Boston to Implement Three-Wave Start for 2011

Boston Athletic Association Improves
Logistics of

Boston Marathon with Three-Wave Start.


New, third
wave will create a more orderly start

implementation will not increase field size of 2011


HOPKINTON, Mass. ‰ÛÓ The B.A.A. will
employ a third wave for the start of the 2011 Boston Marathon, creating a more
efficient and improved running experience for participants in the
115th edition of the world’s oldest and most prestigious annual
marathon.  This year’s race will be
held on Monday, April 18: Patriots’ Day in the Commonwealth of


Working in cooperation with the Town of
Hopkinton and
the Hopkinton Marathon Committee, the B.A.A. will institute three waves of mass
participatory starters. Each wave will include approximately 9,000 official
entrants, and each wave will be identified by its background bib color in a
coordinated, patriotic color scheme: Wave One (red bibs), Wave Two (white bibs),
and Wave Three (blue bibs).


The three-wave start will not increase the field size of the 2011
Boston Marathon.


The start times for the 2011 Boston
Marathon are as follows:

Start time         
Approx. No. of Entrants             
Bib Color

Mobility Impaired participants:     9:00 a.m.         

Wheelchair Division:                  
9:17 a.m.         

9:22 a.m.         

Elite Women:                           
9:32 a.m.         

Elite Men and Wave One:          
10:00 a.m.        

Wave Two:                               
10:20 a.m.        

Wave Three:                             
10:40 a.m.        


Next month’s Boston Marathon has a field
size of approximately 27,000 official entrants, including those in the
wheelchair division, visually impaired athletes and those competing in


“The introduction of a third wave at the
start of the Boston Marathon will provide a better pre-race and starting
experience for our runners,” said Dave McGillivray, Boston Marathon Race
Director.  “We continue to study
methods to improve the race for our participants, and we are pleased to have a
partnership with the Town of Hopkinton which
allows an improved staging area and start for both the participants and the Town
of Hopkinton’s


In recent past years, the field of
runners started in approximately two, equally-sized waves.  The addition of a third wave for 2011
enables the B.A.A. to divide the field into three, smaller, equally-sized waves.
The result will be a more enjoyable race for participants, many of whom gear
their entire recreational lives around running the Boston Marathon.  Fewer runners in each wave allows for
more orderly loading and staging in the corral system pre-race, and ‰ÛÓ after the
race begins ‰ÛÓ less density not only in the early miles but also throughout the
entire 26.2-mile course.


On race day in 2011, no significant
change in the start times will occur. 
In the main, mass participatory waves, Wave One (color-coded red) will
begin at 10:00 a.m. as it has in recent years; Wave Two (color-coded white) will
begin at 10:20 a.m.; Wave Three (color-coded blue) will begin at 10:40 a.m. Last
year with two waves, the first wave started at 10:00 a.m. and the second wave
began at 10:30 a.m.


This year, the final, official runner in
Wave Three is expected to cross the starting line at approximately 10:50 a.m.
Last year, the final, official runner in Wave Two crossed the starting line at
10:47 a.m.. Official timing and scoring in the Boston Marathon is held open for
six hours after the last, official entrant crosses the starting line. Runners
are timed using the net time it takes to run the course which serves as their
official time.  The amount of time
it takes an official entrant from the starting gun until crossing the starting
line does not add to their total time.


Runners in the Boston Marathon are
seeded based on their qualifying time with the fastest runners starting closer
to the front. For the 2011 race, runners who have qualified with a time of
approximately 3:22:42 or faster will start in Wave One (red bibs) while those
who have a qualifying time of approximately 3:45:56 or faster will start in Wave
Two (white bibs). Runners with times greater than approximately 3:45:56 will
start in Wave Three (blue bibs). Exact time breaks for the three waves will be
ascertained in two weeks when bib numbering of the field


The starting procedure at the Boston
Marathon has changed three times with improvements in the past ten years to
better accommodate the field. In 2004, to better showcase the women’s elite
field, the B.A.A. implemented a separate start for the top female runners,
beginning a half hour earlier than the rest of the field. In 2006, the second
wave was added to the start, with 10,000 runners beginning at 12:00 p.m. and
10,000 beginning at 12:30 p.m. In 2007, the start was moved to 10:00 a.m.,
giving runners a better opportunity to experience optimum race day weather


Also new for next month’s Boston
Marathon, the timing and scoring device will be affixed to each official
entrant’s bib.  Beginning in 1996
and continuing until last year, runners in the Boston Marathon were required to
affix the timing and scoring device to their


About the B.A.A.:

 Established in 1887, the Boston Athletic Association
is a non-profit organization with a mission of managing athletic events and
promoting a healthy lifestyle through sports, especially running. Each year the
Association manages a comprehensive schedule of youth-running events, distance
running training programs, and large-scale races in the city of Boston. Most noteworthy is
the Boston Marathon, the world’s most prestigious and oldest
continually run marathon. Since the inaugural race in 1897, the Boston Marathon has been
the pinnacle for distance running worldwide, a position which was reinforced in
1986 with the help of principal sponsor John Hancock Financial. In 2006, the
Boston Marathon joined the Bank of
America Chicago Marathon, the BMW Berlin Marathon, the Virgin London Marathon, and the ING New York
City Marathon to form the World Marathon Majors.
For further information or
to schedule an interview, please contact:
Fleming (617-778-1627, direct office; or, 617-459-1587, mobile;

T.K. Skenderian (617-778-1632, direct
office; or 617-755-8692, mobile;

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