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Participant Information: Baggage Policy & Gear Check

Information on Baggage and Allowable Items on Race Day


The B.A.A. and public safety officials from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the eight cities and towns along the 26.2-mile course are asking official participants to comply with new security policies, including a no-bag policy. No bags will be allowed in certain areas at or near the start in Hopkinton, at or near the finish in Boston, or along the course. Bags will not be allowed on buses from Boston to Hopkinton, and bags will not be transported from Hopkinton back to Boston. At the conclusion of the race and new for 2014, the B.A.A. will provide participants with a Heatsheet® Warmth Retention Cape for warmth. (see image and description below)

Heatsheets® Warmth Retention Cape, made from Thermo-Flect® 2, a waterproof, reflective-insulation fabric, reflects radiant heat and minimizes conductive heat loss (wind chill). This innovative material is lined with a soft inner surface, providing  a lightweight, comfortable solution for hypothermia prevention. The cape is hooded for added protection from the elements and has arm holes which allows participants to be hands-free, enabling them to hold food, water and any other essential items while remaining covered and warm.


Dimensions are 18" x18" x4"
A gear check opportunity on Boston Common will be available on the morning of the Boston Marathon only, allowing official participants to have a change of clothing (shoes, pants, shirt, jacket) at the conclusion of the race. The bag to be used for this purpose will be provided at Number Pick-up by the B.A.A. and will be within your complimentary race packet.

The gear check bag is 18 inches wide, 18 inches tall, and has a 4 inch bottom. This clear, plastic bag has a drawstring enclosure and the words "Runner Gear Bag" are printed on the bag. You must use this B.A.A.-provided, clear, plastic bag for gear check. No other bags will be accepted.

The gear check area will be located at the Parkman Bandstand on the eastern side of Boston Common. (see Boston Common and bus loading map below)

Gear check tents will be color coded and will correspond to the color of the wave to which you will be assigned (red, white, blue, or yellow). Please locate the appropriate gear check tent. You will receive a gear check tag at Number Pick-up for the purpose of identifying your gear check bag.

Note that only you may check your bag; you will not be allowed to have someone check your bag for you.

Hours of Operation: Gear check bags must be checked at Boston Common between 5:30 a.m. and 9:20 a.m. on Monday, April 21. Gear may be claimed from 12:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Monday, April 21. Please note: we will not allow gear check bags to be checked on Sunday, April 20.

Unclaimed Gear Check Bags: Gear check bags that have not been claimed by 7:00 p.m. on Monday, April 21 may be claimed at the Boston Common Hotel and Conference Center at 40 Trinity Place on Tuesday, April 22 and Wednesday, April 23 between 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.

For more detailed information on the Boston Marathon bus loading procedures for official participants, click the button below:

More Information - Click Here



New for the 2014 Boston Marathon, the B.A.A. is requiring that all participants claim their own bib number at the John Hancock Sports & Fitness Expo during normal expo hours. Friends or family will not be allowed to claim bib numbers. The official bib that is assigned by the B.A.A. for the 2014 Boston Marathon must be visible at all times while participants are on/in official B.A.A. shuttle buses and other B.A.A. vehicles, entering, and in the Athletes’ Village in Hopkinton, in the start area corrals and start area, on the race course, and in the finish area in Boston. Officially issued bibs may not be altered or copied in any way and may not be transferred to another participant; any individual who violates these rules will not be allowed to participate.



In consultation with public safety officials and in order to ensure the safety of all Boston Marathon participants, spectators, and partners, the B.A.A. will enforce the following rules on race day. As always, official participants may be required to pass through security checkpoints when entering Marathon venues on race day and all items being carried are subject to inspection by the B.A.A., contracted private security personnel, venue personnel and law enforcement officers.
Allowable items for official participants: Runners may carry the following items on race day. Any such items are subject to inspection at any time.

  • Fanny pack (no larger than 5 inches x 15 inches x 5 inches) to carry food, nutritional products, medicine, identification, cell phone, home/hotel key or other similar and necessary small items (only one fanny pack per runner).
  • Standard manufactured “fuel belt” (bottles must be one liter or smaller).
  • Armband, which can carry a cellular phone or small camera.
  • The use of headphones is discouraged, but permitted. 

Please note: Additional layers of clothing may be worn on B.A.A. Shuttle Buses and in Hopkinton for warmth before the race. Clothing that will not be worn during the race must be discarded in Hopkinton and will be donated to a local charitable organization.
Prohibited items for official participants: On race day, official participants are prohibited from carrying any of the following items when entering or within any Marathon venue, including B.A.A. shuttle buses and B.A.A. vehicles, Athletes’ Village in Hopkinton, the start area corrals and start area, the race course, and the finish area in Boston:

  • Backpacks, any similar item carried over the shoulder, or handbags of any size.
  • Glass containers.
  • Any container capable of carrying more than 1 liter of liquid.
  • Strollers, including baby strollers.
  • Suitcases & rolling bags.
  • Personal hydration system products (such as CamelBak®, Thor®, etc).
  • Weight vests or any sort of vest with pockets (Note: lightweight running vests are allowable).
  • Costumes covering the face or any non-form fitting, bulky outfits extending beyond the perimeter of the body.
  • Props (including sporting equipment and military and fire/gear and signs or flags larger than 11 inches x 17 inches).
  • Any item larger than 5 inches x 15 inches x 5 inches. 

Please note: security at each location will have the authority to disallow other products or materials that it deems inappropriate.



There will be a few changes to the finish area for the Boston Marathon. The B.A.A. will offer the opportunity to exit the secure finish area at three locations prior to Arlington Street. More information on these exit areas will be forthcoming. Participants who choose NOT to check gear  at Boston Common will have the option of leaving the secure finish area early to meet with family and friends. (see image below)

(click here for large version)

The order of our finish area services has been modified. Finishers will receive:

  • Medals
  • Heatsheet® Warmth Retention Cape
  • Fluid replacement (Poland Spring Water and Gatorade)
  • Food

Official participants who decide to take advantage of the gear check opportunity on Boston Common will need to walk approximately one half mile to the gear check area to retrieve their bags.



For the safety of our participants, spectators, and partners, public safety officials and the B.A.A. strictly prohibit unofficial participation, and those in violation will be subject to interdiction. Those who are not officially registered in the Boston Marathon will not be allowed to participate. We ask official participants to discourage family and friends who are not officially registered participants from entering the course in any manner.

We are aware that many people want to participate in some way in this year’s Boston Marathon as a display of support, but we ask that those who are not official participants to refrain from entering the course for the safety of the runners and themselves. There are several other opportunities which enable a show of support for the Boston Marathon, including the B.A.A. 5K on April 19, the Boston Marathon World Run, attending the John Hancock Sports & Fitness Expo, volunteering, or spectating.

Anyone on the course for any distance who has not been assigned, or is not displaying, an officially issued bib number from the B.A.A. is subject to interdiction. The B.A.A. reserves the right to remove any person from the course who is not displaying an official bib that has been assigned by the B.A.A. Similarly, units or groups such as military ruck-marchers and cyclists, which have sometimes joined on course, will not be allowed to participate.

B.A.A. Moment 1

1920 - Ashland Start

The Boston Marathon began in Ashland, Massachusetts from 1897 through 1923 then moved to Hopkinton for the 1924 race.  Since then, the race has started in Hopkinton every year.