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How do you qualify for the New York marathon? What are the requirements?

The NY marathon is one of the toughest to get to run in. Qualifying by time is a way in, but not the only one. Here is a guide to other ways to qualify.

Kenyan marathon runner Eliud Kipchoge (R) in action during the 'Marathon pour Tous' event (Marathon for all) as part of the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games on the Champs Elysees in Paris, France, 31 10 October 2021.

The popular New York City Marathon is traditionally held on the first Sunday of November, and this year won't be any different with thousands of people anxiously waiting for Sunday, October 7 after a long year of training, especially after the 2020 annual marathon was canceled due to covid-19.

However, qualifying for the race is a challenge for many. Many people think the only option to enter the race is to qualify by time, but the reality is that as the time standards are tough to achieve, there are plenty of other ways people can get guaranteed participation such as drawing, 15+ legacy program or charity partnerships.

Qualifying by time

Men's qualification by time


Women's qualification by time


Ways to qualify are the same each year, but due to the cancelation of the 2020 event because of the coronavirus pandemic, the organizers have taken last year's slot resolution and extended it for the 2021 marathon. In this way, runners who qualified for the previous marathon will get the chance to compete as long as they claimed their entry during the resolution selection window in June 2021.

All the times presented must be equal or under the posted time, which varies depending on the age of entrants during the previous calendar year (January 1 running through December 31).

Runners who earned a spot in the race must have at least run a half marathon or a full one and achieved a time at least as fast as the one posted on the New York Road Runner's official website. Be aware that the time that is evaluated is the net time, not the gun time.

It could be the case that despite achieving the required times, you get placed in a drawing for slots instead, this is due to the fact that slots provided for timing are very limited. Therefore, the organizers recommend presenting times as quickly as possible, as those times are previously verified and it could take up to two weeks to get your slot.

Other ways to qualify

The good news is that qualifying by time isn’t the only way into the New York City Marathon. The New York Road Runners, the marathon’s organizer, holds its drawing every year. The application for the NYC Marathon opens in January, and you can enter the race through any of the following options depending on your circumstances.


Qualifying by drawing is one of the toughest ones as it implies it is a non-guarantee entry. However, this procedure is carried out every year to ensure geographic diversity in the race.

Charity Partnerships

There are several charities where you can help with fundraising or donate a certain amount of money--which varies depending on the charity--and you automatically get a spot in the NYC Marathon.

Check out the full list of charities available for this year’s event here.

International travel partners

One of the most common ways of entry for those who didn’t meet the time required is international travel partnership. This means that travel customers who have booked several flights or accommodation night stays at diverse hotels that participate in the program may be able to enter. If you love to travel and are willing to gain a guaranteed spot in the marathon this program could be the perfect one to go for.

15+ legacy program

The NY Marathon also rewards those who are dedicated to the sport, having participated in at least 15 NY city marathons throughout their life. Note that this is especially beneficial for New Yorkers and members from the Tri-state area as most of the marathons take place in New York City and its surroundings. The 15+ legacy program will give a spot for life to everyone who qualifies.


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