The 2021 Boston Marathon: What You Need to Know

The 2021 Boston Marathon date is scheduled for October 11, 2021 and will have a 20,000 participant in-person field as well as a 70,000 participant virtual marathon.

In-person registration will open Tuesday, April 20 and run through Friday, April 23, 2021. This year, anyone who has qualified for the Boston Marathon can register during this short window. The one thing to remember is that this is not a first-come-first-serve system. It will still be processed by the runner’s qualifying time.

Boston Athletic Association (BAA) CEO Tom Grilk said that the organization is working to ensure that social distancing is possible “throughout the course, especially at the start and finish.”

“In addition to a smaller field than in previous years, we will have significant additional protocols in place to ensure participant and public health,” Grilk said. “We are committed to making the oldest annual marathon in the world as safe as possible in October.”

Despite the smaller field, BAA has also said that it will still set aside 20% of bibs for charity runners. Those interested in running for a member of the Boston Marathon Official Charity Program can also apply to a team beginning on April 20. According to the BAA, organizations that comprised its official charity program for last year’s race, which was canceled due to the pandemic, and the 2020 John Hancock Non-Profit Program will receive invitational entries for the 2021 race.

The BAA also announced that registration for the 70,000-person virtual race will open to anyone over the age of 18 on Tuesday, March 30, at 10 a.m. ET through its Athletes’ Village platform.

That registration process is first come, first serve. However, qualifying applicants who are not accepted into the in-person marathon will also get the opportunity to register for the virtual event at a later date.

125TH BOSTON MARATHON FAQS

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 BAA 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.

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 BAA’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 BAA 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 BAA has verified all qualifying times and applications. Achieving a qualifying time does not guarantee acceptance of entry into the Boston Marathon. The BAA 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 BAA 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.

For more information, visit www.baa.org