125th Boston Marathon FAQs
September 20, 2021 Update:
We understand that COVID-19 related-travel restrictions may prevent many international participants from toeing the line in Hopkinton. In recognition of this unique and extenuating circumstance, any Boston Marathon participant who resides outside of the United States can move their entry to the virtual race and be refunded for the difference.
International participants will be emailed directly and can elect to move their race to a virtual race through their Athletes' Village account. Athletes must accept this offer by Friday, September 24 at 5PM ET.
September 2, 2021 Updates:
The Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.) has announced that entrants in the 125th Boston Marathon, scheduled for Monday, October 11, will need to either provide proof of vaccination or produce a negative COVID-19 test in order to participate in the fall race. It is strongly recommended that all entrants, staff, and volunteers are vaccinated. Masks will not be required while running the 26.2-mile course, but will be enforced on participant transportation and in other areas in accordance with local guidelines.
Prior to bib number pick-up, Boston Marathon participants will be required to either produce proof of a complete vaccination series of a World Health Organization-certified vaccine or produce a negative COVID-19 test, which will be administered on site in a Boston Marathon medical tent. Vaccine verification will occur Friday, October 8 through Sunday, October 10 in coordination with the Boston Marathon Expo hours. Participants may bring an original paper copy, digital copy, photocopy, or photo of their vaccination proof.
The B.A.A. will work with a third-party testing provider for test administration and results tracking. Testing will begin no earlier than 72 hours prior to participant start times on Monday, October 11. Exact hours, locations, and additional details will be communicated directly to all participants. Tested participants will not receive immediate access to enter the Boston Marathon Expo for bib number pick-up and will be required to wait for confirmation of test results. The fastest path to pick up numbers for the 125th Boston Marathon is being fully vaccinated.
Upon successful vaccination verification or negative COVID-19 test, participants will receive a bracelet which must be worn at all times in order to access bib number pick-up areas and participant transportation areas on race day. The bracelet must also be displayed to receive a unicorn finisher’s medal on Boylston Street. Boston Marathon volunteers and officials will follow a similar process, and will receive additional information in the coming weeks. All Boston Marathon medical volunteers will be fully vaccinated. Athletes in the John Hancock Professional Athlete Field will follow enhanced health and safety procedures, including regular testing over race weekend.
May 4, 2021 Updates:
- Notice of acceptance or non-acceptance began on May 4 to all applicants for the in-person 125th Boston Marathon. Applicants for the in-person 125th Boston Marathon have begun to be notified of their acceptance or non-acceptance for the 125th Boston Marathon.
- Qualifiers who were 7 minutes, 47 seconds (7:47) or faster than the qualifying time for their age group and gender were accepted into the 125th Boston Marathon. In total, 23,824 applications were received by the Friday, April 23 registration deadline. A total of 14,609 athletes applied with a qualifying time equal to or faster than 7 minutes, 47 seconds under their respective qualifying standard or applied through the early registration period for consecutive runners. Among those accepted into the 125th Boston Marathon are athletes from 87 countries and all 50 U.S. states.
- The B.A.A. was unable to accept 9,215 qualifiers due to field size limitations.
- The qualifying window for the 2022 Boston Marathon was also announced as beginning on September 1, 2019, and will continue through the conclusion of the to-be-announced 2022 Boston Marathon registration period later this fall. Any certified marathon run on or after September 1, 2019 through the close of registration may be used to apply for the 2022 Boston Marathon. Achieving a qualifying time does not guarantee entry into the Boston Marathon.
- The 125th Boston Marathon Qualifier Acceptance announcement can be viewed here.
April 7, 2021 Updates:
- The entry fee for the in-person 125th Boston Marathon for qualifiers will remain $205.00 USD for United States residents and $255.00 USD for international residents. Invitational entries will be $370.00 USD.
- There will be an additional fee of $25.00 USD for all entrants which will support efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 including additional precautions focused on the health and safety of participants, volunteers, vendors, staff, community members, and the general public.
- To further participant safety, the B.A.A. will eliminate the staging area in Hopkinton (Athletes’ Village) where athletes traditionally mingle, stretch, hydrate, and fuel prior to the race. Athletes will instead be assigned specific start times and participate in a rolling start in Hopkinton. The rolling start procedure will be directly aligned with the bus loading times in Boston and transportation to the start.
- Participants will have the opportunity to purchase registration insurance, offered by RegShield, at the point of registration. Additional information is available on the 2021 Registration Insurance Overview page.
- Read the full press release, “B.A.A. Announces Entry Fees, Registration Insurance, and Participant Safety Updates for 125th Boston Marathon”
March 29, 2021 Updates:
- Participants in the in-person 2021 Boston Marathon will have the opportunity to purchase registration insurance; additional details will be shared prior to registration in April. Registration insurance will not be offered for the virtual 125th Boston Marathon.
- Participants in the in-person race may be expected to produce up to two negative COVID-19 tests prior to Monday, October 11, regardless of vaccination status. Official entrants will receive more information in the coming months on testing timelines and requirements.
