registration for the 2011 boston marathon opened at 9 am - and the entire field of 26,000+ runners was filled by 5:03 pm!! i registered in the early afternoon (and, based on my submission id, was #17,577) without difficulty. but the earliest runners had plenty of hassles with the process - probably a direct result of the initial crush of volume. while i thought registration would close quickly (in a matter of days) - i still can't believe the time frame was measured in just hours!
this insanity is the logical conclusion of an ever shortening registration window - last year registration closed in only two months. gone forever are the days you could register for this event as late as march. in 2008 i was closed out when registration filled in february - and i payed for my procrastinating ways. last year registration closed before the philadelphia marathon. now it closed before the nyc marathon - shortening the qualification period even more as a consequence.
whatever your thoughts on charities - the boston registration process has been hurt by its decision to set aside more than 5,000 slots for charity runners (one fifth of the field). for a race that's built its reputation on stringent qualifying standards, that single decision may inevitably change the public perception about what running boston means.