Back in the old days, as I recall, a potential runner would stand in a line at Central Park to get a number and then if his number was picked, he was entered in the marathon. Runners who stood in line as opposed to entering by mail had a pretty darn good shot of getting in. But as running all those miles became such a popular idea (the aliens who land on earth some day will puzzle over this), the marathon organizers moved everything online and it became harder to get in.
Well, now I learn there is a sure-fire way to get in. Run for a charity. If you can raise $2500 for a good cause now, you're in like Flynn. According to the New York Times, at next week's marathon:
In the field of 43,000, 7,400 will be running for charity, an increasingly viable way to get into the coveted race for those who do not beat the long lottery odds, qualify by time or live near enough to participate in 10 required races in New York.
Running for charity has been a common way to enter other major marathons for decades — especially in London, where nearly 80 percent of the field of 36,550 ran for charities in 2010, raising $81 million. It is a fairly new phenomenon, however, in New York.