Today is the final day for runners who have beaten the Boston Marathon qualifying times to "register early" (so to speak) for the 2013 race. At 10 p.m. ET, the Boston Athletic Association will close registrations for those who have beaten their BQ times by at least five minutes. Registration will re-open Monday for all qualifiers ... if there are any spots left.
UPDATE: BAA says it will re-open registration on schedule on Monday, but doesn't give an updated slot number.
The BAA moved to this system to prevent the crush of registrations on opening day -- in 2012, the race sold out in eight hours under the old open registration system. On Monday, runners who beat their BQ times by 20 minutes had first crack. On Wednesday, registration opened up for runners who beat their BQ times by 10 minutes. On Friday, runners with times 5 minutes better than their BQ line had a shot.
Before those runners got a crack -- so after only those who had run 10 minutes or more under their BQ times during the qualification window, which would be 2:55 in the men's open class and 3:25 in the women's open class -- Runner's World reports that 8,000 slots were already full for the 21,600-runner field. That includes 1,000 folks who decided not to run the race in 2012's excessive heat and deferred. So just about 7,000 who ran BQ - 10 min have registered.
Almost 40 percent of the field was full ... before the BQ - 5 min crowd got a shot. Is there any hope for runners waiting for Monday?
I took a look at a popular BQ race -- the California International Marathon -- to see what proportion of runners goes at least 10 minutes under BQ in a particular class vs. those who go 5 minutes under. At CIM 2011, there were about 115 male 18-34 runners who went 10 minutes or more under BQ (including elites). There were 65 who went at least five under but not 10.
Plucking another random class, some 65 females 35-39 went at least 10 minutes under BQ. Only eight went at least five under but not 10.
Unless there were massive amounts of fast runners who procrastinated -- in other words, runners who could have registered earlier in the week but waited until Friday or Saturday -- I think registration will survive until Monday. The field should be about halfway to 60 percent full by the end of Saturday
, and it'll be a mad rush on Monday to fill up those slots. It should be full by noon, if folks are as crazy to get into Boston as we think they are.
Open registration for all qualifiers is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. ET on Monday. Get your credit cards ready.
UPDATE: Here's a clarification on how registration will work this week.