What does it take to BQ?

The Boston Marathon is an epic event.

If you’ve never been to watch, compete or even be in the city on Patriot’s Day, it absolutely should be on your short list of things to do in April.

To qualify for Boston, you need to have run another marathon with a fast enough time to qualify.  There are guides, such as this one, that tells you how fast you need to run in order to qualify.

2019 Boston Marathon Qualifying Standards

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 and over 4hrs 55min 00sec 5hrs 25min 00sec

Everyone wants to qualify for Boston (via another marathon) to run the famous route from Hopkinton to the city. But what does it take to run a marathon and qualify for Boston?

So much hard work and physical effort go into completing a marathon and yet not enough is written about the mental aspect of running a marathon.

Yet, to qualify for Boston, a lot MORE (mental, physical, emotional and psychological) work needs to go into your preparation.

Below, I’m going to outline the 6 qualities you need to get over the proverbial hump and qualify or re-qualify for Boston.


The 6 qualities that will help you qualify for Boston
What does it take to BQ?


Knowing the first, second or even third try may not result in a BQ, but then coming back for more will net you experience and willpower that can enable you to make an attempt at a BQ.  Knowing that the grind and the ability to stick with the training and the “sacrificing” will all be worth it in the end.


Knowing that day in, day out you have a commitment to running and getting better.  The notion or idea of having grit – perseverance and passion for long-term goals –


Previous 26.2 races definitely help, but doesn’t guarantee anything.  Knowing what to expect on race day and being able to execute a race plan is crucial.  So is knowing your body and trusting in your training.  Long runs that go well are important, but so is understanding your physical limitations.


Bad weather, cramps, hydration, less than ideal temperatures… They can all wreak havoc on your marathon race day.  Needing “luck” is really just for those who don’t train properly and expect good results.  Sure, some people can get away with it for a short window of time, but to truly be successful, the only thing that really matters is hard work.

Start of 2014 Boston Marathon


Boston’s standards are purposely hard to make it one of, if not the, most competitive marathon race.  This isn’t just something you can “do”, like a few other marathons. Having some running talent absolutely helps hit the standard.


There will be bad days and good days. What you do when it gets tough will help catapult you to faster times and quicker recovery days. Having a coach can help keep you motivated when the going gets tough.

What would you add to the list?  What do you think it takes to run a BQ?
Contact Marc and get started on your way to a BQ.

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Location Cherry Hill, NJ E-mail trainwithmarc@gmail.com Hours Weekdays: 3-10 pm; Weekends: 7 am-10 pm
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