Anyone who hasn’t yet been granted a number for the 2014 Boston Marathon may be out of luck.
In the past, aspiring marathoners might still be able to pluck a number bib for official entry from a Boston-area running club or by joining a charity team, but both paths are all but completely blocked because of the high interest generated in next year’s race.
The Winner’s Circle Running Club is still offering seven club invitational entries for the price of the standard entry fee ($325). The Boston Athletic Association’s requirements for applicants are that they must be members of the Winner’s Circle Running Club, and must be able to run a 6-hour marathon. The Winner’s Circle’s criteria for the race includes the service to the club, participation in club events, demonstrated ability to run a marathon, and motivation to run Boston this year. The WCRC Board of Directors will make the final selections at the next board meeting on Thursday.
However, the Winner’s Circle is somewhat of an anomaly in the world of marathon bib distribution. Numbers from other local clubs are pretty much allocated, and applicants to run with charity teams have skyrocketed despite tougher standards for raising funds.
“Dream Big,” for example, has 200 applicants for 15 numbers and Team Red Cross has 190 applicants for 35 slots, compared to 75 hopefuls last year. Mass. General Hospital has 600 applicants for 100 numbers.
With the heightened interest, the minimum has increased for funds runners must raise. The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, for example, is only considering people who commit to raise $7,500, which is up from $5,000 last year.
Last year, there were 2,000 charity runners at Boston. Officials have raised that limit to 3,000 for 2014 for an expanded field of 36,000, but it’s still extremely tough to secure a number.