With registration for the 2015 Boston Marathon opening Sept. 8, the Boston Athletic Association announced Thursday that the event’s field size will be set at 30,000. That number will make the 2015 race the third-largest in Boston Marathon history, trailing the record-setting 38,708 runners who participated in the centennial edition in 1996 and the 36,000 who stood at the Hopkinton starting line this past April.
Recognizing there would be increased demand for entries after the 2013 bombings, race organizers expanded the field size in 2014. Between 2009 and 2013, the entry limit was held at 27,000.
“As we look forward to 2015, our goal is to accommodate as many participants as possible in the Boston Marathon, while maintaining the exceptional race experience and unique characteristics that make this event special,” said BAA executive director Tom Grilk in a statement about the change. “Our field-size limit allows us to meet that goal, and our registration process recognizes the commitment needed to qualify and gain entry into the Boston Marathon.”
The BAA will employ the same “rolling admission” process it used for the the past three races. The process allows the fastest qualifiers based on age and gender time standards to register first.
On Sept. 8, eligible runners who have met their age/gender qualifying standards by 20 minutes or more may enter. If space remains after the first week (through Sept. 13) of staggered registration for runners who have bettered their qualifying standard by five minutes or more, then registration will reopen for all qualifiers on Sept. 15.
Until Sept. 17, the fastest qualifiers will be given preference. If space remains after Sept. 17, then registration reopens Sept. 22 to qualifiers on a first-come, first-served basis.
The rolling registration was implemented after the 2011 Boston Marathon sold out in a record 8 hours and 3 minutes in October 2010. With the race filling so quickly, thousands of qualifiers were unable to register, voicing frustration and disappointment with a process that amounted to a sprint to the online registration page.
For the 2013 race, the BAA lowered qualifying standards by five minutes across all age groups and both genders in an additional measure to alleviate some of the crush.