Boston Marathon Sets Its In-Person Field at 20,000

125th Boston Marathon Field Size Established As 20,000 Entrants

Registration will take place Tuesday, April 20 through Friday, April 23



BOSTON—The Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.) has announced the field size for the 125th Boston Marathon scheduled for Monday, October 11, 2021 will be 20,000 entrants. Registration for the in-person race will take place Tuesday, April 20 through Friday, April 23, 2021.



2017 BAA Boston Marathon – Boston, MA April 15-17, 2017 – Photo: KevinMorris@PhotoRun


“The B.A.A. has been working in close coordination with our 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,” said Tom Grilk, President and C.E.O. of the B.A.A. “In addition to a smaller field than in previous years, we will have significant additional protocols in place to ensure participant and public health. We are committed to making the oldest annual marathon in the world as safe as possible in October.”



Registration for the 125th Boston Marathon will be held through the B.A.A.’s online platform, Athlete’s 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 Friday, April 23.



In prior years, registration was held over the course of two weeks with the fastest qualifiers registering first. Due to the shorter timeline this year, all qualifiers may register at any point during the registration week window. The selection process will remain consistent with prior years: applications and qualifying times submitted between April 20 and April 23 will be verified and ranked by the B.A.A. 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 B.A.A. has verified all qualifying times and applications. Finishers of the in-person race will receive a special edition Unicorn medal in honor of the 125th anniversary year. 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.



Qualifying times must be achieved at USATF, AIMS, or foreign equivalent certified races; times from virtual marathons cannot be used for Boston Marathon qualifying purposes. Achieving a qualifying time does not guarantee acceptance of entry into the Boston Marathon. The B.A.A. will not predict a “cut-off” time. Registration for Para Athletics Divisions and Adaptive Programs will also follow the April 20–23 registration timeline.



Information on Para Athletics qualifying standards can be found on the B.A.A.’s website. Anyone interested in running for a member of the Boston Marathon Official Charity Program may apply to a team beginning on Tuesday, April 20. 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. In addition to the in-person road race, the B.A.A. is also holding a historic virtual Boston Marathon in celebration of the 125th running of the Boston Marathon. The virtual marathon will take place over race weekend October 8–10, and will be open to the first 70,000 registrants.



Registration for the virtual race will open on Tuesday, March 30 at 10:00AM ET through the B.A.A.’s Athletes’ Village. Applicants who are not accepted into the in-person Boston Marathon and want to run virtually will have the opportunity to register for the virtual event. 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.



ABOUT THE BOSTON ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION (B.A.A.)  Established in 1887, the Boston Athletic Association is a non-profit organization with a mission of promoting a healthy lifestyle through sports, especially running. The B.A.A. manages the Boston Marathon, and supports comprehensive charity, youth, and year-round programming. The Boston Marathon is part of the Abbott World Marathon Majors, along with international marathons in Tokyo, London, Berlin, Chicago, and New York City. Since 1986, the principal sponsor of the Boston Marathon has been John Hancock. The 125th Boston Marathon is scheduled to take place on Monday, October 11, 2021. For more information on the B.A.A., please visit

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