Updated: Dec 30, 2019
If there is one thing I want to do, it is to qualify for Boston. I I have been after this goal for many years now and am always looking to run the marathons where it is easiest to qualify. With Boston right around the corner, this post seemed perfect for the blog. So here is a list of the top 10 races where it is easiest to qualify for Boston and why they made the list: 1. Boston Marathon — Yes, you are trying to qualify for this race, but because of its net downhill (even though there are a lot of rollers) it has helped many people re-qualify for the race. Last year 35.7 percent of the finishers re-qualified. That’s more than 11,000 runners.
2. The Last Chance BQ.2 Chicagoland Marathon- This Geneva, Ill., race is held in September and last year had a whopping 60.9 percent of finishers qualify. This is a small race, but it is organized very well, provides aid stations every 1.5 miles and is a flat, looped course. Each loop is three miles and you run them eight times. The cooler temps also help.
3. Chicago — This flat race is held in October and is typically a nice, cool fall day where the temperatures aren’t soaring. More than 4,000 out of the 40,801 who ran the race in 2014 qualified for Boston.
4. Baystate Marathon— This is a flat, looped course in Lowell, Mass., with some rolling hills. It qualified 24.8 percent of its runners (376). It’s a small race, but it is very well run and organized. However, the roads are open to traffic.
5. Erie Marathon at Presque Isle — This September race in Erie, Pa., is a looped, flat course around a lake. It may not have a lot of spectators, but it is very well run with plenty of aid stations. More than a third (316) of the finishers qualified last year.
6. The California International Marathon — Held in December, in Sacramento, Calif., this flat course with some rollers is run very well, and the pacers help their pace groups qualify by offering running tips. Downside: There are no corrals. More than 23 percent (1,283) qualified last year.
7. The Albany Marathon — This March race in Albany, Ga, this qualified 22.6 percent (126) of its finishers. This popular race is small and mostly flat race with some rolling hills. Pros: great course support and nice weather.
8. Steamtown Marathon — This is a downhill race, so be careful on your quads. It can be challenging, but last year 20 percent (430) of the finishers qualified. This small race is held in Pennsylvania in October and typically has nice and cool weather.
9. Sugarloaf Marathon — This marathon is held on a mountain in Maine during May. For the first 10 miles, expect some tough ups, but after that, it is all downhill. Prepare to put some wear and tear on your quads. Make sure to incorporate leg strength training into your regime if you sign up for this small but beautiful race. About 27% (132) of the finishers qualified for Boston.
10. Road2Hope Hamilton Marathon — In Hamilton, Ontario, this race has consistently year after year qualified a lot of its runners. In 2014, 25 percent (222) qualified. This race has a net downhill and can be a bit chilly since it takes place in November.