As long-distance running grows more popular, qualifying for prestigious marathons like the one in Boston is becoming increasingly appealing. It also gets harder every year, given how popular running marathons has become. Here’s how to check for the times and results for yourself or your friends, family or favorite runners this year.

The Boston Athletic Association, which organizes the marathon that is held every year on Patriot’s Day and this year on April 20, will post results and times on its website. You can also read recaps of the men’s and women’s races, and search for participants by name, bib number and other characteristics. The race begins with mobility-impaired participants at 8:50 a.m. EDT, followed by wheelchair racers; runners don’t take off until about 9:30 a.m, and they are released in waves. The final wave of runners takes off at 11:15 a.m., so they may not cross the finish line until late Monday afternoon.

How long it takes to run a marathon varies widely. Last year’s men’s winner, an Eritrean-born American named Meb Keflezighi, took two hours, eight minutes and 37 seconds to finish the distance of 26.2 miles. That’s an average speed of more than 12 miles per hour. The female winner, Rita Jeptoo, from Kenya, finished in two hours, 18 minutes and 57 seconds -- an average speed of about 11.3 miles per hour. Non-professional runners generally take anywhere from less than three hours to more than five hours to finish the distance.

The field for this year’s marathon has 30,000 runners. Of those, 24,000 have to qualify by running previous marathons within a certain amount of time, known as a qualifying time. The remaining 6,000 can sign up if they run for charity or somehow manage to score one of the few remaining extra places, the Wall Street Journal reported.