Do I Have to Qualify for the New York City Marathon?

Runners in the NYC Marathon
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The New York City Marathon, which takes place on the first Sunday of November, is one of the biggest and most popular marathons in the world and getting entry into it isn’t easy. Qualifying by time is one way into the race, although the time standards are very tough—even more challenging than qualifying for the Boston Marathon. By meeting the qualifying time, especially at races hosted by the New York Road Runners, you get a guaranteed entry, but this is not the only way to get an entry.

The qualification time and rules may be adjusted each year. The times listed below can give you a general indication, but you should check for any changes for the current year.

Time Qualifiers for the 2018 New York City Marathon

If you’re hoping to qualify for the NYC marathon by time, you must have run a half or full marathon at least as fast as the following times in the calendar year from January 1 to December 31, 2017. The total number of time-qualifier spots is limited. The time is the net (chip) time, not the gun time.

 

Men

 

Age*

Marathon

Half-marathon

18-34

2:53

1:21

35-39

2:55

1:23

40-44

2:58

1:25

45-49

3:05

1:28

50-54

3:14

1:32

55-59

3:23

1:36

60-64

3:34

1:41

65-69

3:45

1:46

70-74

4:10

1:57

75-79

4:30

2:07

80+

4:55

2:15

 

Women

 

Age*

Marathon

Half-marathon

18-34

3:13

1:32

35-39           

3:15

1:34

40-44

3:26

1:37

45-49

3:38

1:42

50-54

3:51

1:49

55-59

4:10

1:54

60-64

4:27

2:02

65-69

4:50

2:12

70-74

5:30

2:27

75-79

6:00

2:40

80+

6:35

2:50

*Age on November 4, 2018

Races for Qualifying Times

If you finish specific races hosted by the New York Road Runners Club (NYRR) in the previous year below the qualifying time, you garner a guaranteed entry. For example, a qualifying time from the 2017 TCS New York City Marathon or the 2017 SHAPE Women's Half-Marathon could qualify for the 2018 TCS New York City Marathon.

If you had a qualifying finishing time at a non-NYRR race, you can apply with that time but slots are limited and are first-come, first-served. In this case, it is better to qualify for a race early in the preceeding year. Times are verified before you get a slot, so that introduces a delay of two weeks. If you miss out on those limited slots, your entry will be placed in the lottery drawing for slots.

Other Ways to Get Entry to the New York City Marathon

What if you don't have a finish time that meets the qualifying time? The good news is that qualifying by time isn’t the only way into the New York City Marathon. The New York Road Runners (NYRR), the marathon’s organizer, holds a lottery every spring. Application for the New York Marathon opens in January.

The competition is very tough for lottery spots, but there are other ways to get into the race. Runners can also get an entry through one of the race’s participating charities. Those spots are offered in exchange for a commitment to fundraising (amounts vary) for that particular charity. You can get a list of participating charities to see if there’s one for which you'd like to raise funds. There is also an International Travel Partners program in which travelers book flights and/or hotel stays and are guaranteed entry to the race.

You can also gain entry by fulfilling the requirements of the NYRR’s 9+1 guaranteed entry option program. In order to qualify, you need to be an NYRR member and complete nine NYRR-scored, qualifying races and volunteer for one event during the prior calendar year. This option is most feasible for those who live in the New York tri-state area, as all of the NYRR’s races take place in the five boroughs of New York City.

The 15+ Legacy Program guarantees entry for life for those who have completed 15 New York City Marathons.

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