It remains to be seen what effect the Marathon bombings will have on participation in future years’ races: Will more people try to run as a way to celebrate the triumph of a great event? Or will runners be scared away by the memory of this year’s attack and the fear of future violence?
Participation in the Boston Marathon also hinges on the more general issue of the qualifying times the Boston Athletic Association sets to allow runners to earn a spot in the race. Boston’s qualifying times are iconic in the sports world, a bar that every serious marathoner hopes to clear. This year was the first in which a new, more stringent set of qualifying times was applied to winnow the huge number of runners applying. The new times start at 3:05 for men and 3:35 for women under 34, and rise for older runners.