Boston Marathon 2014: Top qualifying races and charity running

Marathons most likely to return a qualifying time for the Boston Marathon 2014, and how to race with a charity. Photo: The Boston Marathon (AP)

WASHINGTON, April 23, 2013 - With interest in running the Boston Marathon in 2014 skyrocketing, many are wondering which races are most likely to return a qualifying time. Some of those worried about meeting the time requirements are also looking at charity participation as a way to enter the race. (Read qualifying times and details on registration here

Registration for the 2014 Boston Marathon will open in early September 2013.  Only times earned between September 22, 2012 and the opening of registration will count as valid entry times for the race on April 21, 2014. 

This is going to affect runners in the Washington DC area who had hoped to qualify in the local Marine Corp Marathon.  Unless a runner qualified in the MCM last October, the next running of it will be too late in the season for the 2014 Boston race.

But there are many, many other races throughout the country that are qualifiers for the Boston race.

Listed below are the ones that have statistically provided runners with the best chance to qualify in years past.

These are not the only qualifiers, however, and results from any sanctioned race will count toward the Boston entry time.

SEE RELATED: To qualify for the 2014 Boston Marathon, start training now

Most Likely to Qualify for Boston (2012)

1. Santa Rosa Marathon, 185 qualifiers, 34.8%: August 25, 2013. Santa Rosa California. It takes place in Northern California so even though it takes place at the end of August, the weather is cool and good for running.  The course is flat and fast. It is pavement except for 1 mile of hard packed dirt.

2. Road2Hope Hamilton Marathon, 346, 32.1%: November 3, 2013. Hamilton Ontario, Canada. Ok, so this one already happened. If anyone is looking for a good qualifier for 2015, this is a good one. The course is almost entirely downhill.

3. Bay State Marathon, 302, 26.6%: This is another fall race. It takes place at the end of October in Massachusetts. Small and fast, but it is too late in the season for 2014 Boston.

4. Lehigh Valley Hospital Marathon, 134, 24.8%: September 8, 2013. Allentown, PA.  People love this race.  Runners say that it is perfect and it should be one of the last possible races that will count as a qualifier for the upcoming Boston run. It is almost all in the shade, beautiful river views and flat.

5. Erie Marathon, 161, 24.3%: Presque Isle State Park on Sunday, September 15, 2013. Another good and fast race close to Boston’s registration time.  Once Boston’s site becomes active again, check to make sure registration is after this race.  A small, flat race. Water is offered at every mile. Shirts and medals are designed by local artists.

6. Buffalo Marathon, 253, 24.1%: May 26, 2013 Buffalo, NY. This is a good race for those already in shape to run.  It is only 33 days away so if you want to run it make sure you have already trained. Fast, scenic course.

7. Sioux Falls Marathon, 61, 23.6%: Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Sunday September 8, 2013. Small well run race.  Sheraton hotel is located at the start. Many racers stay there so they only have a 15 minute walk to the start of the race.

8. Ojai 2 Ocean Marathon, 188, 23.5%; Ojai, California June 2, 2013.  This is a mostly gradual downhill race that takes you out along the beaches for the finish.

If running a marathon in a Boston qualifying time is not an option for you no matter how long and hard you train, there is another option: The charity exemption option. 

The Boston Marathon has always held some registration slots for charities.  Those charities can pick the racers any way they chose.  Many require fairly substantial fundraising.

A Boston Marathon race number is a fairly coveted possession and to receive one you will need to earn it.  Most charities require somewhere in the vicinity of $4000 in donations to participate.  Most of the charities, especially if they are large ones, will support you as much as they can with the fund rising but in the end you will need to find a way to raise that money.

If running a qualifying time or raising the money necessary for a charity exemption is unrealistic for this upcoming year then consider traveling to Boston next April to cheer on the runners and patronize the businesses, they would love to have you.

List of charities given race exemptions for 2013 race:


Alzheimer’s Association

American red Cross of Mass.

American Liver Foundation

American Stroke Association-Tedy’s Team

Best Buddies Mass.

Boston Arts Academy

Boston Bruins Foundation

Boston Children’s Hospital

Boys and Girls Club of Dorchester

Cam Neely Foundation

Camp Shriver

Cops for Kids with Cancer

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Doug Flutie Foundation

Dream Big

Franklin Park Coalition

Girl Scouts of Eastern Mass

Hale Reservation

John M Barry Boys and Girls Club of Newton

Jumpstart Boston

Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation

Mass Mentoring Partnership

Melanoma Foundation of New England

Michael Carter Listnow 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


The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society

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Susan L Ruth

Susan L. Ruth is a long-time Washington, DC resident with extensive ties throughout the community.  She is a genealogical researcher and writer, and is an active volunteer in the Northern Virginia competitive swimming community.  Susan previously worked providing life-skills to head injured adults. 

Susan and her husband Kerry currently live in Northern Virginia with their three sons, Ryley, Casey and Jack and their American Bulldog, Leila.


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