How to Get Into the 2018 Boston Marathon

Runners in Boston Marathon
Runners make their way to the Boston Marathon finish line. Getty Images

As the oldest consecutively run the marathon and one of the most prestigious road races in the world, the Boston Marathon requires that participants meet tough qualifying times or participate in one of their charity programs to get a number for the race.

The 2018 Boston Marathon will be on Monday, April 16, 2018 (Patriots' Day in Massachusetts) and registration is scheduled to open in September. If running in the famed marathon is on your bucket list, here's how you can get into it.

How to Qualify for the Boston Marathon

To "BQ" (Boston Qualify) is a goal of some marathon runners because the time standards are fast times and only a small percentage of marathon runners achieve them.

Qualifying times must be run on a certified marathon course on or after September 19, 2016. Here are the qualifying times for the 2018 Boston Marathon:

Age Group      Men                        Women
18-34        3hrs 05min 00sec     3hrs 35min 00sec
35-39        3hrs 10min 00sec      3hrs 40min 00sec
40-44        3hrs 15min 00sec     3hrs 45min 00sec
45-49        3hrs 25min 00sec     3hrs 55min 00sec
50-54        3hrs 30min 00sec      4hrs 00min 00sec
55-59        3hrs 40min 00sec      4hrs 10min 00sec
60-64        3hrs 55min 00sec      4hrs 25min 00sec
65-69        4hrs 10min 00sec      4hrs 40min 00sec
70-74        4hrs 25min 00sec      4hrs 55min 00sec
75-79        4hrs 40min 00sec      5hrs 10min 00sec
80+           4hrs 55min 00sec      5hrs 25min 00sec

The following rules apply to the qualifying times:

  • The acceptance of official race entrants will be based on qualifying time, with the fastest qualifiers (in relation to their age and gender) being accepted first until the race is full.
  • All qualifying times are subject to review and verification.
  • Minimum age requirement for the Boston Marathon is 18 years of age on race day.
  • All standards below are based on official submitted net time.
  • The qualifying times are based upon each athlete's age on the date of the Boston Marathon in which they are participating.

Many runners make numerous attempts at a BQ before they're successful. It helps to choose the right marathon. Some marathons have more favorable conditions – such as flat courses, cool temps, and uncrowded course – for Boston Qualifying. Check out this list of fast and flat U.S. marathons if you're looking for a good BQ race.

Get Onto the Boston Marathon Through the Charity Program

The Boston Marathon Official Charity Program began in 1989 when the American Liver Foundation became the first charity to receive official entries into the Boston Marathon. Since then, the program has grown to support at least 30 charities each year.

The official Boston Marathon Charities will be accepting runner applications in September from fundraisers willing to run the 2018 Boston Marathon. All charities offer unique training and fundraising programs and require a minimum fundraising donation.