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Top 50 Best Boston Qualifying Marathons in 2017


For many marathoners, the Boston Marathon is the holy grail of races and the reward for months or years of hard work and solid training. We’ve narrowed down the more than 500 marathons in the U.S. that were certified as Boston qualifiers in 2017 to the 50 best.

The criteria used to determine our list the Top 50 Boston Qualifying races is a combination of 1) the percentage of finishers who ran Boston Marathon qualifying times for their age group, 2) the total number of finishers achieving BQ standards, and 3) our PR Score* for the 2017 race.

Top 50 Best Boston Qualifying Races for 2017 (alphabetical order).

Race Name
Race Name
B & A Marathon Myrtle Beach Marathon
Bayshore Marathon Pacific Northwest Marathon
Baystate Marathon Peak to Creek Marathon
Beantown Marathon Pocono Mountain Run for the Red Marathon
Boston Marathon Rehoboth Beach Marathon
California International Marathon REVEL Big Cottonwood Marathon
Carmel Marathon REVEL Canyon City Marathon
Charles River Marathon REVEL Mt. Charleston Marathon
Erie Marathon at Presque Isle REVEL Mt. Lemmon Marathon
Eugene Marathon REVEL Rockies Marathon
Glass City Marathon Skagit Flats Marathon
Hawaii Bird Conservation Marathon Snickers Marathon
Holland Haven Marathon Spring Chance BQ.2 Marathon
Huntsville Marathon St. George Marathon
Indianapolis Monumental Marathon Sugarloaf Marathon
Jack and Jill’s Downhill Marathon Super Marathon
Jacksonville Marathon Tobacco Road Marathon
Kiawah Island Golf Resort Marathon Town of Celebration Marathon
Last Chance BQ.2 Marathon (Illinois) Tucson Marathon
Last Chance BQ.2 Marathon (Michigan) Tunnel Light Marathon
Light at the End of the Tunnel Marathon Tunnel Vision Marathon
LOCO Marathon Ventura Marathon
Marquette Marathon Vernonia Marathon
Mesa-PHX Marathon Via Marathon
Mountains 2 Beach Marathon Wineglass Marathon

*The Personal Record (PR) Score utilizes the course profile, elevation, and race time weather to create a score that can be compared to other marathons to determine at which race you could expect to run faster. The higher the score, the faster the race.




Pace Band Discount for Runners who BQ’d but Missed 2018 Boston Marathon Cut-off Time


We’re offering the 5,062 runners who qualified and registered for the 2018 Boston Marathon, but were not accepted due to the time cut-off, a 19% discount on Pace Bands to help them qualify for 2019.

The discount offer will run on orders placed before January 1st, 2018 and the Non-Acceptance email from B.A.A. will be accepted as verification. *

*Forward your non-acceptance email to after placing your order. 

**Discount on Pace Bands only, not shipping.

Order Yours Today!

Marathon Pace Bands
Over 500 Marathon Courses available as well as Custom Splits and Blank Pace Bands. Course Elevation Profile available on reverse.

Predicting the 2018 Boston Marathon Qualifying Cutoff


In 2011 the Boston Athletic Association announced that the field would be limited for the 2012 Boston Marathon and that there would be a new rolling registration process based on time under BQ time. The new process meant that not all qualifiers who applied for entry would be accepted into the race.

That year the cutoff time turned out to be 1:14 and more than 3,000 applicants who had run under their qualifying time were denied entry. Ever since marathoners have been unsure of the exact time needed to guarantee entry into the Boston Marathon. Based on data from previous years, we’re going to predict what this year’s cutoff will be.

Year Cutoff Time # Qualifiers not Accepted
2018     ?               ?
2017 2:09          2,957
2016 2:28          4,562
2015 1:02          1,947
2014 1:38          2,976
2013 0:00                 –
2012 1:14          3,228

We’ve analyzed data from past years to determine any type of trends to better predict the cutoff time for the 2018 Boston Marathon. It’s a difficult task with only six years of data, changing field size limits and number of accepted runners, and external factors such the extremely hot 2012 Boston Marathon (which only had just over 2,300 BQs), the cancellation of the 2012 New York City Marathon, and the increased interest in running Boston after the 2013 bombings.

