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Boston Marathon

Your guide to the 2021 Boston Marathon

The Boston Marathon hasn't been run since April 2019.Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff/file

On Oct. 11, for the first time in nearly 2½ years, the Boston Marathon will be run in person.

The outbreak of COVID-19 prompted officials to cancel the 2020 race and push the 2021 marathon back to October. While the runners will be back on the course, things might look a little different than in years past.

Here are all the details about this year’s marathon.

Marathon vaccination and mask rules

Athletes will need to either provide proof of vaccination or produce a negative COVID-19 test to participate. It is strongly recommended that all entrants, staff, and volunteers get vaccinated.

Masks will not be required while running the course, but will be required on participant transportation, in medical tents along the route, and in other areas in accordance with local guidelines.


Boston Marathon date and how to watch

Date: Monday, Oct. 11

TV: WBZ, NBC Sports Network

Live streams: CBS Boston or NBC Sports app

Entry list: Have a friend or family member running the race? Search the field of runners here.

Boston Marathon start times

The race will start about an hour earlier than usual for each group. There will be no “wave” times. Instead, participants will be assigned bus-loading times that correspond to their bib number/qualifying time, ensuring that they arrive in Hopkinton and start the race with runners around the same pace as each other.

8:02 a.m.: Men’s wheelchair

8:05 a.m.: Women’s wheelchair

8:30 a.m.: Handcycles and duos

8:37 a.m.: Elite men

8:45 a.m.: Elite women

8:50 a.m.: Para athletics divisions

9 a.m.: Rolling start for all other participants

Boston Marathon route

The route follows Route 135 from Main Street in Hopkinton and goes through Ashland, Framingham, and Natick, then into Wellesley. In Wellesley, it continues on Route 16 into Newton, where it turns right onto Commonwealth Avenue (Route 30) through the Newton Hills and bearing right at the reservoir onto Chestnut Hill Avenue. The route then turns left on Beacon Street, continuing into Kenmore Square before rejoining Commonwealth Avenue into the city. The final stretch sees the route turn right onto Hereford Street and left onto Boylston Street before finishing near the Hancock Tower in Copley Square. See a map of the course here.


Boston Marathon elite fields

There will be 14 former champions in the field, with a combined 32 first-place Boston finishes, including two-time men’s winner Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia, as well as countryman Asefa Mengstu, who has the fastest personal best in the field and the 23rd-fastest marathon ever at 2:04:06.

The women’s field features nine sub-2:22:00 marathoners, including Ethiopia’s Yebrgual Melese, whose 2:19:36 personal best ranks fastest in the field. Melese will have some tough competition from fellow Ethiopian Mare Dibaba, the 2015 world champion and 2016 Olympic bronze medalist.

Winners Worknesh Degefa and Lawrence Cherono hold the trophy at the finish line in April 2019.Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff

The last time the Boston Marathon was run

The marathon was last held April 15, 2019. On the men’s side, Lawrence Cherono made his Boston debut in style, edging Desisa by two seconds to win in 2:07:57

The women’s race was not as tense. Worknesh Degefa broke from the pack 5 miles in and built her lead to two minutes at one point. She ran alone from Framingham until crossing the finish line in 2:23:31, 42 seconds ahead of second-place finisher Edna Kiplagat.

Daniel Romanchuk and Manuela Schar posted runaway victories in the push-rim wheelchair division. Romanchuk, who was 20 at the time, became the youngest men’s winner, while Switzerland’s Schar won her second women’s title in three years by more than seven minutes over five-time titlist Tatyana McFadden.


Boston Marathon by the numbers

7:47 — You have to be really fast to run this year’s marathon. Runners hoping to get in needed to be 7 minutes and 47 seconds faster than the qualifying standard for their age group. The 2020 race had a field size of 31,500 before it was canceled because of the pandemic, with 3,161 qualified runners not accepted.

20,000 — The field for this year has been capped at 20,000 for safety reasons, and the BAA was unable to include 9,215 qualifiers because of the reduction.

14,609 — There were 14,609 runners who were at least 7:47 faster than their age-group qualifying standard or achieved a qualifying time and have run between 10 and 24 consecutive Boston Marathons. The rest of the field will be made up of those running for charity/nonprofit organizations and invitational entries, including the elite runner field.

27,707 — There will be 27,707 virtual runners representing all 50 states and Washington, D.C., as well as 109 countries.

What about Boston Marathon charity runners?

There are 41 charity organizations, with 2,090 runners, participating. Over the past 32 years. more than $400 million has been raised for charity.

Other weekend events

Opening celebration: The BAA will hold its first-ever Opening Celebration to highlight important moments from Boston Marathon history on Friday, Oct. 8, at 6 p.m.. in Copley Square. Sara Mae Berman, a running pioneer who finished first three times at a time when women were not yet welcome in the race, will be honored and recognized with a banner on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of her final victory.


