Marathon sellout

For months it seems many runners, whether they routinely read magazines about the sport or they write about it, have been wanting to know why certain races are selling out so quickly. Up to now, the answers to the question have been anecdotal.

The Boston Marathon’s experience last fall, when it sold out in 8 hours, isn’t the first time one of our sport’s big races has seen a mad rush for registration. More and more major races are moving up their registration dates, and in turn see a greater rush to sign up.

The Chicago Marathon is the latest. Race officials pushed up registration about a month early this year, opening registration Feb. 1. The field of 45,000 runners officially closed today, in a record 31 days, although charity runners can still find a way in. The Twin Cities Marathon also moved up its registration to early February this year, while Grandma’s Marathon previously changed its policy to allow runners to sign up earlier than ever (after not filling its field in 2009).

The news on the Chicago Marathon is a little surprising since the traditionally fast course won’t give Boston qualifying hopefuls a chance to get into the 2012 race because Boston moved it’s registration to September and will fill quickly.

The demand to run big city races, especially those that are well-done and boast a rich history, has never been greater.

Earlier this week, I had a tough choice to make. Sign up for the Chicago Marathon in case I don’t get my number drawn in the New York lottery or figure out a different race to run if NYC doesn’t happen? In years past, failing to get into New York still gave those shut out a chance to sign up for Chicago, albeit a narrow window. With Chicago’s earlier registration, that possibility unlikely.

It’s great to see the excitement and participation for our sport, which shows no signs of seeing its growth stunted.

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