- All participants are expected to follow federal and state travel guidelines, including any and all pre-travel testing requirements and quarantine requirements that are in place at the time of the 125th Boston Marathon.
- The B.A.A. will continue to follow the science and all developments related to COVID-19 and will modify the event plan as necessary.
March 15, 2021 Updates:
(Q) What is the field size for the 2021 Boston Marathon?
(A) The in-person 125th Boston Marathon will feature a field size of 20,000, while the virtual Boston Marathon field size will be 70,000.
(Q) Why is the field size 20,000 for the in-person race?
(A) The B.A.A. has been working in close coordination with local, city, and state partners to establish an appropriate field size that will allow for social distancing throughout the course, especially at the start and finish.
(Q) When does registration open for the in-person and virtual Boston Marathon?
(A) Registration for the in-person Boston Marathon will be open April 20-23 in Athletes’ Village. Please see below for more information.
Registration for the virtual Boston Marathon will open Tuesday, March 30 at 10:00AM ET. within Athletes’ Village. Anyone 18+ may register for the virtual event. Please note that qualified runners who apply for the in-person Boston Marathon but do not get accepted will be able to register for the virtual Boston Marathon.
(Q) I have a qualifying time. How do I register for the in-person Boston Marathon?
(A) Registration for the in-person 125th Boston Marathon will be held through the B.A.A.’s online platform, Athletes' Village. Beginning Tuesday, April 20 at 10:00AM ET, any athlete who has achieved a currently valid Boston Marathon qualifying time may submit a registration application within Athletes’ Village. Registration for the in-person 2021 Boston Marathon is not first come, first-served and applications will be accepted until 5:00PM ET on April 23.
Qualifying times will be verified and ranked by the B.A.A. based on the amount of time an athlete has run under their respective qualifying standard. Applicants will be notified of acceptance or non-acceptance once the B.A.A. has verified all qualifying times and applications. Achieving a qualifying time does not guarantee acceptance of entry into the Boston Marathon. The B.A.A. will not predict a “cut-off” time.
(Q) What if I register for the in-person but don’t get accepted. Can I run the virtual Boston Marathon?
(A) Yes. If you are a qualifier and are not accepted for the in-person 2021 Boston Marathon, you will have a chance to register for the virtual Boston Marathon. We ask that qualifiers do not submit a registration application for the virtual race until they are notified that they have not been accepted into the in-person race. Additional details will be available in the coming weeks.
(Q) What is the 2021 Boston Marathon qualifying window?
(A) The qualifying window for the 2021 Boston Marathon opened on September 15, 2018. Any valid qualifying time run on or after that date may be used to submit a Boston Marathon registration application.
(Q) Can I use the same qualifying time as I used to enter the 2020 Boston Marathon?
(A) Yes. Any Boston Marathon qualifying time that has been run on a USATF, AIMS, or foreign equivalent certified course since September 15, 2018 may be used as a qualifying time for the 125th Boston Marathon – even if you used the same qualifying time for entry into the 2020 Boston Marathon.
(Q) What has the cut-off time been in recent years?
(A) For a list of qualifying and cut-off time history, visit the Boston Marathon Qualifying history page.
(Q) What is the qualifying window for the 2022 Boston Marathon?
(A) The qualifying window for the 2022 Boston Marathon has not yet been announced.
(Q) When is the virtual Boston Marathon?
(A) The virtual Boston Marathon will be held October 8-10. Participants may run 26.2 miles anywhere and at any time during the race window to earn their unicorn medal.
(Q) What are the registration entry fees for the Boston Marathon?
(A) Additional information on entry fees for the in-person and virtual races, COVID-19 safety measures, and participant requirements will be announced in the coming weeks.
(Q) Were any 2020 Boston Marathon runners provided with the option to defer their entry to the 2021 race?
(A) No participants entered in the 2020 Boston Marathon were given the option to defer to a future year. All runners were eligible to receive a full refund for entry fees for the 2020 Boston Marathon.
Entrants who were accepted into the 2020 Boston Marathon by way of a qualifying time may use their 2020 Boston Marathon qualifying time to apply for entry into the 2021 event. The beginning of the qualifying window for the 2021 Boston Marathon has been established as September 15, 2018. Achieving and submitting a qualifying time during Boston Marathon registration does not guarantee acceptance into the Boston Marathon.
Organizations that comprised the 2020 B.A.A. Official Charity Program and 2020 John Hancock Non-Profit Program will receive invitational entries for the 2021 race. Each nonprofit organization manages its own application process, athlete selection, fundraising minimums, deadlines, and requirements.
(Q) Can I enter the Boston Marathon if I am an international runner?
(A) International participants are welcome to submit an entry application for both the in-person and virtual Boston Marathons. The B.A.A. will continue to follow, and participants are expected to follow, local, state, and national travel guidelines. Further information regarding COVID-19 safety measures and participant requirements will be announced in the coming weeks.
