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  • Jessica Jones

What Does it Mean to BQ?


Boston Qualifier. A time run on a certified marathon distance course under the qualifying time for your age and gender. Basically, your ticket to the most historic, and arguably, the most prestigious marathon in the world. At least that’s how it used to work. For the past few years, people who had a BQ, who met the qualifying standard, were not necessarily accepted into the big race. The Boston Athletic Association receives entries from anyone meeting the qualifying standard, but only accepts the fastest runners (age and gender graded) until the field is full. This means people have to run faster than the BQ time in order to actually get into the race. How much faster? That depends.


Last week the BAA decided the cut-off time for the 2019 race. When everyone “on the bubble” found out if they’re in or not. This year the cut-off was 4:52. You had to run 4 minutes and 52 seconds faster than your qualifying standard to be accepted into the 2019 Boston Marathon. Over 7,000 runners who met the qualifying standard, who BQ’d, were not accepted into the race.


With the announced the 4:52 cut-off for 2019, the BAA also announced that the qualifying standards for 2020 will be 5 minutes faster. For all categories. The first change in standards in 7 years. If you have friends on social media that are marathoners. That have, or are trying to, qualify for Boston, you likely already know about the change in standard. It’s been a big topic of discussion and there are strong feelings. I, for one, like the change. It gives folks who make their BQ more likely to get into the race. Humans are getting faster. Eluid Kipchoge just shattered the marathon world record by over a minute. 1:14, to be precise. Why shouldn’t the standard for earning the privilege to run Boston be faster?


I’ve always been a fan of the qualifying standard for Boston. It’s one of the reasons Boston is so special. All the other world marathon majors have a qualifying standard, but if you can’t make the time, you can enter a lottery. A random drawing for entry. So, you don’t really have to qualify to run any of the other majors. There is another way into Boston, too. Charity. I’ve never done this, but I hear it’s not easy. Charity spots are limited. Only certain charities have bibs up for grabs. You have to raise a minimum amount of money for the charity. It’s a lot of work. But, it’s for a good cause. So, either way, the road to Boston is not an easy one. It’s a spot earned. A place in history.


Training Log September 10-16, 2018: 62.8 miles.

Monday – 3.4mi @ 9:20. Took it super easy as legs a little heavy.

Tuesday – 10.1mi @ 8:39. Warm up, 6x0.5mi with 90s rest, cool down. Hard work, but legs okay. Repeats at 3:06-3:25. Stability session.

Wednesday – 6.3mi @ 9:00. Comfortable, easy run. Strength session.

Thursday – 9.1mi @ 8:08. Steady run. Felt strong. Stability session.

Friday – 6.9mi @ 8:46. Touch of soreness, but an easy run.

Saturday – 18.0mi @ 8:36. First half at a steady pace, then pushed just a bit on the second half (~20 sec/mi faster).

Sunday – 9.1mi @ 9:20. Felt good to take this super easy. Strength session.


Training Log September 17-23, 2018: 66.0 miles.

Monday – 7.1mi @ 9:06. Nice and easy. Felt good.

Tuesday – 6.3mi @ 9:32. Super easy hotel treadmill miles. Mental struggle – worn out from travel!

Wednesday – 8.0mi @ 9:13. Hotel treadmill. Progression run on an incline. Challenging, but legs felt okay.

Thursday – 10.1mi @ 8:19. Back home and on the road! Felt strong with a steady pace.

Friday – 5.9mi @ 9:16. Legs felt good on this easy run. Stability session.

Saturday – 20.2mi @ 8:54. Two hours of easy running, then 20 minutes of hard effort (7:35-ish pace), then finished out easy. Tough to get the legs moving after 2h of easy running, but felt okay once I got going.

Sunday – 6.1mi @ 9:53. Super easy recovery run. Weight session.


Training Log September 24-30, 2018: 64.7 miles.

Monday – 3.1mi @ 9:37. A super easy to start the week.

Tuesday – 9.7mi @ 9:14. Easy does it again today. Legs felt good. Stability session.

Wednesday – 7.5mi @ 8:12. Warm up, then 3 hard miles (7:10, 6:44, 6:39), and cool down. Legs definitely felt that effort, but still good.

Thursday – 10.7mi @ 9:15. Legs good to start, a little heavy feeling started creeping in about midway.

Friday – 4.5mi @ 9:09. Easy run felt good.

Saturday – 15.2mi @ 8:21. Started easy, then pushed through the middle (7:44 avg. pace) and finished out steady. Solid effort. Legs felt the effort of those middle miles!

Sunday – 14.0mi @ 8:29. Mostly steady running. Legs a bit heavy, but still felt pretty good. Wrapped it up with a couple of easy miles.


Until next time, y’all.


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