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Participant Information: Questions and Answers

Below are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about the 2015 Boston Marathon.


(Q) Can I carry items such as extra food, shoes, or clothing on B.A.A. buses from Boston to Hopkinton if they do not fit in a fanny pack?
(A) You may bring food, shoes, and/or clothing on the buses as long as the items are not carried in a bag or backpack. You will need to hold these items, or put them in the pockets of your clothing. You may wear additional layers of clothing on B.A.A. buses and in Athletes’ Village for warmth before the start of 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.

(Q) Can I carry items such as a blanket or a mat with me on B.A.A. buses to sit on in Athletes’ Village?
(A) You may bring something to sit on (i.e. blankets, mats, tarps, towels), as long as the item is not carried in a bag or backpack and can be easily carried. These items need to be discarded in Hopkinton before you start the race. If you have an item like this wrapped around you when you board a B.A.A. bus, you will be asked to open it to ensure that you are not carrying any baggage. Security at each location will have the authority to disallow other products or materials that it deems inappropriate.

(Q) Is there going to be a gear check opportunity for participants who are not planning to board the B.A.A. buses at Boston Common on race morning?
(A) Yes. Official participants must check their clothing at Boston Common on race morning between 5:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. There will not be a gear check opportunity at the Expo, in Hopkinton, or at any location other than Boston Common.

(Q) Can a friend check my clothing for me at gear check on race morning?
(A) No, official participants must check their clothing in person.

(Q) If roads are closed in Hopkinton by 7:00 a.m. on race morning, how can I get to the parking areas at South Street or Hopkinton State Park after that time?
(A) You will be allowed to go as far as South Street and Hopkinton State Park for drop-off or parking, but not further into Hopkinton once roads close at 7:00 a.m.

(Q) Can I ride on an earlier or later bus from Boston to Hopkinton other than what my assigned time says?
(A) To ensure timely arrival at the start line, we recommend that all runners board their buses at their assigned time based on the wave in which they are starting.

(Q) Can I leave the Athletes’ Village to visit friends or my charity location in Hopkinton?
(A) Yes, if you are part of a charity team and going to a designated location, you may leave the Athletes’ Village go to that location. However, please expect delays. By leaving the Athletes’ Village, you may have to walk more than a mile to be directed back into the secure start line system.



(Q) When will Boston Marathon bib, wave, and corral assignments be announced?
(A) In mid-March, the 2015 Boston Marathon field will be numbered, and bib number assignments will be posted to the entry list on our website at At that time, runners will also be able to look up their wave and corral assignments based on their bib numbers. There will be four waves of runners for the 2015 Boston Marathon.

(Q) If I cannot run, can a friend or family member pick up my bib, t-shirt and runner packet?
(A) If you are unable to participant in the race, a friend or family member can bring your signed Runner Passport to the Solutions Center at the John Hancock Sports & Fitness Expo, and we can issue a t-shirt and bag. They will NOT be able to pick up your bib number.



(Q) I received an invitational entry and was assigned to Wave 4, but my coach can vouch that I can run faster. Can you seed me in a faster wave?
(A) No. You may NOT move to an earlier Wave. For example, you may not move from Wave 4 to Wave 3, from Wave 3 to Wave 2, or from Wave 2 to Wave 1. Violators are subject to penalties and/or disqualification.

(Q) I have friends that are assigned to a wave behind me. Can I move back to a later wave?
(A) You may move from your assigned wave to a later wave. If you are assigned to Wave 1, you may move back to Wave 2, Wave 3, or Wave 4 in any corral EXCEPT the first corral in any wave. For example, you may NOT move from the last corral in Wave 2 to the first corral of Wave 3.



(Q) I’m injured and will not be able to participate in this year’s Boston Marathon. I have proof from my doctor of the injury. Can you issue a refund or a deferment?
(A) Your registration for the Boston Marathon is non-refundable, non-transferable, and you cannot defer to another year. There are no exceptions.

(Q) How do I qualify for the 2016 or 2017 Boston Marathon?
(A) The qualifying window for the 2016 Boston Marathon opened on September 13, 2014. The registration dates for the 2016 Boston Marathon have not yet been announced. The qualifying window for the 2017 Boston Marathon will be announced near the registration period for the 2016 Boston Marathon. For more information on qualifying for the Boston Marathon, please visit



(Q) Can I run with a costume or a prop in the Boston Marathon?
(A) Costumes covering the face or any non-form fitting, bulky outfits extending beyond the perimeter of the body are prohibited. Props (including sporting equipment, military and fire/gear, costume props, and signs or flags larger than 11 inches x 17 inches) are prohibited. For more information on allowable and prohibited items, please visit

(Q) What will happen to me if I am found to be an unauthorized participant - also referred to as a “bandit runner”?
(A) 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. 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.

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. The course was lengthened to 26 miles, 385 yards to conform to the Olympic standard, and the starting line was moved west from Ashland to Hopkinton. Since then, the race has started in Hopkinton every year.