Boston Marathon qualifying times — here’s how fast you need to run

a photo of runners at the Boston Marathon
(Image credit: Getty/Boston Globe / Contributor)

The Boston Marathon is the holy grail for most marathon runners. Unlike other races, you can’t just sign up — you have to be quick enough to qualify, and even then, you’re not guaranteed one of the 30,000 precious race bibs. Whether you’ve been inspired by the runners this Patriot’s Day, or you’re gearing up for a spring marathon and hoping to qualify for the 2024 race, you might be wondering how fast you need to run to qualify for the Boston Marathon. 

Unfortunately, the times get quicker each year, so even if you run a qualifying time, you might not actually get a bib — it’s fastest first. For the 2019 race, runners had to be at least 4 minutes and 52 seconds faster than the qualifying time. 

The qualifying window for the 2024 race, scheduled to take place on April 15, 2024, will begin on September 1, 2022. Registration details will be announced after the 2023 Boston Marathon on April 17. 

Here’s how to track runners at the Boston Marathon this weekend, and how to watch the Boston Marathon 2023 wherever you are in the world

Boston Marathon qualifying times 

The qualifying times are as follows. Remember, the times below are based on the athlete’s age on the date of the marathon, so if you’re aiming for next year’s race, April 15, 2024, keep your birthday in mind.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Age groupMenWomen
80 and over4:505:20

I’ve run a Boston Marathon qualifying time — what are my chances of getting in? 

Here’s the not-so-good news: Due to the limited number of race bibs available, even if you cross the line in a qualifying time, you’re not guaranteed a spot in the race. Boston Marathon organizers explain: “If the total amount of submissions surpass the allotted field size for qualified athletes, then those who are the fastest among the pool of applicants in their age and gender group will be accepted.”

Registration for the Boston Marathon normally happens over two weeks — the fastest runners are able to register during the first week, normally early in September. Those who beat their qualifying time by more than 20 minutes go first, followed by those who were 10 minutes faster, followed by those who were five minutes faster. 

If spaces remain, registration continues the following Monday for all runners who met the qualifying time. 

Your qualifying time is your chip time, which you’ll have to run at a race anytime after September 1, 2023.

Hoping to speed up and get a spot at next year’s race? Here are 7 mistakes you’re probably making if you’re trying to run faster

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Jane McGuire
Fitness editor

Jane McGuire is Tom's Guide's Fitness editor, which means she looks after everything fitness related - from running gear to yoga mats. An avid runner, Jane has tested and reviewed fitness products for the past five years, so knows what to look for when finding a good running watch or a pair of shorts with pockets big enough for your smartphone. When she's not pounding the pavements, you'll find Jane striding round the Surrey Hills, taking far too many photos of her puppy.