Para Athletics Divisions & Adaptive Programs Eligibility


Athletes who wish to apply for a Para Athletics Division or Adaptive Program of the Boston Marathon must:

  • Be at least 18 years of age on race day.
  • Meet the impairment eligibility criteria for the respective division or program.
  • Achieve the qualifying time standard for the respective division or program within the qualifying window on a certified marathon course
  • Complete and submit the online registration form during the 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. Should an athlete experience any difficulty with the online registration form, please contact B.A.A. Athlete Services for assistance at (508) 435-6905.



Adaptive Programs of the Boston Marathon provide a unique opportunity for athletes with eligible impairments to experience and take part in the Boston Marathon. Adaptive Programs include:

  • Adaptive Program for Runners
  • Handcycle Program
  • Duo Team Program

Eligible Impairment Types

An athlete must possess an eligible impairment that aligns with the 10 eligible impairment types recognized by World Para Athletics.

  • 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 permanent impairment that falls within at least one of the above listed impairment types. The impairment must also be significant enough to impact the athlete's ability to run or take part in the sport of running. The following are examples of eligible and non-eligible impairments and conditions for the Adaptive Program 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.

Impairment Documentation

Athletes who register for an Adaptive Program of the Boston Marathon must provide documentation of their impairment at time of registration or have documentation already on file with the B.A.A  National or WPA classification may be used in lieu of documentation but is not required for participation in Adaptive Programs. The B.A.A. Impairment Documentation Form may be downloaded and completed by a physician who is familiar with the athlete's impairment. Athletes will have the option to upload the completed and signed form or other type of documentation at time of registration. Note that the B.A.A. Impairment Documentation Form is a fillable PDF file and must be completed electronically. 

B.A.A. Impairment Documentation Form


The Para Athletics Divisions of the Boston Marathon are competitive divisions that implement the principles of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Classification Code. Athletes must hold the appropriate national or international (WPA) Para athletics classification at time of registration. The athlete's name must appear in the national or WPA Master List as verification of classification. The B.A.A. may make exceptions to eligibility, depending on the athlete's medical documentation. Para Athletics Divisions include:

  • Vision Impairment T11/T12 and T13
  • Lower Limb T61-T64
  • Upper Limb T45/T46


Classification is the process by which athletes with eligible impairments are grouped by type of impairment 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 classification code also enables the B.A.A. to establish research-based qualifying standards by sport class that parallel the expectations of non-impaired athletes.

To learn more about classification, contact

U.S. Paralympics Classification Form for Physical Impairment:

U.S. Paralympics Classification Form for Vision Impairment:

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