The primary data used for our models were:

  • Qualifiers from U.S.  and Canadian marathons – the majority of Boston entrants are from these two countries.
  • Since the Boston Marathon produces by far the most qualifying times, the number of qualifiers for each year was also factored in.
  • Number of applicants and the number denied entry each year of the current registration process.
  • Data was weighted toward the 2015-2017 qualifying periods since the field size limits were the same and there would likely be a more recent predictive trend.
Qualifying Year Cutoff Time Total # of Qualifying Times (approx.) Qualifiers at Boston (approx.)
2018 ? 51,000 8,000
2017 2:09 54,000 9,000
2016 2:28 59,000 12,750
2015 1:02 58,000 11,000

Based on this information and various models built from the data, our best prediction is that the cutoff time for the 2018 Boston Marathon will be 1:50.  Again, it is very difficult to predict based on the limited data and several unknown factors, but all indications are that it will be less than last year’s cutoff.

Interestingly, there was one simple data point that stood out. There was a very similar ratio between the number of applicants and the number of qualifying times for U.S./Canada marathons for Boston 2017 and 2016.  If this demand ratio is the same for 2018, the number of applicants should be reduced and would result in only about 1,100-1,800 qualifiers denied entry (depending on the number of entries accepted by the B.A.A.)*  This would likely drop the cutoff time significantly to around 1:00-1:10.

Good luck to everyone who may be on the bubble and we hope 100% of applicants are accepted this year.


*In 2017 the B.A.A accepted 23,214 qualified entries, 24,032 in 2016, and 23,546 in 2015.

Best Marathons to Qualify for the Boston Marathon


The Boston Marathon has long been the goal for runners. The tradition of the oldest U.S. marathon and the challenge to qualify leads thousands of marathoners each year on a quest for that coveted unicorn-decorated finisher’s medal.

In recent years, it has become more difficult to earn a spot on Main St. in Hopkinton for the start. For the 2013 marathon, the B.A.A. reduced the qualifing standards by five minutes for all age groups and the increased demand lately has led to some runners who have met their qualifying times to be turned away due to registration being full.*

With being accepted into the race not guaranteed, even if the qualifying times are met, it is important to choose a qualifying race that gives you the best chance to run your best. We have compiled a list of races that have demonstrated over the past few years (2014-2017) to be great Boston Marathon qualifying races.

Race Average BQ%
(2014-Aug. 2017)
 Average Number of BQs per Year 
Last Chance BQ.2 Marathon (IL) 50.3% 102
Last Chance BQ.2 Marathon (MI) 45.8% 51
LOCO Marathon 32.4% 52
Erie Marathon at Presque Isle 31.6% 407
Pocono Mountain Run for the Red Marathon 29.8% 170
Mountains 2 Beach Marathon 28.9%  520
Light at the End of the Tunnel Marathon 27.1%  136
Baystate Marathon 25.3% 360
California International Marathon 22.2% 1,300
REVEL Big Cottonwood Marathon 24.2%  332
Peak to Creek Marathon 24.2% 69
Tunnel Lite Marathon 32.4% 117
**REVEL Mt. Charleston Marathon 39.1% 377
**Tunnel Vision Marathon 37.5% 107

* From 2014-2017, an average of 3,110 qualifiers who registered for the Boston Marathon  were not accepted
** Only 2 years of history



The Best Marathons of 2016


At we have compiled our list of the winners of the Best Marathons of 2016. Our lists are based on runner reviews, social media comments, and various input from the running community for races run in 2016. In the case of the Fastest Marathons and Best Marathon to Qualify for Boston categories, additional statistical data was used to determine the winners. In all of the categories, the races are listed in no particular order.

Several races appear in more than one category. The REVEL Mt. Charleston Marathon shows up three times in our lists (Fastest Marathons, Best Marathons to Qualify for Boston, and Best New Marathons). In addition, the California International Marathon, Big Sur International Marathon, Chicago Marathon, Boston Marathon, Akron Marathon, and Mount Desert Island Marathon all appear in two categories.

Best Marathons of 2016

Best Marathons of 2016

Narrowing down the Best Marathons of 2016 from hundreds of races was very challenging. Unfortunately, we couldn’t include every great race (and there are a lot). Our list is based on reviews from our site as well as from social media and running community comments, and other reviews. The list is in no particular order.

Best Mid-Sized Marathons of 2016

Like with the Best Marathons list, narrowing down the Best Mid-sized Marathons of 2016 was also very challenging. Our list is based on reviews from our site as well as from social media and running community comments, and other reviews. The races on this list range from approximately 500 to 2,000 marathon finishers.

Fastest Marathons

Our Fastest Marathons list is based on our PR Score for each marathon in 2016. The PR Score is calculated using an algorithm based on the course elevation changes, weather during the race, and the race elevation. Read more about our Marathon PR and Course Scores and view the Scores for all marathons in 2016.

