Presented By:John Hancock Logo

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) No. 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.

For more information on the transportation to the start line in Hopkinton, click the button below:

For more information on gear check, click the button below:

For more information on allowable or prohibited items for participants, click the button below:

For more information on the start line area, click the button below:



(Q) What are the hours of operation for the 2015 John Hancock Sports & Fitness Expo?
(A) Located at the John B. Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center (900 Boylston Street, Boston, MA), the John Hancock Sports & Fitness hours of operation are:

  • Friday, April 17, 2:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, April 18, 9:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
  • Sunday, April 19, 9:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.

(Q) Do I need to go to the Expo?
(A) You must visit the Expo during normal operating hours in order to pick up your runner packet; which includes your bib number, t-shirt, gear check bag, and other items. Please be prepared to show photo I.D. in order to pick up your bib number. Friends or family will not be allowed to claim your bib number for you.

(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.

For more information on the John Hancock Sports & Fitness Expo, click the button below:



(Q) What is the start times for the 2015 Boston Marathon?
(A) Below is the start timeline for the 2015 Boston Marathon:

DivisionStart timeapprox no. of entrants
Mobility Impaired 8:50 a.m. 50
Push-Rim Wheelchair 9:17 a.m. 70 + 6 Duos
Handcycles 9:22 a.m. 18
Elite Women* 9:32 a.m. 40
Elite Men & Wave One 10:00 a.m. 7,500
Wave Two 10:25 a.m. 7,500
Wave Three 10:50 a.m. 7,500
Wave Four 11:15 a.m. 7,500

(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) What can I expect along the Boston Marathon course?
(A) Besides thousands of energic fans, particpants can plan for various amenities along the race course. This includes:

  • Digital clocks, positioned at every mile and 5K mark, indicating the unofficial running time from the 10:00 a.m. start only.
  • Poland Spring Water and Lemon Lime Gatorade Endurance Formula stations beginning at Mile Two.
  • Clif Shot Energy Gel station just prior to the mile 17 fluid station.
  • Portable toilets at every water and Red Cross station, as well as at additional locations along the course.

(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.

(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.



(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 end of the registration period for the 2016 Boston Marathon.

For more information on qualifying for the Boston Marathon, click the button below:

B.A.A. Moment 3

1966 - Bobbi Gibb

Although not an official entrant, Roberta “Bobbi” Gibb became the first woman to run the Boston Marathon. Joining the starting field shortly after the gun had been fired, Gibb finished the race in 3:21:40 to place 126th overall. Gibb again claimed the “unofficial” title in 1967 and 1968.