Unlike last year's registration which filled up in two months, the 2011 Boston Marathon field filled up in just over eight hours. Not only did registrants have to be quick on their feet, they had to be quick with their hands as well.
Online registration for the marathon opened up Monday at 9 a.m. and ended abruptly at 5:03 p.m. when the field was capped. Boston Athletic Association's Dave McGillivray warned runners ahead of time this year that the race would be filled quickly.
"More so than ever before, we got the word out because the race has closed out earlier and earlier in the last few years," race director Dave McGillivray told Boston.com. "There are more people running these days, more people qualifying and a greater inventory of people who want to run Boston. As a result of all that, there was a sense of urgency that hasn't existed before. Because of that sense of urgency, I got so many emails from so many people relieved that they got in."
By noon, over 12,000 runners had already signed up. Was this because many runners wanted to secure the position that they missed out on last year? Possibly, but last years registration was open for two full months, there was plenty of time to sign up.
Last year, there were 26,790 entries in the 114th Boston Marathon and officials estimated this year has the same amount. It’s incredible to see how much the nation's oldest marathon has grown over the years, from just 15 runners in 1897 to nearly 27,000 runners in 2011.
The problem with the race is that it is not growing in conjunction with the amount of runners that qualify and want to run. Instead, the number of entries has stayed around 26,000 for the past few years.
With runners now demanding fairer race registration in the future, some potential solutions could be to make women's qualifying times lower, decrease the number of charity runners or maybe even increase the total number of runners in the marathon.
The Boston Athletic Association tries to keep the race an even 50 percent male and 50 percent woman. If there are more women than men running the race this year, then the officials should look toward lowering the qualifying times for women to make the percentage more equal. Women get an extra 30 minutes to qualify than men do. An 18-year-old man has to run the marathon in three hours and ten minutes whereas an 18-year-old woman has three hours and forty minutes to qualify.
Since the Boston Marathon is congested enough as it is, runners looking to take part in future Boston Marathons might want to start doing some exercises with their fingers for speedy online registrations.