Gaining Entry Into the New York City Marathon Can Be Quite a Challenge

A friend of mine who recently finished his first marathon told me he entered into the lottery for an entry into this year's ING New York City Marathon. He asked me how I did in that race.

I've never run the NYC Marathon!

Timing simply never worked for me for New York and I enjoy the logistical simplicity of running local fall marathons like the Long Beach Marathon, Malibu Marathon and Santa Barbara Marathon.

But New York is one of the pre-eminent marathons around the world. With over 46,000 finishers last year, it is also one of the world's most popular marathons.

I've run Los Angeles, Boston and Chicago but not New York. So for grins I took a look.

Wow! $255 for non-New York Road Runners club members plus an $11 application fee! Ouch! That compares to $165 for this year's Los Angeles Marathon and $150 for Boston.

What really surprised me is that there are qualifying times for a guaranteed entry into the NYC Marathon. Having recently signed up for Boston, with a 3 1/2 hour qualifying time for my 45-49 age group, I was actually shocked to see that the qualifying time for my age group at NYC is 3 hours, 10 minutes, a full 20 minutes faster than the Boston Marathon!

Then I read and realized that the 2013 New York Marathon guaranteed entry qualifying times drop even 2 hours, 58 minutes for my age group! Wow! Boston qualifying times are also dropping in 2013, but more slightly, to 3 hours, 25 minutes for my age group, a full 27 minutes, or over 1 minute per mile, slower than New York.

I better start training! Or maybe I should sign up for New York THIS year!

They don't let anyone off the hook beginning in 2013. NYC qualifying times for men up to age 39 will be 2:45 in 2013 while ages 70+ will be 3 hours, 46 minutes. That's MOVING! For women up to age 39, you will need to run a sub 3 hour marathon, while apparently 70+ year olds will need to run 4:50 to qualify (which is actually 15 minutes slower than current NYC Marathon qualifying times).

I see this as a challenge! Check out more at