Boston Marathon 2009, BeaconThe 2011 Boston Marathon sold out in around 9 hours yesterday.

While it’s great that the sport is going so strongly, races selling out 6 months before they are even run leads to a really poor customer experience for the runners.

It’s stressful and seems odd that the people with the best chance of getting into a race are those with the best internet connections or who happen to live somewhere where the time differential is convenient to when the race opens.

In Boston’s case, they could always tighten up the qualifying standards so that fewer people can get in, but the B.A.A. has previously said that they didn’t want to do that and it will lead to a lot of upset runners that are near the bubble who could then not be allowed to run.

I discount my own approval of tightening the qualifying standards as it is unlikely that they would make them more difficult than I could run to get in.

There is at least one other option that I can think of, however, that wouldn’t solve the mad rush to register problem but would still significantly improve the end user experience:

I’m just glad I decided ahead of time not to register, so that I didn’t take somebody’s spot in the race when I’m not sure that I’d actually want to run the race in 2011. My theory is that if I feel recovered enough to run a marathon that weekend, I can register for the Gansett Marathon instead which I thought was more fun anyway.



What was your registration experience like? Was it a good experience? Or as a user, were you frustrated by the site being down or by having to enter your information multiple times?

Or were you blocked out and even being able to get into the race?

What suggestions would you give to them that we haven’t covered here? Can you think of anything that they could do to make it a better user experience for the runners? Or is the system okay the way it is?

Let me know what you think in the comments below!