the times, they are a-changin’

Hi everyone!  Well of course I have to comment on this week’s hot topic in the running world.

In case you have been in hibernation the last few days, here it is, plain and simple-guidelines for NYCM guaranteed entry will be changing.  And honestly, this doesn’t surprise me, I knew it was only a matter of time.

Thankfully, the 9+1 (9 races + 1 volunteer) won’t be changing-for now.  I don’t think they would ever do away with it, but would up it in the future (11+2?  Have some sort of distance requirement for part of the 9 so someone can’t do all 4 or 5 milers to get in?)  So here’s what’s changing and my thoughts on them:

Qualifying by cancelling entry. In the past, applicants to the marathon who canceled their entry according to cancellation guidelines were eligible for guaranteed entry to the following year’s race, and could continue to cancel (and receive guaranteed entry) in subsequent years. Our new policy preserves the cancellation policy but prohibits guaranteed entry by this method following a second consecutive cancellation. Applicants who cancelled in 2010 and 2011 are grandfathered in.

I personally agree this had to happen, as I know there are people who sign up every year and cancel with no intention of running it, or are a “maybe” at best.  Why have a spot for those who are wishy-washy instead of someone who really wants to be there?

Qualifying by being denied entry three consecutive times. In the past, applicants to the marathon have been eligible for guaranteed entry if they have been denied entry three years in a row. This policy will be gradually eliminated. Applicants denied entry for the three years 2009-2011 will be eligible for guaranteed entry in 2012. Applicants denied entry for the three years 2010-2012 will be eligible for guaranteed entry in 2013. Applicants denied entry for the three years 2011-2013 will not be eligible for guaranteed entry in 2014.

This I sort of wish they didn’t have to get rid of-especially since out of towners don’t have the option of the 9+1, they should have a chance to get in eventually.  But I guess cuts had to be made somewhere…

Qualifying by finishing 15 previous New York City Marathons. The ING New York City Marathon offers eligibility for guaranteed entry to runners who have finished 15 or more New York City Marathons. We will discontinue this policy, though we will grandfather in all runners who accumulate 15 or more finishes as of 2015.

This I am a little conflicted about, as I can see both sides of the situation.  This was a policy that rewarded dedication.  On the other hand, I’d rather see someone who has never done the race before get in and have a chance to run rather than someone who has run it 15+ times.  I do feel for those who are just gonna barely miss out (will only have 13 or 14 by 2015…)

Qualifying with a fast marathon or half-marathon time. The time qualifying standards will be tightened to 75% of age-graded times in five-year increments.

Ohhh this is the biggie.  And honestly, especially given Boston tightening their standards, I knew it was only a matter of time before NYC changed theirs.  And if anyone remembers that far back-the current standards are actually looser than have been in the past.  The current standards were last changed in 2006-I can’t remember for other age groups, but for open women, the half time got loosened from 1:34 to 1:37, and marathon from 3:18 to 3:23.  And apparently they had gotten loosened in 2005 too, meaning 2004 and earlier were harder than 1:34/3:18.  Sooo…what is the latest?

Yeah.  Way, way outta my league.  And if anything, I think my age group (the 30-somethings…both men and women) gets hit hardest by this (yeah, I know the 40-44 AG has more time chopped off…but hear me out.)  As you may (or may not know), runners start getting age-graded time adjustments at age 30, meaning that a certain AG% for someone in mid-to-late 30’s would be a different time than someone in their 20’s.  For example-75% for a 35-year-old female would be 1:28:38 for a half, and 3:03:19 for a full marathon-not quite 1:27/3:00.  Granted, I’m nowhere near these times right now, but even a minute or 2 can make a difference for someone who is in striking distance.  I think the fair thing to do would have been to separate out 30-39 or 35-39 instead of lumping all under 40 together.

And contrary to popular belief (from what I have heard others say), I truly believe the shift in the times is NOT a ploy to screw over local runners…if anything, I think non-local runners get more screwed, again we are lucky to still have the option of the 9+1! 

As for me…yeah it will still be 9+1 for me 🙂  Since these standards won’t be going into effect til 2013, I may have one more shot in January to try for a sub-1:37 half.  As for the new standards?  Well right now, they are definitely out of reach for me.  That said, I remember saying in 2006 when the standards changed last “…not that I am anywhere close to these times right now…”  And 5 years later, i was in striking distance of the half standard…what could be in another 5 years?  (unless they change again! 🙂 )

What are everyone else’s thoughts on the changes to the NYCM guaranteed entry standards?

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6 thoughts on “the times, they are a-changin’

  1. I agree with you, it was only a matter of time. And yeah, seems way, way out of my league. See my blog for the background:

    http://thetortoiseruns.wordpress.com/

    I guess it gives us slow folk something to aspire to? Silver linings all the way.

  2. Qualifying by being denied entry three consecutive times. In the past, applicants to the marathon have been eligible for guaranteed entry if they have been denied entry three years in a row. This policy will be gradually eliminated. Applicants denied entry for the three years 2009-2011 will be eligible for guaranteed entry in 2012. Applicants denied entry for the three years 2010-2012 will be eligible for guaranteed entry in 2013. Applicants denied entry for the three years 2011-2013 will not be eligible for guaranteed entry in 2014.

    This one I do not like…It took me getting denied three 3Xs to get in & I’m finally running this year. I have friends here (TN) that will be discouraged a bit by this change.

  3. Crap, I had no idea that I had met the HM qualifying time for guaranteed entry. I would have looked to get this race in had I known at the time. Oh well, we will apply and hope to run this race someday in the future. I think it’s goodness that they are getting rid of such a complex formula of ways to gain entry.

    • may not be too late-these new times don’t go into effect til 2013, since the qualifying period for 2012 has been underway for awhile. I think the application for 2012 will be up the day after the marathon, so check it out on 11/7 to see what’s what 🙂

  4. Qualifying times have never been a problem for me, but at a 40+ male I still have to run my balls off… that said:
    a) I live on the other side of the world.
    b) Yes NY is a great marathon, but I have no plan on running it (I like out of town races, or mountain marathons)
    c) it’s just got to big to run…

    Good luck to you guys who do want to run it.

  5. I think it doesn’t affect the locals as much since we still have 9+1, but it definitely affects those who live far away and have no other way of getting in except through the lottery. Taking away the 3 strikes and you’re in really hampers them.

    As for the qualification times dropping, I agree that this was the trend and was predictable given that Boston dropped their qualification times too. Doesn’t really affect me but having an additional time goal to chase may inspire some people.

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