What is the Hardest Marathon to Get Into?

In this article, I will explore what makes specific marathons so challenging to get into and provide a comprehensive overview of the world’s most exclusive races.

What is a Hard Marathon to Get Into?

As a marathon enthusiast, I have always been intrigued by the various marathons worldwide. However, not all marathons are created equal, and some are difficult to get into.

Factors that Make a Marathon Hard to Get Into

Several factors contribute to a marathon needing to be easier to get into. One of the most significant factors is popularity.

Marathons that are well-known and have a lot of prestige, such as the Boston Marathon or the London Marathon, are often difficult to get into due to the high demand for spots. Another factor is limited capacity and the requirement for a qualifying time.

Some marathons have a limited number of participants, making it challenging to secure a spot.

Another factor that can make a marathon hard to get into is the qualification requirements.

Some marathons, such as the Boston Marathon, require runners to meet specific qualifying times to be eligible to participate. This can make it challenging for slower runners to secure a spot.

Examples of Hard Marathons to Get Into

One of the most challenging marathons to get into is the Boston Marathon.

Yet, with its strict qualifying times and limited capacity, the Boston Marathon is among the world’s most prestigious and sought-after marathons.

The London Marathon is also notoriously difficult to get into, with a limited number of spots available through the ballot system.

As a result, many runners enter the ballot year after year but have yet to succeed.

Other marathons that are difficult to get into include the Tokyo Marathon, the Berlin Marathon, and the Chicago Marathon.

These marathons are popular and have limited capacity, making it challenging to secure a spot.

Overall, many factors contribute to a marathon needing easier to get into. Whether it’s popularity, limited capacity, or strict qualification requirements, securing a spot in some of the world’s most prestigious marathons can be challenging for any runner.

Why are Some Marathons Hard to Get Into?

Limited Spots Available

I have found that some marathons are hard to get into because they have limited spots. For example, the Boston Marathon only accepts around 30,000 runners each year.

This is because the race has a cap on the number of participants due to logistical reasons, such as the course needing to be narrower for a more significant number of runners.

High Demand

Another reason some marathons are hard to get into is that they are in high demand.

Many runners want to participate in famous races like the New York City or London Marathon.

As a result, these races receive many applications each year, making it difficult to secure a spot.

Qualification Requirements

Some marathons have qualification requirements that make them hard to get into.

For example, the Boston Marathon has strict qualifying times based on age and gender. This means that runners have to achieve a specific time in a previous marathon to be eligible to apply for the Boston Marathon.

Lottery System

Lastly, some marathons use a lottery system to determine who gets to participate.

The Chicago Marathon, for example, has a lottery system where runners enter their names and are randomly selected for a spot in the race.

This means that even if a runner meets all the qualifications, there is still a chance they may not get in due to the luck of the draw.

Overall, there are several reasons why some marathons are more challenging to get into than others. Limited spots, high demand, qualification requirements, and lottery systems make some races more exclusive.

Tips for Getting into a Hard Marathon

Plan Ahead

I recommend planning if you want to get into a challenging marathon. First, check the registration dates and mark them on your calendar.

Some races fill up within hours, so ensure you’re ready to register as soon as it opens. Also, ensure you have a qualifying time or know how to get one if necessary.

Join a Charity Team

If you need help qualifying for a race or getting in through the lottery, consider joining a charity team.

Many challenging marathons have charity partners that offer guaranteed entries in exchange for fundraising. So not only will you be able to run the race, but you’ll also be supporting a good cause.

Enter a Lottery

Entering a lottery is a popular way to get into a challenging marathon. However, remember that the odds of getting selected can be low, so having a backup plan is a good idea.

Some lotteries also offer multiple entry options, such as a group or charity entry, which can increase your chances of getting in.

Qualify for the Race

If the race requires a qualifying time, train hard and meet the standards. Then, research the qualifying times and ensure you can meet them before registering for the race.

Some races also offer rolling registration, so you may have a better chance of getting in if you apply early.

Try a Less Popular Marathon

If you need help getting into a challenging marathon, try a less popular one.

Many great marathons don’t have the same level of competition for entry.

You may also find that a smaller race offers a more intimate and enjoyable experience. However, getting into a challenging marathon requires planning, dedication, and a bit of luck. Following these tips can increase your chances of getting into the race of your dreams.

Final Thoughts

After researching and analyzing the data, I have concluded that the most challenging marathon to get into is the London Marathon.

With over 457,000 applicants for the 2020 race, it is clear that the London Marathon is in high demand.

But unfortunately, the race organizers use a ballot system to select the participants, which means that even if you meet the qualifying standards, you are not guaranteed a spot.

However, it is essential to note that the other five races in the Abbott World Marathon Majors are also challenging to get into. Each race has unique requirements and a selection process, making it difficult for runners to secure a spot.

If you are determined to run one of these marathons, there are a few things you can do to increase your chances.

For example, you can qualify for the Boston Marathon by running a fast time in a qualifying race. You can also enter the lottery for multiple years to increase your selection odds.

Ultimately, persistence and dedication are the keys to getting into one of these races.

 If you are willing to put in the time and effort to train and prepare for the race, you can increase your chances of being selected and achieving your goal of running in one of the world’s most prestigious marathons.



Slightly obsessed middle aged runner.