B.A.A. Announces 125th Boston Marathon Programming, Race Starters, Grand Marshals & $125,000 Grant Recipients

Celebrations to honor Boston Marathon history & future of running

BOSTON—With two weeks until the 125th Boston Marathon, the Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.) announced today a slate of race weekend events and programming that honor the history of the race and support running for the next generation.

“I am delighted to share the many ways we at the B.A.A. will celebrate the historic running of the 125th Boston Marathon,” said Tom Grilk, President and Chief Executive Officer of the B.A.A. “Whether it be through free children’s fitness activities or a dine-out campaign to spur economic recovery, our events throughout Boston Marathon weekend demonstrate that it is more than a race—it’s a community celebration.”

Celebrating 125 Years

More than 900 days after the last in-person Boston Marathon took place, the B.A.A. will host its first-ever Opening Celebration, which will highlight important moments from Boston Marathon history and feature a presentation of the Greek Olive Wreaths presented annually to Boston Marathon champions. The celebration will be held on Friday, October 8 at 6:00 p.m. in Copley Square.

A woman’s running pioneer who finished first three times at a point when women were not yet welcome in the Boston Marathon, Sara Mae Berman will be honored and recognized with a banner on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of her final victory—which falls on International Day of the Girl. The B.A.A. will also welcome Anna Brown-Jackson and Michael Monroe, Sr., the grandchildren of two-time Boston Marathon champion Ellison Brown, to accept a banner on behalf of their family. Brown, a member of the Narragansett tribe, took first place in 1936 and 1939. The 85th anniversary of his first historic win falls on Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

“Running and winning the Boston Marathon was something grandpa loved! He had gained another family through the Boston Athletic Association that he always talked about, one that we today are also glad to be a part of,” said Brown-Jackson. “Being an Indigenous person meant everything to grandpa because he was very competitive to begin with. If someone told him he couldn’t do something, whether it was winning the marathon or crossing through a path of land to gather shellfish for his family, he’d make sure to prove them wrong and do it!”

The Opening Celebration will also honor the legacies of notable Boston Marathon figures who were lost this year. The B.A.A. will award the first Dick & Rick Hoyt Award, which will be presented annually to someone who exhibits the spirit of Team Hoyt’s legacy. Additionally, Boston Marathon champions and members of the John Hancock Professional Athlete Team Des Linden, Meb Keflezighi, Manuela Schär, Yuki Kawauchi, Lelisa Desisa, Edna Kiplagat, and Geoffrey Kirui will help dedicate the Gloria Ratti Collection—the expansive archives compiled over decades by the B.A.A.’s late Vice President and archivist Gloria Ratti. Throughout the weekend, a mobile collection of the archives will be on view in Copley Square.

In consultation with the Boston Running Collaborative Steering Committee, the B.A.A. is awarding $125,000 to organizations working to increase access to running for communities of color. The B.A.A. is proud to recognize those organizations during the Opening Ceremony: Boston Public Schools, Black Girls Run Boston, Black Men Run, PIONEERS Run Crew, TrailblazHers, Adaptive Sports New England, Boston Lions Track Club, Boston United Track Club, MetroCobras Track Club, SoleTrain: Boston Runs Together, Youth Enrichment Services, and YMCA of Greater Boston.

Boston Marathon Weekend Programming

Copley Square will be buzzing with free, outdoor programming all weekend long at the Boston Marathon Fan Fest presented by Amazon. From community shake out runs led by Black Men Run and Black Girls Run, to kids fitness activities and panels with the top Americans racing Boston or with 2020 Olympian Abdi Abdirahman, there will be something for everyone. Fan Fest will be held Friday, October 8 until Sunday, October 10 and will coincide with the Boston Marathon Expo. Open to the public, anyone can shop the largest adidas Boston Marathon store in Boston. Masks will be required within the Expo, and only participants who have received their health and safety bracelet may enter the bib number pick up area.

Looking for something to eat before race day? Celebrate the 125th Boston Marathon while supporting restaurants across Boston with Boston Marathon Restaurant Week presented by Samuel Adams. Beginning Monday, October 4 through Sunday, October 10, select restaurants will feature marathon-inspired items to dine with friends and families, grab something to go, or carbo load for race day. This year the Mile 27 Post-Race Party presented by Samuel Adams will also be transformed into a citywide celebration. The B.A.A. and Samuel Adams invite you to toast the 125th Boston Marathon at one of the official Mile 27 Post-Race Celebration spots, located across Boston, on Monday, October 11.

