You needed to beat your qualifying time by 2 minutes, 9 seconds
2,957 people turned away

2018: You needed to beat your qualifying time by 3 minutes, 23 seconds
5,062 people turned away

2019: You needed to beat your qualifying time by 4 minutes, 52 seconds
7,248 people turned away

2020: After adjusting the qualifying standard by 5:00 you still needed to beat your qualifying time by 1 minute, 39 seconds
3,161 people turned away

2020: More Participants, but a Smaller Percentage of Qualifiers

Surprisingly, the total number of runners in 2020 will increase from 30,000 to 31,500 runners. Before you get your hopes up, those…

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Adrian Hanft

Author of User Zero: Inside the Tool that is Reshaping Dystopia