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Getting A Time Qualifying Place For A Marathon Major in 2020

Marathon running

It's there at the back of the mind of every marathon runner, to run a major at some point in their running career. Maybe you have in mind one day the goal of being a six star finisher.

These days though it is getting increasingly difficult to get your place on the start line of any of the majors. There are only 6 marathon majors sponsored by Abbot.

Listed below is the current 2020 standards for getting into these races with a time that is good for your age. This generally gives you a guaranteed place and avoids the the standard ballot route. Other alternative methods to get a guaranteed spot are through raising money for a charity place or using a tour company who provide the whole package including the race entry. 

If you decide you want to try for a good for age place then it's good to know that your age group is your age on the day of the race. The below entry reqirements are done as if you are an overseas entry. Often if you a resident of the city there are discount options / other entry routes into the race available.

Links to the major marathon sites:

Tokyo     Boston     London     Berlin     Chicago     New York

 

How Do I Get A Place In A Marathon Major?

The information in the table below lays out the various options you have:

Marathon Race Date 2020 Time Qualifying Information General Registration Info
TOKYO Sunday March 1, 2020

RUN as ONE - Tokyo Marathon 2020 Semi-Elite (Overseas) applicants must have met the standard qualifying time in the races held between July 2018 through June 2019.

These are IAAF Gold Label, Silver Label or Bronze Label Races and/or AIMS Certified Races.

There are 300 places available via this qualifying route. 

General Entry takes place from  Thursday, August 1, 2019 through to Friday, August 30, 2019.

Results of the general ballot are announced from the 19th Sept onwards. Payment deadline is 30th Sept 2019 and the entry cost from overseas - 18,200 Yen approx £130.)

The total race limit is 37,500 participants.

BOSTON Monday, April 20, 2020 (Patriot’s Day)

For the 2021 Boston Marathon, qualifying times must be run on or after Saturday, September 14, 2019. The qualifying times below are based upon each athlete's age on the date of the 2021 Boston Marathon (April 19, 2021).

Qualifying times are based on chip time). In recent years, not all qualifiers who submit an entry have been accepted due to field size restrictions. If the total amount of entries is greater than the allotted field size then those who are the fastest in their age and gender group will be accepted.

FIND OUT YOUR QUALYFYING TIME IN THE TABLE BELOW

The qualifying window will remain open until the conclusion date of registration for the Boston Marathon (once the maximum field size has been reached).

Entry Fee - $180 U.S resident and $240 for an international entry fee.

LONDON Sunday April 26, 2020

For UK residents :

There are total of 6,000 Good For Age places available in the 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon. These are split evenly between men and women. However due to the number of applications exceeding the 6,000 places available, the qualifying times within each age category have been reduced evenly by 2 minutes and 40 seconds for men and 4 minutes and 15 seconds for women from those of 2019.

You are eligible to apply for Good For Age entry into the 2020 event if you are a UK resident and achieved the time listed below for your age category between 1 January 2018 and 6 August 2019.

Deferring 2020 Good For Age entry - You will be able to defer a 2020 Good For Age place if you have achieved the qualifying time within the dates of 1 January 2019 and 7 August 2019.

Applications for 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon Good For Age entry deadline was 17:00 on Friday 16 August. All verified applications will be informed by the end of Thursday 22 August. All applicants who have received an accepted email have until 17:00 on Wednesday 4 September to complete and pay for their 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon Good For Age entry.

The 2020 Ballot closed on 3rd May 2019, around a week after the marathon.

The UK standard entry into the ballot costs £39 and the cost of overseas entry is £80.

UK ballot winners and losers were notified in early October 2019 starting from the 7th. 

UK applicants - All applicants who opt to bequeath their entry fee to charity on the entry form and do not get a place in the initial ballot are then entered into the Lucky Bequest draw which, again, is a random draw.  This offers another 1,000 places. Applicants who do not get a place in either ballot are then sent a training top in the size they requested during the entry process.

Overseas - Entries into the event are only available from tour operators as part of a travel package. They are not available for purchase without travel.

BERLIN Sunday, September 27, 2020 Everyone who finished an AIMS-certified marathon in the last two years (2018/2019) under a specified time and can prove it with a list of results or race certificate qualifies to receive a race entry once we have verified the submitted information.

Registration deadline: October 1, 2019 - October 31, 2019.

Registration Fee €125. The results of the entry drawing will be announced by email from November 27 on.

CHICAGO Sunday October 11, 2020

Times run prior to January 1, 2018, will not be considered. Finish times at race distances other than a marathon, such as a half marathon or 50K, for example, will not be considered. A verifiable time is one run on a certified course, those certified by USA Track & Field (USATF), International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) or a similar governing association. Considerations will not be made for non-certified races.

If your application is not approved, your application will be automatically switched to a non-guaranteed entry application and entered in the drawing.

$230 Non-U.S resident

2020 applications opened on 21st October 2019.

