Here’s How To Qualify For The Boston Marathon 2025

How to get into the world's favorite marathon


You can follow our live coverage of the Boston Marathon on race day here, starting at 9:00 a.m. ET Monday morning (30 minutes before the race start time).


The Boston Marathon is one of the most popular marathon races in the world, as it is the oldest or longest-running annual marathon worldwide.

Another alluring feature of running the Boston Marathon is that there are qualifying times to get accepted into the race.

Having to earn your place on the starting line lends a degree of pride that adds to the self-affirming, memorable experience of training for a marathon.

In fact, even for marathon runners who don’t aim to run the Boston Marathon race specifically, hitting the qualifying standards for their age group and sex is often a goal for whatever big or small marathon race they are training for.

But, what are the Boston Marathon qualifying times? How do you get guaranteed entries into the Boston Marathon? What is the Boston Marathon field size limit? What are the best-certified marathon courses for a qualifying race to earn a spot on the entrant’s list?

In this guide, we will discuss how to qualify for the Boston Marathon, a general overview of the qualifying standards by age group and gender category, and other facts about getting guaranteed entry into the Boston Marathon race.

The Boston Strong ribbons.

The Boston Marathon is the oldest annual marathon in the world

Like all marathons with certified courses, the Boston Marathon course is 26.2 miles or 42.195 km. 

It is a point-to-point route that starts in Hopkinton, Massachusetts and meanders 26.2 miles to the finish line on Boylston Street in Boston, MA.

The Boston Marathon is organized by the Boston Athletic Association, often referred to as simply the BAA.

The BAA publishes the Boston Marathon qualifying standards every year along with other information such as the Boston Marathon cutoff times, when the Boston Marathon qualifying window opens and closes, when Boston Marathon registration opens and closes, the 2025 field size, how entrants can pick up bibs for race day, etc.

Therefore, any specific questions prospective runners may have about how to qualify for the 2025 Boston Marathon, how to register for the Boston Marathon 2025 race, and how to prepare for Boston Marathon race day should be directed to the BAA website.

Here's How To Qualify For The Boston Marathon 2025 1

Our disclaimer here is that the information we are presenting about the 2025 Boston Marathon qualifying times and 2025 Boston Marathon qualifying window is speculative based on Boston Marathon qualifying times for age groups and cut-off times from recent years. 

The complete 2025 Boston Marathon qualifying standards and registration information has not yet been released.

With the exception of 2020, the year in which the COVID-19 pandemic forced the date of the race to be pushed to a virtual race in September, and the October 2021 race, the Boston Marathon is held every April on Patriot’s Day, which is a Massachusetts holiday that typically falls on the third Monday of April.1History | Boston Athletic Association. (n.d.). Www.baa.org. https://www.baa.org/races/boston-marathon/history

‌The Boston Marathon is one of the six Abbott World Marathon Majors, alongside the two other USA marathons—the Chicago Marathon and New York City Marathon—and the international Berlin Marathon, London Marathon, and Tokyo Marathon.2Majors, A. W. M. (n.d.). Home. Www.worldmarathonmajors.com. https://www.worldmarathonmajors.com/

‌Of all the Abbott World Marathon major courses, the Boston Marathon course is considered one of the hardest because of how hilly it is.

The first 10km of the race have a pretty significant net downhill, but starting around mile 15 of the point-to-point Boston Marathon course, runners are treated to a series of significant hills, such as Heartbreak Hill and the other large hills in the town of Newton, Massachusetts.

Olympic marathon runners and those looking to set a marathon world record often gravitate towards the Berlin Marathon, London Marathon, and Chicago Marathon.

These three marathon courses are flatter and faster than the Boston Marathon, New York City Marathon, and Tokyo Marathon courses.

Here's How To Qualify For The Boston Marathon 2025 2

What Are the 2025 Boston Marathon Qualifying Times?

The Boston qualifying times are set up by age group and gender.

Most Boston Marathon age groups are five-year age groups, and the Boston Marathon qualifying times get increasingly lenient for older age groups, as countless research has demonstrated that running performance declines with age.

