The Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.) has announced that 15,972 participants—89 percent of the entrant field—from 83 countries completed the Boston Marathon Virtual Experience. Bringing the Boston Marathon to communities near and far, participants had from September 5 through September 14 to cover 26.2-miles in one continuous run within their neighborhood to earn their B.A.A. unicorn medal and be recognized as a Boston Marathon finisher.
“For ten days, the spirit of the Boston Marathon was ever-present around the world and we are in awe of how our participants rose to the challenge to bring Boston to the world,” said B.A.A. CEO Tom Grilk. “From thousands of breaktape finishes, to volunteers giving back to their communities, the Boston Marathon Virtual Experience was another memorable chapter in our race’s history.”
Two Boston Marathon Champions also finished the Boston Marathon Virtual Experience: Five-time wheelchair champion Tatyana McFadden completed her race on Monday, September 7, while reigning wheelchair champion Daniel Romanchuk finished his race on Saturday, September 12 in Central Illinois. The field of finishers includes 8,624 men and 7,348 women, who completed the marathon distance in an average finish time of 4:11:41. Among the 17,952 total entrants were 147 Para athletes including 18 wheelchair racers and six duo teams. Total finisher numbers are not inclusive of participants who have been given an extension to complete the race for reasons including poor air quality in regions of the United States and Canada affected by wildfires.
“We call this a virtual race, but this is not virtual. You watch the 15,000 people in all these countries completing a 26.2 mile marathon, breaking the tape, being met by family and friends, bottles of champagne and all sorts of stuff,” said Governor Charlie Baker during the Mile 27 Post-Race Party presented by Samuel Adams on Monday, September 14. “It’s as real as it’s ever been, and it’s a beautiful thing.”
The Boston Marathon Virtual Experience also featured #BAAGivesBack—a Virtual Volunteer Challenge that encouraged race volunteers to give back to their communities and a fundraising sweepstakes that raised funds for COVID-19 response efforts. Nearly 5,000 volunteers took part in the virtual challenge, which also included the donation of 6,000 Boston Marathon jackets to frontline workers along the course. Through the race week sweepstakes—where a $10 donation provided a chance to win a VIP Boston Marathon Experience—the B.A.A. raised more than $13,000, in addition to the organization’s $100,000 donation in April to the Boston Resiliency Fund, to support COVID-19 response efforts. Seven-time Boston Marathon finisher James “JT” Peebles of Nebraska was randomly drawn as the sweepstakes winner.
“The Marathon is one of our city’s most beloved traditions. It’s more than a race—it’s a symbol of our city’s strength and resilience. In 2020 that is more true now than ever,” said Boston Mayor Martin Walsh in a video message to participants on September 14. “The first-ever Boston Marathon Virtual Experience brought the spirit of the Marathon to neighborhoods across the globe and athletes have raised millions of dollars to support great causes. That’s what we do in Boston—we keep our head up, we support one another, and we find a way to finish the race.”
The B.A.A. has also announced the #finishSTRONG Challenge, a new three-race virtual series featuring the B.A.A. 5K, B.A.A. 10K, and B.A.A. Half Marathon. Participants in the #finishSTRONG Challenge can virtually race all three events anywhere and at any time between early October and December 31, 2020. Ten dollars of every registration fee will go directly to each race’s official fundraising partner: Special Olympics Massachusetts, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Jimmy Fund. Registration is currently open through www.baa.org.
124th Boston Marathon Virtual Experience Participant Facts
- 17,952 participants including, citizens of 97 countries and residents of all 50 states, were entered in the 124th Boston Marathon Virtual Experience
- 15,972 Boston Marathoners from all 50 states and 84 countries completed 26.2 miles and submitted their finish time for the Boston Marathon Virtual Experience
- Top Five Data:
- Top five countries: United States (11,685), Canada (1,161), United Kingdom (456), China (387), Mexico (241)
- Top five states: Massachusetts (2,336), California (1,191), Texas (750), New York (656), Pennsylvania (434)
- Top five cities: Boston (281), New York (175), Chicago (136), Beijing (115), Toronto (111)