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Boston Marathon runners will need proof of vaccination or a negative test this year

The BAA is strongly recommending that all entrants, staff, and volunteers for the 125th Boston Marathon on Oct. 11 be vaccinated.The Boston Globe/Boston Globe

The Boston Athletic Association is implementing additional COVID-19 safety precautions for the postponed and pared-down Boston Marathon next month.

BAA officials announced Thursday that those running in the 125th race Oct. 11 must either provide proof of vaccination or produce a negative COVID-19 test.

To get a bracelet that must be worn to get access to the bib pickup areas and race-day transportation, participants will need to show a paper copy, digital copy, or photo showing that they received all required doses of a World Health Organization-certified vaccine or submit to an on-site COVID-19 test at a Boston Marathon medical tent.


Participants also must have the bracelet to receive a finisher’s medal after the race.

“The fastest path to pick up numbers for the 125th Boston Marathon is being fully vaccinated,” the BAA said.

Registered runners whose test comes back positive will not be allowed to participate and will be refunded their entry free, minus a $25 charge to cover mitigation efforts, including testing.

It’s unclear whether this will be a one-time policy; asked if it could be instituted for the 2022 race, BAA spokeswoman Kendra Butters said in an email, “Our current priority and focus is the 125th Boston Marathon in October.”

While masks will not be required during the 26.2-mile race, they will be required on all race-day buses and within the Boston Marathon Expo. Masks also will be required — and provided — in all medical tents along the route.

The BAA is encouraging participants to wear masks during race week whenever they cannot socially distance. The organization is also asking runners to only use BAA-provided course nutrition rather than accepting food or drinks from spectators, and to refrain from “kissing a stranger around the halfway mark” (as is customary at Wellesley College).


After delaying the 2021 race from Patriots’ Day until Columbus Day weekend, BAA officials announced in March that they would limit the in-person event to 20,000 runners, about a third smaller than recent Boston Marathons.

Because of the limited field size, the BAA is also organizing a 70,000-person virtual marathon that encourages participants to complete in their own neighborhoods (the vaccination or test requirement does not apply to the virtual race).