How to Get into the 2020 NYC Marathon

Lottery for the NYC Marathon 2020

Guess what? The NYC Marathon turns 50 years old this year! The upcoming 2020 NYC Marathon will be on November 1, 2020. And to help get you started before the drawing application window closes, here is how you can participate in the 50th anniversary of the largest marathon in the world.

Read below and learn the following things about the 2020 NYC Marathon registration: 

  • How to enter through the non-guaranteed lottery drawing
  • Chances of gaining non-guaranteed entry
  • Guaranteed entry through a charity
  • Time qualification standards
  • The 15-Plus and 9+1 Programs

Also, if you haven’t already, make sure to review my route analysis of the NYC Marathon.

How to Enter the 2020 NYC Marathon Through Lottery

I have written about getting into the NYC Marathon through the marathon lottery system before, but I will sum up the particulars here for your convenience. 

The window for registering for the draft starts from January 30, 2020, through February 13, 2020. And after the application process has closed, there is a 2-week waiting period while they process a large number of applications. Afterward, on February 26th, NYRR announced those who gained entry this year.

You can click here on the TCS New York City Marathon website and follow the guidelines they have for signing up. It’s as easy as adding your name into the system, crossing your fingers, and waiting for February 26th. You provide your billing information, and if you’re chosen, you pay the entry fee. The fee itself is $255 for NYRR members, $295 for Non-Members, and $358 for Non-U.S. residents. But unfortunately, this option won’t be possible anymore since the NYC marathon lottery already happened.

Chances of Getting in Via Lottery

To get into the marathon via the lottery requires some luck. As I have stated before, there was about a 17%-18% chance to get a spot through the lottery a couple of years ago. That chance has shrunk considerably with only 10,500 runners accepted through non-guaranteed entry (the lottery) in the 2019 NYC Marathon. That was out of close to 117,000 total lottery entrants. 

This low success rate (11%-12%) is because the race is so popular and iconic. After all, it is the largest marathon in the world, and the numbers keep growing. 

With that being said, there’s nothing to lose if you do decide to try your luck with the lottery. You just never know! But if not, there’s a ton of great charities you can run and raise money for to gain guaranteed entry. 

Guaranteed Entry Through Charities

As is the case for most marathons, you can run for great charities and gain guaranteed entry to the race. One of the most common charities to run for is the Team for Kids program. You can sign up for Team for Kids now if you are not qualifying for time or any of the other guaranteed entry methods available. The other charities – there are over 400 of them – will open in the springtime 2020. 

For a whole list of all available charities – broken down into gold, silver, and bronze levels – check out the official list of NYC Marathon charities. And be sure to contact an official charity partner when you know for sure that’s the option you want.

You can also volunteer as a way to gain guaranteed entry through the NYRR 9+1 program, which I will talk about below.

How do you qualify for the New York Marathon 2020?

Although the time for qualifying is running out – the window being January 1 through December 31st, 2019 – you can qualify by running time if you finish specific races in the times given. 

Taken from the NYC Marathon time qualifiers web page, these are the following races that were open for time qualifications: 2019 Fred Lebow Half-Marathon, 2019 United Airlines NYC Half, 2019 SHAPE Women’s Half-Marathon, 2019 Popular® Brooklyn Half, 2019 NYRR Staten Island Half, 2019 TCS New York City Marathon.

As is customary, the times are broken down into age group categories. The younger your age, the faster your completion times will need to be. For men ages 18-34 you will need to complete a marathon in 2:53:00 or faster. For women of the same age, you will need to complete one in 3:13:00 or faster. Be sure to check out the full list for every age group requirement.

Another option is “Completed 15-Plus”. Runners who finish their 15th New York City Marathon are eligible for guaranteed entry in future years. The application period is open from January 30, 2020, through February 13, 2020.

Volunteering and the 9+1 Program 

The New York Road Runners (NYRR) has a program in place called the 9+1 program that grants you guaranteed entry if you volunteer for one NYRR-sponsored event before December 31, 2019, and also complete 9 qualifying races by that same cutoff time. This will mean you get a spot in the 2020 NYC Marathon. You must also be an NYRR member to qualify for the 9+1 program.

You could run any mixture of 5Ks, 10Ks, half-marathons, and the like, as long as they fall within the range of qualifying races officially recognized by the NYRR organization.

Good Luck at the Race!

If you are curious about various tips for running the NYC Marathon, please be sure to read my guide. Have fun and enjoy the experience!s