This does not mean it is “easier“ to hit the Boston Marathon qualifying standards as a senior because the qualifying times by age group are said to be scaled based on average marathon finish times and performance expectations by age and gender.

Therefore, theoretically, it is just as difficult for a 76-year-old man to hit his Boston Marathon qualifying time as it is for a 42-year-old male to hit his qualifying standard.

In addition to having different qualifying times by years of age, the time standards also vary by gender category.

In 2021, the Boston Athletic Association introduced a new gender category referred to as “non-binary athletes,” for runners who do not identify as male or female, specifically

So, there are now Boston Marathon qualifying standards for non-binary athletes, men and women.

Because there is not yet enough data to determine appropriate time standards for non-binary athletes, the current Boston Marathon qualifying times for nonbinary athletes are the same as they are for women by age group.

Although the official 2025 Boston Marathon Qualifying Standards have not been released, the qualifying times have been the same since 2020 (when they were tightened by 5 minutes across the board). 

The B.A.A. has not suggested the Boston Marathon qualifying times for 2025 are going to change, so these are the likely 2025 Boston qualifying times by age group and gender category:

Here's How To Qualify For The Boston Marathon 2025 3

Likely 2025 Boston Marathon Qualifying Times for Men

The following table lists the anticipated 2025 Boston Marathon qualifying times for men by age group, along with the average marathon pace you have to run to achieve the respective qualifying finish time.

Age GroupQualifying TimePace (min/mile)Pace (min/km)
18-343hrs 00min 00sec6:524:16
35-393 hrs 05min 00sec7:034:23
40-443hrs 10min 00sec7:154:30
45-493hrs 20min 00sec7:384:44
50-543hrs 25min 00sec7:494:52
55-593 hrs 35min 00sec8:125:06
60-643hrs 50min 00sec8:465:27
65-694 hrs 05min 00sec9:215:48
70-744hrs 20min 00sec9:556:10
75-794 hrs 35min 00sec10:296:31
80 and over4 hrs 50min 00sec11:046:52

Projected 2025 Boston Marathon Qualifying Times for Women and Non-Binary Athletes

The following table displays the latest Boston Marathon qualifying times for women and non-binary athletes by age group, along with the average marathon pace you have to run to achieve the respective qualifying finish time.

Age GroupQualifying TimePace (min/mile)Pace (min/km)
18-343hrs 30min 00sec8:014:58
35-393 hrs 35min 00sec8:125:06
40-443hrs 40min 00sec8:235:13
45-493hrs 50min 00sec8:465:27
50-543hrs 55min 00sec8:585:34
55-594 hrs 05min 00sec9:215:48
60-644hrs 20min 00sec9:556:10
65-694 hrs 35min 00sec10:296:31
70-744 hrs 50min 00sec11:046:52
75-795 hrs 05min 00sec11:387:14
80 and over5 hrs 20min 00sec12:127:35

You can stay up-to-date on the 2025 Boston Marathon qualification times and registration window dates on the B.A.A. website here.3Qualify | Boston Athletic Association. (n.d.). Www.baa.org. https://www.baa.org/races/boston-marathon/qualify

The street signs of Dartmoth and Boylston street in Boton.

What Are the 2025 Boston Marathon Cut-Off Times?

One of the challenging things about getting into the Boston Marathon is that just hitting your Boston Marathon qualifying time within the qualifying window and registering for the race during the registration window is not enough to guarantee entry into the race the next year.

The BAA will establish cutoff times depending on how many qualified applicants apply for the race in a given year and the field size limit determined.

These cut-off times come in addition to the qualifying standards.

Qualified applicants receive an email several months after registration has closed.

This email provides information about whether there is a cut-off time and what the cut-off time is. The 2024 Boston Marathon cut-off time was 5:29, which is the second biggest cutoff time for the Boston Marathon in the past 11 years.

Interestingly, there was no cutoff time for the 2023 Boston Marathon or 2022 Boston Marathon because registration numbers were down.

The Boston Marathon cut-off times are not established until after registration has closed and all of the applications have been reviewed and counted.

Therefore, you have to train for your Boston Marathon qualifying race somewhat blindly in terms of the actual finish time you need for guaranteed entry into the Boston Marathon for the next year.