March 2, 2021 Updates:
(Q) Is there still going to be an in-person 2021 Boston Marathon with the announcement of a virtual race?
(A) Yes. A virtual race will be held in addition to the in-person Boston Marathon. The in-person 2021 Boston Marathon is scheduled for Monday, October 11, 2021.
(Q) Will the virtual Boston Marathon be open to anyone?
(A) For the first time in race history, anyone interested in earning a Boston Marathon finisher medal may register for the virtual Boston Marathon – no qualifying time is required. The virtual Boston Marathon will be open to the first 70,000 registrants, and athletes must be 18 years or older to enter.
(Q) What is the race window for the virtual Boston Marathon?
(A) The virtual Boston Marathon will be held October 8-10, 2021. Participants may run their 26.2 miles anytime and anywhere during the October 8-10, 2021 race window to earn their finisher medal. Additional details regarding the virtual Boston Marathon will be announced in the coming weeks.
(Q) I have a qualifying time and am hoping to run the in-person race. When should I register?
(A) Athletes who have valid Boston Marathon qualifying times (run between September 15, 2018 and the present) are encouraged to wait for the in-person registration to open (April 20-23) prior to submitting a registration application for the virtual race.
(Q) What is the field size for the 2021 Boston Marathon?
(A) Field size for the in-person Boston Marathon, scheduled to take place on Monday, October 11, will be 20,000 entrants. The B.A.A. will strive to achieve a field size composition as close to previous years as possible, with approximately 80% of the field being comprised of qualified entrants and 20% being comprised of invitational entries, including charity program runners. Details about the in-person race, including registration dates, COVID-19 safety measures, and participant requirements will be announced in the coming weeks.
(Q) Will completing the virtual Boston Marathon in 2021 count towards my consecutive finish streak?
(A) Yes. If an athlete completes either the virtual or in-person Boston Marathon in 2021, their consecutive finish streak will extend by one year. If an athlete does not complete either the in-person or virtual Boston Marathon, their streak will come to an end.
(Q) Will completing the virtual Boston Marathon count as an Abbott World Marathon Majors star?
(A) The Abbott World Marathon Majors have previously announced that any AbbottWMM race completed on a virtual platform will not count as a Star within the current Six Star Finisher program. If you have any additional questions regarding the Abbott World Marathon Majors Six Star program, please email email@example.com.
January 26, 2021 Updates
(Q) When will the 2021 Boston Marathon be held?
(A) If road races are allowed to take place as part of the Massachusetts reopening plan, the 125th Boston Marathon will be held on Monday, October 11, 2021. Additional details including field size for the in-person race, registration dates, safety measures and protocols, and participant requirements that will be in place are forthcoming. The event plan will be pending future approval from the eight cities and towns that comprise the marathon route.
(Q) Why is this date so close to other Abbott World Marathon Major races?
(A) We understand there will be many Abbott World Marathon Major races occurring in a short period of time in the fall of 2021. We have selected October 11 in coordination with the eight cities and towns that comprise the marathon route and in consultation with the B.A.A.’s COVID-19 Medical & Event Operations Advisory Group.
(Q) What is the qualifying window for the 2021 Boston Marathon?
(A) The qualifying window for the 2021 Boston Marathon opened on September 15, 2018. Any valid qualifying time run on or after that date may be used to submit a Boston Marathon registration application. Please note that achieving a qualifying time does not guarantee acceptance of entry into the Boston Marathon. Times run in virtual marathons are not eligible for Boston Marathon qualification purposes. Qualifying windows for future Boston Marathons will be announced at a later date.
(Q) How was the qualifying window determined?
(A) On May 28, 2020, the B.A.A. announced that qualifying times previously used for entry application into the 2020 Boston Marathon may be used for the 2021 Boston Marathon. The qualifying window for the 2020 Boston Marathon began on September 15, 2018; therefore, the qualifying window for the 2021 Boston Marathon also began on September 15, 2018. Any valid qualifying time run between September 15, 2018 through the opening of registration may be used to submit a registration application. Please note that achieving a qualifying time does not guarantee acceptance of entry into the Boston Marathon.
(Q) What COVID-19 precautions will be taken to ensure the safety of participants, volunteers, and community members at the Boston Marathon?
(A) The B.A.A. continues to work with local, city, state, and public health officials to determine best practices to ensure the safety of all community members. Safety measures and protocols, along with participant requirements pending local regulations and event plans, will be made available in the coming months.
(Q) Will there be a B.A.A. 5K on Boston Marathon weekend?
(A) The B.A.A. 5K will be held virtually in 2021 over Patriots' Day weekend, April 16-April 18. Registration is open now within Athletes' Village. For more information visit www.baa.org.
(Q) What is the status of other 2021 B.A.A. Races?
(A) The 2021 B.A.A. 5K will be held as a virtual race from April 16-April 18, with registration open now through Athletes' Village. Information regarding other 2021 B.A.A. events, including the B.A.A. 10K and B.A.A. Half Marathon, will be announced at a later date.