We’ve all heard by now that the Chicago Marathon is changing up registration. You can read all about it on the web site, but in short, there are a few options for guaranteed entry – legacy, time qualification, charity – or you can enter the lottery and hope for a spot.

I don’t think anyone who has been paying attention is surprised. Last year’s registration was a mess. Marathons are getting more and more popular. Other marathons that have already gone to a qualification system (New York, Boston) are getting harder and harder to get into. Sure, it’s sad that my local marathon is no longer a guaranteed option for anyone who wants to run it. But let’s have some perspective.

(I realize I’m preaching to the choir.)

“It’s not fair”
Had they stuck with the free-for-all option again, and let’s say the web site didn’t crash, you’d still have to be sitting at your computer right at 12 noon (or whatever time it opens) to be able to register before it sells out. How is that fair to people with jobs that don’t allow them the freedom to sit on a computer, taking care of personal business? Or people with a slow internet connection? Or, given the fact that the web site probably would crash if they went free-for-all again, it still wouldn’t be fair.

“Can’t you just get a better registration system?”
Um, apparently not? Or perhaps if they could, the price would go up even more. And then people would complain about that. Do you think programming just grows on trees? Are you a programmer? Yes? Then I have a business opportunity for you … however, I have no up-front cash. But, I do work on web sites (content, not programming, but I work with our programmer) and I can tell you that web sites crash. It happens. The only way to make them not crash? Throw more money at it. So perhaps they could have done first-come registration and the price would have been $250. Is that more fair or less fair than a lottery?

“I was planning to run with a friend and now we can’t!”
There is still a chance that you can both get in through the lottery, or you both can run for charities. OR, newsflash, there are other marathons out there! If running with your friend is the most important factor, take a trip over to marathonguide.com. Shocker – Chicago isn’t the only marathon out there! It’s not even the only fall marathon in the Chicago area.

“This is stupid/sucks/insert other negative comment here!”
Maybe get a better grasp on the English language, and develop your critical thinking abilities. I wish the internet had a “if your comment isn’t adding anything constructive, it’s not allowed” filter.

“I’m taking my money elsewhere!!!”
Good for you. I’m sure this will significantly hurt their bottom line. Oh wait, did you miss the part that demand is outweighing supply??? Maybe encouraging runners to seek out other marathons was part of the plan??

“No age grading for the time qualification isn’t fair.”
Actually, I do see the validity in this complaint, but then again, they never had age grading for the corrals (nor should they). Perhaps this is something they will adjust for 2015.

Looks like I'll be running with the ACS again!
Looks like I’ll be running with the ACS again!

What do you think? Is this so unfair of them??? Or inevitable, and the best solution to increasing demand? Are you planning to run the Chicago Marathon this year, and if so, what are your plans for getting in? Looks like the hubs and I will be charity runners this year.

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