Running the Boston Marathon is a prestigious honor but not everyone has the time or ability to qualify for this iconic event. Fortunately, there is a way to run the Boston Marathon without having to qualify. Here’s how:
If you’d like to participate in the Boston Marathon, you can do so through charity programs. These programs have been around since 1989 and are sponsored by various organizations, including the Boston Athletic Association (BAA). Each charity organization requires runners to raise money for their cause before they can officially register for the event. These charities include those that support causes such as cancer research, lost limb rehabilitation, autism research, pediatric care, and the like.
In exchange for meeting their fundraising goals, runners receive an official Boston Marathon entry, along with certain perks, such as a race number and technical shirt, as well as a dedicated cheering section at the finish line.
Runners can also become members of a qualifying team in order to gain entry into the Boston Marathon without having to qualify. The qualifying team program was established by the BAA in 2016 and allows running clubs, running stores, and other running-related companies and organizations to serve as qualifying teams. Teams are invited to apply for a qualifying team slot and then select qualifying members from their pool of applicants. These teams can also assign their qualifying slots to extra members, allowing more than their allotted number of spots to be filled.
Finally, runners can enter the Boston Marathon through a special lottery system. Each year, the BAA provides a number of slots for the lottery, which can then be filled by individuals who meet some basic eligibility requirements, such as age and residency status.
As you can see, there are various ways to enter the Boston Marathon without having to actually qualify. Whether you’re a charity runner, part of a qualifying team, or chosen through the lottery, there are still plenty of ways to participate in this legendary road race.