Honoring the Boston Marathon’s Indigenous History

For the only time in its history, the Boston Marathon will take place on Monday, October 11—which is recognized as Indigenous Peoples’ Day in cities and towns on the marathon route. Patti Catalano Dillon, Mi’kmaq, three-time Boston Marathon runner-up, will be interviewed at Fan Fest about setting the American marathon record at Boston 40 years ago. Catalano Dillon, who is also featured in the 125th Boston Marathon Banner Program, will serve as an official starter for the Men’s and Women’s Open Races on October 11.

“It's such an honor to be asked and I'm so humbled and excited to celebrate both aspects of my identity—as a Bostonian and an Indigenous person,” said Catalano Dillon. “The Boston Marathon and the Native community both made me who I am today, and I am delighted to have an opportunity to celebrate them.”

On the five-year anniversary of the Boston Marathon Pursuit Program, the B.A.A. will donate $10,000 to WINGS of America, a national organization with a mission of strengthening Native youth and their families through running, to support youth programming. Dustin Martin, executive director of WINGS of America, will be recognized in a race weekend event. At Fan Fest, painter and muralist, Yatika Starr Fields, who will be running in support of WINGS of America on October 11, will create a piece that expresses gratitude to the history of Indigenous runners of the Boston Marathon past and present. From October 8-10 in Copley Square, Fields will engage with local artists, community members, and Indigenous runners to develop a piece inspired by Ellison Brown.

In August, the B.A.A. announced it would donate $20,000 to fund the first-ever Indigenous Peoples’ Day Celebration in Newton. The B.A.A. will also read a land acknowledgment prior to the October 11 race.

Grand Marshals & Official Race Starters

The 125th Boston Marathon Grand Marshals will be frontline workers who have been nominated by hospitals from the John Hancock Non-Profit and B.A.A. Charity Programs. The frontline workers, who will be announced over race weekend, will be accompanied by marathon champions including Meb Keflezighi, Sara Mae Berman, Bill Rodgers, and Joan Benoit Samuelson and driven the 26 miles in two Boston DUCK Boats, Back Bay Bertha and Catie Copley.

In addition to Patti Catalano Dillon starting the open races, 1968 Boston champion Amby Burfoot will start the Men’s and Women’s Wheelchair Races. Russell Hoyt, son of the late Dick Hoyt, will be the starter for the Handcycle and Duo Divisions, while Christina Welton, great granddaughter of the late George V. Brown, will keep the family tradition going by serving as a starter for the Para Athletics Division. Finally, the Boston Marathon’s first-ever rolling start will be signaled by Hopkinton Fire Chief, Bill Miller. Returning to the Boylston Street announcers’ booth for the final stretch of the race is 1983 Boston Marathon champion Greg Meyer.

Announced earlier this year, the 125th Boston Marathon will feature a rolling start and earlier start times:

Men's Wheelchair: 8:02 a.m. ET

Women's Wheelchair: 8:05 a.m. ET

Handcycles & Duos: 8:30 a.m. ET

Professional Men: 8:37 a.m. ET

Professional Women: 8:45 a.m. ET

Para Athletics Division: 8:50 a.m. ET

Rolling start begins: 9:00 a.m. ET

The B.A.A. strongly encourages everyone to “Earn A PR” by practicing personal responsibility for the 125th Boston Marathon. From participants to guests traveling with athletes to spectators cheering on the field, all are encouraged to take efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Everyone is strongly encouraged to wear a mask when they cannot socially distance, including at any outdoor events, and all will be required to wear a mask indoors. Anyone who develops any symptoms must avoid public activity except for going to get a COVID-19 test.

The 125th Boston Marathon will be broadcast live in its entirety locally on WBZ-TV (CBS Boston), nationally on NBC Sports Network, and on the NBC Sports App. Participants, volunteers, and spectators can also download the new B.A.A. Racing App to stay updated on news, leaderboards, athlete tracking, and more.

Media looking to cover the 125th Boston Marathon may submit credentials requests here.