AWD Divisions & Programs Eligibility


To register and compete in an AWD Division or Program reserved for athletes with disabilities, the participant must:

  • Be at least 18 years of age on race day
  • Possess a permanent physical, intellectual/adaptive, or visual disability that aligns with the eligible impairment types defined by World Para Athletics AND that impacts the individual’s ability to ambulate. (Athletes with acute injuries or temporary conditions are not eligible for AWD divisions/programs)
  • Achieve the marathon qualifying time standard for the respective division/program within the qualifying window on a certified marathon course
  • Complete and submit the online registration form during the specified registration period and agree to the Participant’s Agreement, Waiver, Release & Acknowledgement at time of registration.

B.A.A. policy requires that all participants register themselves, including athletes with disabilities. Should an athlete experience any difficulty with the online registration form, please contact B.A.A. Athlete Services for assistance at (508) 435-6905.


Eligibility for AWD Divisions & Programs of the Boston Marathon aligns with the 10 eligible impairment types defined by World Para Athletics and are listed below:

  • Impaired muscle power
  • Impaired passive range of motion
  • Limb deficiency
  • Ataxia
  • Athetosis
  • Hypertonia
  • Short stature
  • Leg length difference (7 cm. or greater)
  • Visual impairment
  • Intellectual impairment

An athlete must possess a disability or underlying condition that falls within at least one of the above listed impairment types. The disability must also be significant enough to impact the sport of running. The following are examples of eligible and non-eligible impairments and conditions for AWD Divisions & Programs of the Boston Marathon. Example lists are not exhaustive.

Examples of Eligible Impairments Examples of Non-Eligible Impairments
Ataxia Pain
Athetosis Hearing impairment
Autism Low muscle tone
Amputation (Lower limb) Hypermobility of joints
Amputation (Upper limb) Joint instability
Cerebral Palsy Impaired muscle endurance
Dysmelia Impaired motor reflex functions
Leg Length Difference (7cm. or greater) Impaired cardiovascular functions
Multiple Sclerosis Impaired respiratory functions
Muscular Dystrophy Impaired metabolic functions
Short Stature Tics and mannerisms, motor perseveration
Spinal Cord Injury Knee replacement
Spina Bifida Hip replacement
Stroke Disc fusion
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Fibromyalgia
Vision impairment (acuity of 20/200 of less or visual field < 40 degrees) Chronic fatigue syndrome
ALS Ehlers-Danlos syndrome
Parkinson’s disease Post-traumatic-stress-disorder (PTSD)
Huntington’s disease  

The B.A.A. recognizes that there are a myriad of impairments and conditions that may impact a person’s ability to run long distances beyond the eligible impairments defined by World Para Athletics.  For any individual who feels achieving his or her respective age/gender qualifying time is out of reach, the B.A.A. suggests pursuing entrance via an invitational race entry, (often achieved through the Official Boston Marathon Charity Program) available to non-qualified applicants.


Classification is the process by which athletes with eligible impairments are grouped by type of disability and level of functional limitation by sport. The purpose of classification is to (1) determine eligibility and (2) create a level playing field for competition. The WPA classification code also enables the B.A.A. to establish research-based qualifying standards by sport class that parallel the expectations of able-bodied athletes. 

For the 2019 Boston Marathon, only elite wheelchair athletes are required to hold a national or WPA classification. 

For the 2020 Boston Marathon, any athlete seeking entrance into an AWD Division must hold the appropriate U.S. or WPA classification for the respective division at time of registration. Athletes seeking entrance into an AWD Program are not required to hold a para athletics classification but must provide proof of disability or have documentation already on file with the B.A.A. Refer to AWD Divisions and Programs of the 2020 Boston Marathon for more information. 

In the U.S., visually impaired athletes may pursue national classification (T11, T12, or T13) by submitting the appropriate medical form to the USOC (see related links). Evaluation by a classification panel is not required for visually impaired athletes. There is no fee to apply for a national classification. Athletes should allow 4 weeks for a classifier to review their documentation. 

To learn more about para athletics classification, contact Bryce Boarman at

Related Links


At time of registration for the 2019 Boston Marathon, athletes who register for an AWD division or program must provide proof of disability through at least ONE of the following methods to be eligible for consideration:

  • The athlete holds a current World Para Athletics Classification with an eligible to compete status and his/her name can be verified in the WPA Master List.
  • The athlete holds a current U.S. Para Athletics Classification with an eligible to compete status (U.S. athletes only) and his/her name can be verified in the U.S. Para Athletics Master List.
  • The athlete’s disability documentation is currently on file with the B.A.A. and may be reviewed for re-eligibility.
  • The athlete may upload the appropriate disability documentation (see forms below) completed and signed by the athlete’s physician during registration to the B.A.A. Registration Office.
  • The athlete may fax the appropriate disability documentation (see below) completed and signed by the athlete’s physician to the B.A.A. Registration Office at (508) 435-6590.
  • Documentation must be received by October 28th, 2018 or the athlete’s registration may not be processed.
Disability Documentation Form: Vision Impairment


Disability Documentation Form: Physical Impairment


The B.A.A. reserves the right to request additional information from an athlete to assist with the eligibility review process as needed.