Your post begins to get to the crux of the matter. Whether or not the BAA preset qualifying times give all sex/age groups the "same chance" depends on how one defines that idea, though. Do you mean the proportion of Boston starters from a given group is the same as all marathon finishers from that group? Or that all starters tried equally hard in order to qualify? Or that they all finished a qualifier in the same top percentile for their respective group? Or something else?
The preset qualifying times are just arbitrary numbers. They may be set with some idea about the age/sex composition of the race in mind, but they can't guarantee that composition. I personally would like to see the field filled with the fastest runners from each group as a bubble time system would guarantee. Of course you're right, it's up to the BAA to make the race whatever they want it to be.
By the way, please lighten up a bit on the idea of the race being "notorious" for allowing "'charity runners.'" The vast majority of those runners are good runners who are raising money for important causes and, as such, are to me a very important part of the race. They generally are neither runners who couldn't get in competitively and somehow bought their way in nor charity cases on their own.
The Boston Marathon is many races in one. It's a race within each of the sex/age groups, although that status is threatened by the new qualifing rules. It's also like many, many local races, a run to raise money for good causes. When I am running a marathon I kind of like knowing I'm running with people who have big hearts in more than just the physiological sense. They put my momentary, self-imposed discomfort in perspective.
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