Interest in next year’s Boston Marathon was bound to be massive, what with the numbers of athletes wishing to rally behind the venerable race in its first year back after the tragic bombings of April 15, 2013. But even organizers may have been surprised by what happened earlier this week.
On Monday, September 9, tiered registration opened for time-qualifying participants, and on the first day—open to those who’ve bested their required times by 20 minutes or more—4,000 people secured bibs for the 2014 event.
This is a greater number than usual, Runner’s World reports, and while the Boston Athletics Association (BAA) last week announced plans to expand the 2014 field by 9,000 runners, the increase seemingly won’t satisfy demand.
“We are running less than a couple of thousand ahead of year-to-year (2013-to-2014),” spokesman Jack Fleming told Runner’s World, commenting on Monday’s numbers.
According to Fleming, race officials will get a clearer picture of the overall registration uptick today (September 11), when marathoners with qualifying times 10 minutes or more under their requirements are eligible to enter.
As with the 20-minutes-or more crowd, these folks have two days to sign up, and on Friday, if all 22,000 available time-qualifying slots haven’t been gobbled up, marathoners who beat their age and gender requirement by five minutes or more will get their turn to sign up.
Come Monday, September 16, should any vacancies remain, all qualifying runners will have a shot at entering the race, and numbers will be given out on a first-come, first-served basis.
In all, about 36,000 runners will line up on April 21, 2014. Among them will be many of the 5,624 runners who weren’t able to finish the 2013 race due to the tragic events near the finish line on Boylston Street. Non-finishers who’d passed the halfway point when the race was halted were given a special registration period, and in an August 29 story, the Boston Globe reported that 80 percent of those eligible—or 4,511 people—had signed up.
“The BAA is aware of the significantly increased interest in registering for the 2014 Boston Marathon,” said BAA executive director Tom Grilk. “The rolling admission schedule will provide runners with the fastest qualifying times in their age and gender group the ability to have their entry accepted in an orderly and systematic manner.”
“We understand that many marathoners and qualifiers want to run Boston in 2014,” he added, “and we appreciate the support and patience that the running community has demonstrated because of the bombings that occurred this past spring.”
“Our races are to our sport what Wimbledon and the Australian, U.S., and French Opens are to tennis, and what the Masters, U.S., and British Opens and PGA Championship are to golf. Each race has the history, the tradition, the honor roll of legendary champions, and a special place in the eyes of all to make them stand apart from the other events.” Mary Wittenberg