The 2020 application will close at 2 p.m. (U.S. Central Time) on Tuesday, December 3. You are notified via email of your entry status on Thursday, December 12.

NEW YORK CITY Sunday 1st Nov, 2020

The time-standard qualifying window for the 2020 TCS New York City Marathon is January 1 - December 31, 2019.

All applicants who meet the time standards at the following NYRR races in 2019 will be eligible for guaranteed entry in 2020: 2019 Fred Lebow Half-Marathon, 2019 United Airlines NYC Half, 2019 SHAPE Women's Half-Marathon, 2019 Popular® Brooklyn Half, 2019 NYRR Staten Island Half, 2019 TCS New York City Marathon.

A limited number of time-qualifier spots will be available to runners who met the time standards in a non-NYRR race. These spots will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Verification will be completed prior to the 2020 entry drawing.

Everyone who finished an AIMS-certified marathon in the last two years (2018/2019) under a specified time and can prove it with a list of results or race certificate qualifies to receive a race entry once we have verified the submitted information.

Time Qualifiers Information

The application period for the 2020 TCS New York City Marathon is open from January 30, 2020, through February 13, 2020.

We will announce the drawing date at a later time. Runners who finish their 15th New York City Marathon are eligible for guaranteed entry in future years. The application period is open from January 30, 2020, through February 13, 2020. This entry method is not available to handcycle applicants and other AWDs entered in past races through Achilles International.

Entry Fees

$295 U.S residents.

$358 - Non-U.S Residents.

 

Here are the current qualifying times for each of the six majors for men and women:

Men

Age Berlin 2020 Boston 2021 Chicago 2020 New York 2020 New York 2020 (Half) Tokyo 2020 London 2020
18-29 2:45 3:00 3:05 2:53 1:21 2:45 2:57:20
30-34 2:45 3:00 3:10 2:53 1:21 2:45 2:57:20
35-39 2:45 3:05 3:10 2:55 1:23 2:45 2:57:20
40-44 2:45 3:10 3:20 2:58 1:25 2:45 3:02:20
45-49 2:55 3:20 3:20 3:05 1:28 2:45 3:07:20
50-54 2:55 3:25 3:35 3:14 1:32 2:45 3:12:20
55-59 2:55 3:35 3:35 3:23 1:36 2:45 3:17:20
60-64 3:25 3:50 4:00 3:34 1:41 2:45 3:42:20
65-69 3:25 4:05 4:00 3:45 1:46 2:45 3:57:20
70-74 3:25 4:20 4:30 4:10 1:57 2:45 4:57:20
75-79 3:25 4:35 4:30 4:30 2:07 2:45 5:512:20
80+ 3:25 4:50 5:25 4:55 2:15 2:45 5:57:20

Women

Age Berlin 2020 Boston 2021 Chicago 2020 New York 2020 New York 2020 (Half) Tokyo 2020 London 2020
18-29 3:00 3:30 3:35 3:13 1:32 3:30 3:40:45
30-34 3:00 3:30 3:40 3:13 1:32 3:30 3:40:45
35-39 3:00 3:35 3:40 3:15 1:34 3:30 3:40:45
40-44 3:00 3:40 3:50 3:26 1:37 3:30 3:45:45
45-49 3:20 3:50 3:50 3:38 1:42 3:30 3:48:45
50-54 3:20 3:55 4:20 3:51 1:49 3:30 3:55:45
55-59 3:20 4:05 4:20 4:10 1:54 3:30 4:00:45
60-64 4:10 4:20 5:00 4:27 2:02 3:30 4:25:45
65-69 4:10 4:35 5:00 4:50 2:12 3:30 4:55:45
70-74 4:10 4:50 5:55 5:30 2:27 3:30 5:55:45
75-79 4:10 5:05 5:55 6:00 2:40 3:30 6:15:45
80+ 4:10 5:20 6:10 6:35 2:50 3:30 6:35:45

 

Boston Qualifying In More Detail

Registration for any Boston marathon is a bit more involved than for other marathon majors. For example in the 2020 Boston Marathon began at 10 a.m. eastern on Monday, September 9, at baa.org - however only those with marathon qualifying times (from September 15 of 2018 or later) who are 20 or more minutes faster than the standard for their age and gender were allowed to register in this period.

Next to register at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, September 11 were for those who were 10 or more minutes faster than their qualifying time. On September 13 runners who had met the qualifying standard by five or more minutes could enter.

Registration then closes from the Saturday afternoon until Monday. If space in the field remains, registration reopens at 10 a.m. on Monday, September 16. Then, anyone with a qualifying time could apply for entry and then at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, September 18, registration closed.

 

YEAR FIELD SIZE "CUT-OFF TIME"* QUALIFIERS NOT ACCEPTED
2012 27,000 1:14 3,228
2014 36,000 1:38 2,976
2015 30,000 1:02 1,947
2016 30,000 2:28 4,562
2017 30,000 2:09 2,957
2018 30,000 3:23 5,062
2019 30,000 4:52 7,248
2020 31,500 1:39 3,161