Want to run the 2014 Boston Marathon? Run for charity

With only 10 percent of runners fast enough to qualify, the best bet for getting into the 2014 Boston Marathon is through charity entries. Photo: Boston Marathon start-AP

NEW YORK, April 23, 2013—Interest in running the 2014 Boston Marathon on April 21, as a qualifier or charity runner, has boomed as runners all over the world clamor to show their support for victims of the Boston Marathon bombing on April 15, the city itself, and the sport of running as a community.

But qualifying for the Boston Marathon is no easy task. Only 10.4 percent of all marathon runners manage to meet the race’s tough qualifying standards, according to Runner’s World.

For the other 90 percent of runners, including first-time marathoners, getting a spot through one of the race’s charity partners is your best bet.

The Boston Marathon reserves approximately 20 percent of the race’s 27,000 spots for charities, sponsors, local running clubs, and other groups affiliated with the race. Of that 20 percent, approximately 2,500 entries go to charity runners who don’t have to meet a qualifying standard.

In 2013, The Boston Marathon Charity Program had 36 official charity partners that offered spots to runners in exchange for raising a minimum of $4,000. Since 1989, runners in that program have raised a total of nearly $128 million. In 2013, runners were expected to add $11 million to that tally.

In addition, The John Hancock Non-Profit Program gives local Boston area charities entries into the race and an opportunity to raise money for their cause. In 2012, over 1,000 John Hancock-sponsored non-profit runners raised $6.8 million for 122 local charities. In 2013, they had 109 charity groups. These groups fall into one of five categories: Civic, disAbility, Health & Wellness, Homelessness, and Youth & Education.

Between the two programs, more than 2,000 runners entered the 2013 Boston Marathon via 145 charity partners.

The official Boston Marathon Charity Program partners have yet to be announced for 2014. But here are the groups the race partnered with in 2013: 

Alzheimer’s Association
American Liver Foundation, N. E. Chapter
The American Red Cross of Eastern Massachusetts
The American Stroke Association
Best Buddies Massachusetts
Boston Arts Academy
Boston Bruins Foundation
Boston Children’s Hospital
Boys and Girls Clubs of Dorchester
The Cam Neely Foundation
Camp Shriver at UMass Boston Center for Development and Education
Cops for Kids With Cancer
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Doug Flutie Foundation for Autism
Dream Big!
Franklin Park Coalition
Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts

Hale Reservation
John M. Barry Boys and Girls Club of Newton
Jumpstart Boston
Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation
Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
Mass Mentoring Partnership
Melanoma Foundation of New England
The Michael Carter Lisnow Respite Center
Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation
Museum of Science
National Multiple Sclerosis Society
New England Aquarium
New England Patriots Foundation
Red Sox Foundation
Summer Search Boston
Tenacity, Inc.

For a complete list of all 109 charities that participated in The John Hancock Non-Profit Program in 2013, please click the following links:



Health & Wellness


Youth & Education

And if you’re fast enough to be in the 10 percent of runners who qualify for Boston, these are the current qualifying standards: 

Age 18-34  Men 3:05  Women 3:35

Age 35-39  Men 3:10  Women 3:40

Age 40-44  Men 3:15  Women 3:45

Age 45-49  Men 3:25  Women 3:55

Age 50-54  Men 3:30  Women 4:00

Age 55-59  Men 3:40  Women 4:10

Age 60-64  Men 3:55  Women 4:25

Age 65-50  Men 4:10  Women 4:40

Age 70-74  Men 4:25  Women 4:55

Age 75-79  Men 4:40  Women 5:10

Age 80+    Men 4:55  Women 5:25

Runners must race the qualifying time on a certified course between September 22, 2012 and registration in 2013. Officials expect to announce in July the date registration will begin. They have yet to detail how the process will work for 2014, but in 2013 the fastest runners were allowed to register first with rolling admission based on time.

Some runners are speculating, and even hoping, that all this may change for 2014. The Boston Athletic Association, the organization that puts on the Boston Marathon, has yet to announce any changes for the 2014 race. They could reserve spots for the 5,756 runners who were unable to finish the race after the bombings or could increase the number of entrants like they did for the 100th anniversary of the race in 1996, when they had a record field of 38,708 runners.

The ING New York City Marathon faced similar problems in fielding their 2013 event after the 2012 race was canceled in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. As a result, race officials had to cap the number of runners who could enter the race through qualifying standards in order to make room for runners who were scheduled to run in 2012.

Registration for the 2014 Boston Marathon will begin in September for both qualifiers and charity runners. By then, the B.A.A. is certain to announce how they plan to field the race.

Karla Bruning is host of On The Run, New York Road Runners’ web show about running. She has finished six marathons, two triathlons and trains with the New York Harriers. Follow Karla at RunKarlaRun.com, The Washington Times Communities, Facebook and Twitter@KBruning.

This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ WashingtonTimes.com. Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.

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Karla Bruning

Karla Bruning is the host of On The Run, a TV and web show from New York Road Runners. Her work has appeared in Newsweek, American Athlete Magazine, RunnersWorld.com, Active.com, The Philadelphia Inquirer, San Francisco Chronicle, Orlando Sentinel, and two dozen other outlets including ESPN2, Universal Sports and ABC in New York. She and her work have also received mentions from The New York Times, Runner's World, Fox Sports, Canadian Running, The Baltimore Sun, and PBS among others. She also covered the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver for The Washington Times.


A former Newsweek reporter, Karla has won a Fulbright scholarship for American journalists and reporting grants from the Scripps Howard, Carnegie and Knight Foundations. Karla holds degrees from Amherst College and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.


When not pounding the pavement as a reporter, Karla is pounding the pavement as a runner. She has completed seven marathons, four triathlons, trains with the New York Harriers and is a member of New York Road Runners. She is a writer, editor, and on-camera reporter dedicated to covering the sport of running from a runner’s perspective. Find Karla on RunKarlaRun.com, Twitter@KBruning, Facebook and Google+.

Contact Karla Bruning


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