The celebration also will honor the legacies of notable Boston Marathon figures who were lost this year. The BAA will award the first Dick & Rick Hoyt Award, which will be presented annually to someone who exhibits the spirit of Team Hoyt’s legacy.

Former champions Des Linden, Meb Keflezighi, Manuela Schär, Yuki Kawauchi, Lelisa Desisa, Edna Kiplagat, and Geoffrey Kirui will help dedicate the Gloria Ratti Collection — the archives compiled over decades by the BAA’s late vice president and archivist Gloria Ratti. Throughout the weekend, a mobile collection of the archives will be on view in Copley Square.

Indigenous history: For the only time in its history, the Boston Marathon will take place on Oct. 11 — which is recognized as Indigenous Peoples Day in cities and towns on the route.

Patti Catalano Dillon, a three-time Boston runner-up and a member of the Mi’kmaq tribe, will be interviewed at Fan Fest Oct. 8 at 1 p.m. about setting the American marathon record at Boston 40 years ago. She also will serve as an official starter.

A ceremony will be held Oct. 8 to commemorate the 85th anniversary of Ellison Brown’s first of two marathon titles. A banner will be presented to the grandchildren of Brown, who was a member of the Narragansett tribe.


Expo: Athletic brands, companies, and other exhibitors will fill the Hynes Convention Center for three days to display, promote, discuss, and sell their products. The expo also features running seminars and presentations, guest appearances, and other activities.

Here is the complete schedule.

▪ Friday, Oct. 8, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

▪ Saturday, Oct. 9, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

▪ Sunday, Oct. 10, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Fan Fest: Check out Copley Square for fun activities, live music, photo ops, and more. The Fan Fest will be held Friday through Sunday at Copley Square Park.

▪ Friday, Oct. 8, noon to 7 p.m.

▪ Saturday, Oct. 9, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

▪ Sunday, Oct. 10, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Restaurant Week: From Oct. 4-10, select restaurants will feature marathon-inspired items. Visit baa.org for a complete list of locations.

Grand marshals and official starters

The grand marshals will be front-line workers who have been nominated by hospitals from the John Hancock Non-Profit and BAA Charity Programs. They will be accompanied by marathon champions including Meb Keflezighi, Sara Mae Berman, Bill Rodgers, and Joan Benoit Samuelson and driven the 26 miles in two Boston Duck Boats.

In addition to Catalano Dillon starting the open races, 1968 Boston champion Amby Burfoot will start the wheelchair races. Russell Hoyt, son of the late Dick Hoyt, will be the starter for the handcycle and duo divisions, while Christina Welton, great-granddaughter of the late George V. Brown, will keep the family tradition going by serving as a starter for the para athletics division.

The marathon’s first-ever rolling start will be signaled by Hopkinton fire chief Bill Miller.

Boston Marathon bib pickup

Entrants must either provide proof of vaccination or produce a negative COVID-19 test in order to pick up their bib numbers and packets. Masks must be worn in indoor public settings, including within the Marathon Expo.

Runners can begin picking up their race bibs on Friday, Oct. 8, at the Hynes Convention Center. Pick-up hours each day:

▪ Friday, Oct. 8, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

▪ Saturday, Oct. 9, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

▪ Sunday, Oct. 10, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Boston Marathon elite fields: men, women, and wheelchair

