Are you looking to qualify for the Boston Marathon? We round up the top marathons in Canada to earn that elusive Boston qualifier (a.k.a. to run your BQ).
In order to qualify for Boston, a runner must first run a certified marathon under the B.A.A.’s strict age and gender time standards. The best way to determine the events where one is most likely to qualify is to calculate the percentage of finishers who BQ in a particular race. We took the number of known BQs and divided it by the total number of finishers to come up with a race’s BQ rate. Here’s your guide:
1. Fredericton Marathon – May, 14th, 2017
225 finishers. 69 BQs. 30.6% BQ rate.
This smallish east coast event has an impressively high BQ rate in part due to the flat out-and-back course and also given the often ideal weather and conditions.
2. Road2Hope Hamilton Marathon – Nov. 6th, 2016
776 finishers. 219 BQs. 28.2% BQ rate.
Known for its fast, downhill section that runs along the Red Hill Valley Parkway, the Hamilton Marathon also takes places late in the year increasing the odds of great running weather. Road2Hope is consistently Canada’s top BQ race and has also been in the top five overall in North America.
3. Marathon de Rimouski – Oct. 2, 2016
299 finishers. 59 BQs. 19.7% BQ rate.
Run as an out-and-back along the picturesque St. Lawrence River, the course is entirely flat as well as scenic and perfectly suited for those chasing a PB or BQ.
4. Goodlife Fitness Toronto Marathon – May 7th, 2017
1,186 finishers. 205 Boston qualifiers. 17.3% BQ rate
One of two marathon events in Toronto, Goodlife takes place in the spring and follows a fast, net downhill course. Most of the descending takes place in the first half with the second half being a flat out-and-back along the lake shore.
5. Marathon SSQ de Quebec/Quebec City Marathon – Aug. 25th, 2017
1,030 finishers. 178 Boston qualifiers. 17.3% BQ rate
The point-to-point course begins in neighbouring Levis and features a number of rolling hills and bridge crossings but is an overall net downhill course that finishes in downtown Quebec. For many, Marathon SSQ is considered a last opportunity to qualify for Boston, which opens registration in September.
6. BMO Okanagan Marathon – Oct. 9th, 2016
367 finishers. 62 BQs. 16.9% BQ rate.
Taking place in Kelowna on the Thanksgiving Day long weekend, the BMO Okanagan Marathon starts and finishes in City Park and features a flat course — only 6m separates its highest and lowest points — that runs predominantly along the shores of Lake Okanagan.
7. Mississauga Marathon – May 7th, 2017
632 finishers. 106 BQs. 16.8% BQ rate.
This net, downhill course begins outside City Hall and takes participants on a scenic tour through a university campus, cozy neighbourhoods and along the trails and parks that adorn the Lake Ontario shoreline.
8. Goodlife Fitness Victoria Marathon – Oct. 9, 2016
1095 finishers. 182 BQs. 16.6% BQ rate.
The historic Victoria Marathon runs along an out-and-back course that features rolling hills but spectacular, oceanfront scenery while touring the city’s downtown, Fairfeld, Oak Bay, Uplands and James Bay neighbourhoods.
9. Servus Edmonton Marathon – Aug. 20th, 2017
656 finishers. 101 BQs. 15.3% BQ rate.
Courses take participants on a route which follows the North Saskatchewan River affording constant city and river views while also touring its many bordering parks and scenic neighborhoods. Participants are sure to enjoy the thrill of running down Jasper Avenue among the cheering crowds.
10. Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon – May 29th, 2016
4,181 finishers. 631 BQs. 15.1% BQ rate.
This is Canada’s largest marathon event and not surprisingly, the one that produces the most overall BQs. Extreme heat caused the overall BQ rate to decrease in 2016 but is expected to return to normal (17-20 per cent) in 2017. The course is a large and mostly flat loop that features an abundance of notable landmarks and showcases the best the nation’s capital has to offer.
Note: This list is based on data available on marathonguide.com and may contain errors and omissions. The list will be occasionally be updated throughout the year as new information becomes available.