The above blurb is from the Boston Athletics Association website homepage. With the registrations closing in just over 8 hours , several runners who had qualified for the race missed out on registering either due to lack of time or due to snags in accessing the site for on-line registration. Following quotes of Guy Morse the executive director of BAA are from the article Rush to web snags runners.
Asked if there would be changes for 2012 — whether it is expanding the field, toughening qualifying times, narrowing the qualifying window, or holding a lottery — Morse said, “That’s a pretty good bet that we’ll attempt to alleviate the situation one way or another in 2012 and beyond. But it’s too early to predict what that might be, but there are lots of ideas out there.’’
Morse anticipates making an announcement about 2012 qualification shortly before next April. In the interim, ideas from runners denied registration to the 2011 race likely will keep coming. So far, they’ve suggested everything from staggering registration to a system for replacing no-shows.
Boston Marathon was never a race for everyone argues that Boston is not for every runner and the only fair way to limit the field is to tighten qualifying times.
As A struggle to the starting line states I personally hope BAA does not take the path of tightening qualifying times. If they do that then it would be impossible for me to qualify in this life time - even now it looks extremely challenging. Have included details of this article below,
BECAUSE OF improved training techniques and the growing popularity of the sport, the number of runners who qualify for the Boston Marathon is on the rise — so much so that a frenetic dash by thousands to register for the 2011 event overwhelmed race organizers last Monday. In the future, the Boston Athletic Association should adjust by modestly expanding the field, and resist the temptation to toughen its already strict qualifying standards.
Last year, online registration was open for two months before the number of runners reached the cap of 26,800, including charity participants. This year, a combination of forces, including electronic registration reminders from the BAA and a surge in interest by qualified runners, pushed the system to the breaking point. The results: the field filled in less than a day, to the dismay of runners who couldn’t stay at their computers as the BAA dealt with the enormous demands on its website.
Boston doesn’t need to become a mega-marathon, along the lines of New York and Chicago, which host upwards of 40,000 runners. The prestige of Boston, the oldest marathon in the nation, is rooted in its rigorous qualifying times and smaller size. But the physical course and medical supports along the way could likely accommodate a few thousand more runners.
The open question is whether towns along the route would accept longer road closures and other potential disruptions. But accepting a bit more inconvenience is a small price for accommodating an event that contributes so mightily to the state’s image and economy.
The worst option on the table would be to tamp down the potential number of racers by tightening qualifying times. The current times, which vary by age and sex, strike a healthy balance: For a dedicated amateur runner, they’re challenging but not necessarily unreachable. Toughening them could play havoc with some runners’ training plans.
If expanding the field doesn’t satisfy demand, BAA might consider a lottery system to reduce the field of qualified but non-elite runners. Tradition-minded BAA officials don’t relish the idea, but there may not be any fairer way to limit the field at a time when interest in competitive running is so high.