So when looking at how to qualify for the Boston Marathon, you will need to run faster than your designated qualifying time.

Historically, the Boston Marathon cut-off time is several minutes, so runners should aim to run at least 5 minutes under their designated Boston Marathon qualifying times.

What Races Can Be Used to Qualify for the Boston Marathon?

In order to qualify for the Boston Marathon, applicants have to have proof of a finish time that is faster than the Boston Marathon qualifying time for their age group and gender category.

  • Qualifying times are based on official finish times.
  • Boston Marathon qualifying races must be certified courses by USA Track and Field, the Association for International Marathons and Distance Races (AIMS), or the national governing body for distance running for the nation where the race occurred.
  • Only a certified marathon (full marathon) counts as a Boston qualifier race. You cannot use a half marathon time or a finish time from any other race distance. 
  • The BAA does not accept times from indoor marathons and virtual marathons.
  • The qualifying race time must come from a race run during a specific qualifying window. For the 2025 Boston Marathon, the qualifying window began on September 1, 2023. The qualifying window remains open until race registration is closed.
People runnig a marathon.

What Are the Best Boston Marathon Qualifying Races?

There isn’t an official list of specific qualifying races, but there are rules about what races count as “Boston Qualifiers.” 

The BAA website lists some of the top Boston Marathon qualifying races.

This list provides some of the most common races that qualified runners have run to achieve their Boston Marathon qualifying time. 

It is far from an exhaustive list, and the listed races aren’t even necessarily the marathons with the highest percentage of runners qualifying for the Boston Marathon; rather, they are just some of the biggest marathons in the US and world, so they tend to draw a lot of marathoners who aim to run Boston.

That said, here are some of the most common Boston Marathon qualifying marathon races:

  • Boston Marathon
  • Chicago Marathon
  • New York City Marathon
  • California International Marathon
  • Philadelphia Marathon
  • Erie Marathon
  • Mountains 2 Beach Marathon
  • REVEL Mt. Charleston Marathon
  • Berlin Marathon
  • Indianapolis Monumental Marathon
  • Twin Cities Marathon
  • London Marathon
  • St George Marathon
  • Richmond Marathon
  • Grandma’s Marathon
  • Ottawa Marathon
  • Phoenix Marathon
  • Baystate Marathon
  • REVEL Big Cottonwood Marathon
  • Lehigh Valley Via Marathon
  • Steamtown Marathon
  • Marine Corps Marathon
  • Mohawk Hudson River Marathon
  • Jack and Jill’s Downhill Marathon
  • Bayshore Marathon
The Boston Skyline.

Do You Have to Qualify for the Boston Marathon?

In addition to the Boston Marathon qualifying standards, there are other potential routes to guaranteed entry to the Boston Marathon.

For elite runners at the Olympic level, Boston Marathon entry may be granted with a special invitation to participate in the race.

The BAA also reserves a certain number of Boston Marathon bibs for other select invitees that the Boston Athletic Association committee agrees upon. This can include elite marathon runners, celebrities, BAA employees, local runners with a heroic story, celebrities, etc.

It is also possible to get guaranteed entry to the Boston Marathon without running a qualifying race, coming in under the qualifying standards, or the cutoff time for your age group if you enter through one of the Boston Marathon charity spots.

The Boston Marathon charity entries would be the only potential route for someone wanting to do the Boston Marathon as their first marathon unless they were one of the very select few elite runners or chosen runners that the BAA voted to accept into the race.

Are you aiming to run the 2025 Boston Marathon? Check out some of our free marathon training plans to help you get ready for the race of your life.

People running on the road.

References

Photo of author
Amber Sayer is a Fitness, Nutrition, and Wellness Writer and Editor, as well as a NASM-Certified Nutrition Coach and UESCA-certified running, endurance nutrition, and triathlon coach. She holds two Masters Degrees—one in Exercise Science and one in Prosthetics and Orthotics. As a Certified Personal Trainer and running coach for 12 years, Amber enjoys staying active and helping others do so as well. In her free time, she likes running, cycling, cooking, and tackling any type of puzzle.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.