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Christine Luff

Are the Boston Marathon Qualifying Times for Younger Women Too Easy?

By November 13, 2013

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Qualifying by time for the Boston Marathon is a goal for some runners, but the strict qualifying times make it difficult for most marathoners to achieve that dream. Organizers of the iconic race tightened the qualifying standards a couple of years ago, but now new research from the University of Dayton says that qualifying times for the Boston Marathon may still be too easy for younger women. Researchers also found that the times for older women may be too tough.

Paul Vanderburgh, a University of Dayton administrator and professor of health and sport science, compared Boston Marathon qualifying times for men and women in 11 age groups with their respective world-record times.

Using a standard of 50 percent slower than each age group's world record, Vanderburgh created a suggested list of qualifying times. The results showed current qualifying times were too lenient by 10 minutes for women age 18-54; too strict by 10 minutes for women age 55-69; and too strict by 35-95 minutes for women 70 and older. The current qualifying times for men were acceptably valid, based on his method.

What do you think about the Boston qualifying times?  Too easy?  Too hard?  Just right?

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November 18, 2013 at 1:09 pm
(1) Timothy says:

It is too hard for all age groups to reach. I am male, 45, there will be no hope for the rest of my life to participate.

November 21, 2013 at 1:14 pm
(2) Brian says:

Yes, change the female qualifying times. I gave up on Boston when they changed the times a couple years back and started running ultras and really don’t care anymore. But…it’s still so ridiculous to see so many of my female running friends go out and qualify for Boston in their first marathon when I know guys like myself who devote everything to it and can’t come anywhere close to a 3:05-10, let alone dip under it enough to ensure making it through the rolling registration. I’m 37 and can count on one hand the number of guys I run with that have met the standards for anywhere from 40 or younger. Yet it practically seems like every halfway serious female marathoner I know that doesn’t have a raging case of IT band syndrome has BQ’d…

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