The Boston Qualifier Questionnaire: The Stories of Those Who’ve Qualified for the Boston Marathon

Welcome to the Boston Qualifier Questionnaire a place where runners share their stories of qualifying for the Boston Marathon.

For many runners, myself included, a Boston Marathon qualifying time (a “BQ”) is the pinnacle of achievement in the sport. I think it is safe to say I am obsessed with getting a BQ. One day on the roads I thought it might be interesting to start asking other runners I “know” either in real life or on the internet about their experience getting into the race.

Hence was born the BQ Questionnaire, or BQ(Q) for short. Since then, runners from all over the world have read, and contributed, to the project. The project has been featured on and world famous runners like Amby Burfoot have shared their stories.

On this page I feature the most recent responses to the BQ(Q) and organize all the responses by sex and age. I’ve also made all the responses available in a searchable googlesheet. 

Responses from professional runners and legends of the sport are also featured on this page.

The most viewed responses from work-a-day age group runners are featured here.

When the project hit 200 responses, I wrote up a statistical analysis of the results of the survey.

You can share your story of qualifying for Boston by filling out the form available here. Or, if you’re old school, there’s a blank form of the BQ(Q) at the bottom of this page which you can fill our and email it to me at miloandthecalf at gmail dot com




The BQ Questionnaire

Thank you for agreeing to fill out the BQ Questionnaire. Please answer the questions in as much detail as you can and email your response to miloandthecalf at gmail com. I and other runners working towards a BQ could learn from your experience. Thanks again for taking part!

  1. Give us the vitals:
    1. Name (and website/blog/twitter if applicable):
    2. Sex:
    3. Age (at the time of first BQ):
    4. Height:
    5. Weight (at the time of first BQ):
  2. At which marathon did you get your first BQ? What was your finishing time? Tell us a little about the race.
  3. How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? Did you run in college or high school?
  4. What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ?
  5. How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ?
  6. Approximately how many races did you run in that year?
  7. Did you follow a canned program? If so, which one? If not, can you give us an idea of what your training philosophy was?
  8. Did you run with a running club or utilize a coach?
  9. Did cross training play a role in your training? If so, how?
  10. Did speed work play a role or specific workouts play a role in your training? If so, how?
  11. Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ?

32 thoughts on “The Boston Qualifier Questionnaire: The Stories of Those Who’ve Qualified for the Boston Marathon

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  4. Thanks so much for compiling this. I am in the process of training for a BQ. I have run for over 20 years but this is the first year I really have the bug. Interestingly it has nothing to do with the bombing. Instead it was watching my husband return this year crossing the finish line in 3:06. I was so impressed I was inspired to try myself.

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