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Participant Information: Questions and Answers

You have asked; we have listened.

Below are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about the 2014 Boston Marathon. 


QUESTION: 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?

ANSWER: 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.

QUESTION: Can I carry items such as a blanket or a mat with me on B.A.A. buses to sit on in Athletes’ Village? 

ANSWER: 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.

QUESTION: 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?

ANSWER: The only available gear check opportunity is at Boston Common on race morning. Official participants much 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.

QUESTION: Can a friend check my clothing for me at gear check on race morning?

ANSWER: No, official participants must check their clothing in person.

QUESTION: 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?

ANSWER: 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.

QUESTION: Can I ride on an earlier or later bus from Boston to Hopkinton other than what my assigned time says?

ANSWER: 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. For a full schedule, please visit

QUESTION: Can I leave the Athletes’ Village to visit friends or my charity location in Hopkinton?

ANSWER: 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.


QUESTION: What do I do if I have not received, or have lost, my Runner Passport®?

ANSWER: Runner Passports were sent to international mailing addresses via U.S. Postal Service First Class mail on Monday, March 24. Mailings to U.S. addresses were sent on Tuesday, March 25 via U.S. Postal Service First Class mail. If your Runner Passport was returned to the B.A.A., then we will contact you directly. If you do not receive your Runner Passport by race weekend, or if you lose it, bring your government issued photo identification to Number Pick-up at the Expo and a volunteer will print you a new one. We cannot mail replacements.

QUESTION: If I cannot run, can a friend or family member pick up my bib, t-shirt and runner packet?

ANSWER: 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. 

QUESTION: I cannot make it to Number Pick-Up by 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, April 20. How will I be able to pick up my bib number?

ANSWER: Hours for bib number pick-up will extend until 9:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, April 20. During these extended hours, you will only be able to pick up your race packet, containing your bib number. You will not be issued a participant t-shirt during these extended hours and the Expo will be closed at that time. During these extended hours, you may request that your participant t-shirt be mailed to you after the race.


QUESTION: Why am I in Wave 2 this year when I was in Wave 1 last year with the same qualifying time or a faster qualifying time?  

ANSWER: Wave cut-off times change from year to year depending on the field of participants. Your wave and corral assignment is based on your bib number. Given the heightened interest in this year’s Boston Marathon, the increased field size, and the number of qualified runners in this year’s race, you may not have received the same wave assignment as in previous years.

QUESTION: 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?

ANSWER: No, you must start in the Wave to which you have been assigned. 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.

QUESTION: I want to run with my friends, but they’re in a faster wave or corral. Can I move up?

ANSWER: 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.

QUESTION: Can I move back to a later wave?

ANSWER: 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. Due to space constraints, runners who move back to a later wave may not move into the first corral of the later wave.


QUESTION: 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?

ANSWER: Your registration for the Boston Marathon is non-refundable, non-transferable, and you cannot defer to another year. There are no exceptions.

QUESTION: How do I qualify for the 2015 or 2016 Boston Marathon?

ANSWER: The qualifying window for the 2015 Boston Marathon opened on September 14, 2013. The registration dates for the 2015 Boston Marathon have not yet been announced. The qualifying window for the 2016 Boston Marathon will be announced near the registration period for the 2015 Boston Marathon. The registration dates for the 2016 Boston Marathon have not yet been announced. For more information on qualifying for the Boston Marathon, please visit


QUESTION: Can I run with a costume or a prop in the Boston Marathon?

ANSWER: 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

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

ANSWER: 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 5

1977 - Bob Hall Becomes the First Person to Complete the Race in a Wheelchair

Shown here in 1977, Bob Hall pioneered the division when he became the first person to complete the race in a wheelchair in 1975, making good on his promise to finish in under three hours.