What Are the Best Marathons to Qualify for Boston?

Now that the weather’s starting to warm up, I’m planning to start training for a marathon this year. My goal is to qualify for Boston. Which races would give me the best chance for doing it?

Mar 13, 2013
Outside Magazine
boston marathon qualifiers

The Boston Marathon.    Photo: Marcio Jose Bastos Silva/Shutter


If you’re on the bubble for qualifying times, picking the right course is essential. First, you want one with as few climbs as possible. Even slight elevation changes can seem mountainous after you’ve been running for two or three hours, and every tick of the stopwatch in your favor counts. Second, stay close to home. The point of running a Boston qualifier is to go fast, not enjoy the scenery, so you’ll want to enter one that requires only a short trip so you can keep your legs fresh. Pick a race that’s well-organized and usually boasts a high percentage of people who qualify. Marathon Guide ranks the top North American marathons based on qualifying success rate here. These four top my list:

Chicago Marathon
St. George Marathon
Bay State Marathon
Mohawk Hudson River Marathon