Best Marathons to Qualify for Boston

Our Best Marathons to Qualify for Boston list includes races with both a high percentage of runners achieving Boston Qualifying standards for their age group and also having a high number of runners qualifying. In addition, runner reviews and running community comments are also taken into condieration.

View the BQ percentage and number of BQers for all marathons on our Marathon Rankings list or check out all Boston Qualifying races on our BQ calendar.

Most Scenic Marathon

The Most Scenic Marathon is based on runner reviews, course descriptions, and social media and running community comments.

Best Organized Marathon

The Best Organized Marathon is based on runner reviews and social media and running community comments about the race organization.

Best New Marathon

The Best New Marathon is based on runner reviews, course descriptions, social media and running community comments.

Please feel free to post a Review for any marathon you’ve run.
Leave Feedback.


2017 Marathon March Madness Tournament Winner!!


Congratulations to the Mount Desert Island Marathon, winner of the 2017 Marathon March Madness Tournament.

After four weeks, six rounds, 76 marathons and over 100,000 votes cast, the Mount Desert Island Marathon emerged as the champion of the 2017 Marathon March Madness Tournament.

Marathon March Madness
2017 Marathon March Madness

The Mount Desert Island Marathon earned 40% of the Final Four voting to push past the Big Sur International, Marine Corps, and the 2015 champion Wineglass Marathon.

The results of the voting for the Final Four are below.

Thanks to everyone who voted during the tournament and thank you to our 2017 Marathon March Madness sponsors.


Marathon March Madness™ is Almost Here!


The 3rd Annual Marathon March Madness™ Tournament starts on March 8th with the voting for the last four marathons to get into the Round of 64.

How it works: Marathon March Madness™ is an NCAA Basketball-style tournament with marathons instead of basketball teams. Each marathon is matched against another marathon each round in a single elimination tournament. Vote for your favorite marathons in each match-up during each round. Each round lasts 3-4 days and will roughly coincide with the same round of the NCAA Basketball Tournament. Marathons that receive more votes than their opponent move on to the next round until one marathon is crowned the 2017 Marathon March Madness™ Tournament Champion.

Voting Starts HERE on March 8th.

In this year’s edition, the Baystate Marathon looks to defend their title while the 2015 champion, Wineglass Marathon,  the two-time Finalist, Boston Marathon, and 61 other marathons try to knock them off.

This year we have some great Sponsors.  Please be sure to check them all out.

StrideBox is a fun and exciting way to discover running products and accessories.
Celebrating the Athlete in every Princess.
Creating Momentum Coaching can provide the support, motivation, and guidance you need to reach your goals!
Choose Your Adventure.
Running and Laughing through the Garden State.
Ready to run a race of a lifetime in a destination of your dreams? Check out the top 5 to add to your list!
Framing Shirts into Art.



Alternative Races to the Cancelled Pony Express Marathon


Unfortunately, the 2017 Pony Express Marathon, Half-Marathon and other races scheduled for April 30th have been cancelled.  Here are a few alternative races around the Sacramento area, with registration still open, around the same time that the Pony Express Marathon was to be held.

Check out these and search for other races HERE!

Oakland Running Festival Marathon & Half, Oakland, CA – 4/2
Western Pacific Marathon & Half, Fremont, CA – 4/29
Downtown River Run Marathon & Half, Reno, NV – 4/30
Avenue of the Giants Marathon & Half, Weott, CA – 5/7
San Luis Obispo Marathon & Half, San Luis Obispo, CA – 4/30


Alternatives to the Cancelled Clearwater Marathon


The Clearwater Distance Classic Marathon, Half-Marathon and Ultra have been cancelled for this Sunday.  Here are a few alternative races with registration still open.

Check out these and search for other races HERE!

Miami Marathon & Half – Miami, FL – 1/29
Big Beach Marathon  & Half – Gulf Shores. AL – 1/29
Callaway Gardens Marathon & Half – Pine Mountain, GA – 1/28
Florida Marathon & Half, Melbourne, FL – 2/5
Tallahassee Marathon & Half, Tallahassee, FL – 2/5
Hilton Head Island Marathon & Half, Hilton Head Island, SC – 2/11
26.2 with Donna Marathon & Half, Jacksonville Beach, FL – 2/12
Ft. Lauderdale A1A Marathon & Half, Ft. Lauderdale, FL – 2/19
Five Points of Life Marathon & Half , Gainesville, FL – 2/26