Elite Men's Open Field
Name Personal Best Country
Asefa Mengstu 2:04:06 (Dubai, 2018) Ethiopia
Lemi Berhanu 2:04:33 (Dubai, 2016) Ethiopia
Lelisa Desisa 2:04:45 (Dubai, 2013) Ethiopia
Benson Kipruto 2:05:13 (Toronto, 2019) Kenya
Wilson Chebet 2:05:27 (Rotterdam, 2011) Kenya
Filex Kiprotich 2:05:33 (Daegu, 2019) Kenya
Dejene Debela 2:05:46 (Chicago, 2019) Ethiopia
Kelkile Gezahegn 2:05:56 (Rotterdam, 2018) Ethiopia
Thomas Kiplagat 2:06:00 (Seoul, 2019) Kenya
Felix Kandie 2:06:03 (Seoul, 2017) Kenya
Paul Lonyangata 2:06:10 (Paris, 2017) Kenya
Tsedat Ayana 2:06:18 (Dubai, 2020) Ethiopia
Geoffrey Kirui 2:06:27 (Amsterdam, 2016) Kenya
Yuki Kawauchi 2:07:27 (Otsu, 2021) Japan
Abrar Osman 2:07:46 (Amsterdam, 2019) Eritrea
Jake Robertson 2:08:26 (Otsu, 2018) New Zealand
Bayelign Teshager 2:08:28 (Los Angeles, 2020) Ethiopia
Abdi Abdirahman^ 2:08:56 (Chicago, 2006) USA
Scott Fauble 2:09:09 (Boston, 2019) USA
Colin Bennie 2:09:38 (Chandler, 2020) USA
Scott Smith 2:09:46 (Chandler, 2020) USA
Stephen Scullion 2:09:49 (London, 2020) Ireland
Augustus Maiyo 2:10:47 (Atlanta, 2020) USA
Dylan Wykes 2:10:47 (Rotterdam, 2012) Canada
Parker Stinson 2:10:53 (Chicago, 2019) USA
Matt McDonald 2:11:10 (Chicago, 2019) USA
CJ Albertson 2:11:18 (Chandler, 2020) USA
Eric Gillis^ 2:11:21 (Toronto, 2014) Canada
Reid Buchanan 2:11:38 (Chandler, 2020) USA
Jonas Hampton 2:12:10 (Atlanta, 2020) USA
Tyler Pennel 2:12:34 (Atlanta, 2020) USA
Tyler Jermann 2:12:40 (Chandler, 2020) USA
Rory Linkletter 2:12:54 (Chandler, 2020) Canada
Peter Gilmore^ 2:13:13 (New York, 2006) USA
Sam Kosgei 2:13:26 (Sacramento, 2017) USA
Jarrett Leblanc 2:13:51 (Sacramento, 2018) USA
Nico Montanez 2:14:07 (Chandler, 2020) USA
Tim Young 2:14:16 (Sacramento, 2017) USA
Carlos Trujillo 2:14:21 (Chicago, 2012) Guatemala
Luke Humphrey^ 2:14:39 (San Diego, 2011) USA
Nitendra Rawat Singh 2:15:18 (Guwahati, 2016) India
Daniel Ortiz Perez 2:15:41 (Valencia, 2020) Mexico
Luis Carlos Rivero 2:15:43 (Seville, 2020) Guatemala
Thomas Toth 2:16:28 (Toronto, 2019) Canada
Pardon Ndhlovu 2:16:47 (Houston, 2019) Zimbabwe
Brian Harvey 2:17:05 (St. Paul, 2014) USA
Alex Taylor^ 2:17:08 (Duluth, 2019) USA
David Bett 2:17:30 (Rabat, 2016) Kenya
Patrick Reaves 2:17:45 (Sacramento, 2018) USA
Peter Bromka^ 2:19:04 (Sacramento, 2019) USA
Chip O’Hara^ 2:21:20 (Tempe, 2020) USA
Eric Blake^ 2:22:49 (Sacramento, 2018) USA
Blue Bendum^ 2:23:43 (Boston, 2014) USA
Jemal Yimer Debut (58:33 Half NR) Ethiopia
Leonard Barsoton Debut (59:09 Half) Kenya
Harvey Nelson Debut (1:01:48 Half) USA
Girma Mecheso Debut (1:02:16 Half) USA
Paul Hogan Debut (1:04:23 Half) USA
SOURCE: Boston Athletic Association

Edna Kiplagat captured the title in Boston in 2017. John Tlumacki
Elite Women's Open Field
Name Personal best Country
Yebrgual Melese 2:19:36 (Dubai, 2018) Ethiopia
Edna Kiplagat^ 2:19:50 (London, 2012) Kenya
Mare Dibaba 2:19:52 (Dubai, 2012) Ethiopia
Workenesh Edesa 2:20:24 (Valencia, 2019) Ethiopia
Sutume Kebede 2:20:30 (Tokyo, 2020) Ethiopia
Jordan Hasay 2:20:57 (Chicago, 2017) USA
Besu Sado 2:21:03 (Amsterdam, 2019) Ethiopia
Helah Kiprop 2:21:27 (Tokyo, 2016) Kenya
Bedatu Hirpa 2:21:32 (Frankfurt, 2018) Ethiopia
Atsede Baysa 2:22:03 (Chicago, 2012) Ethiopia
Diana Chemtai Kipyogei 2:22:06 (Istanbul, 2020) Kenya
Desiree Linden 2:22:38 (Boston, 2011) USA
Biruktayit Eshetu 2:22:40 (Toronto, 2019) Ethiopia
Tigist Abayechew 2:22:45 (Dubai, 2020) Ethiopia
Purity Changwony 2:22:46 (Ampugnano, 2021) Kenya
Caroline Rotich 2:23:22 (Chicago, 2012) Kenya
Molly Huddle 2:26:33 (London, 2019) USA
Mary Ngugi 2:27:36 (New York City, 2019) Kenya
Nell Rojas 2:28:09 (Duluth, 2019) USA
Paige Stoner 2:28:43 (Chandler, 2020) USA
Shiho Kaneshige 2:28:51 (Osaka, 2020) Japan
Dakotah Lindwurm 2:29:04 (Duluth, 2021) USA
Netsanet Gudeta 2:29:15 (Paris, 2017) Ethiopia
Kellys Arias 2:29:36 (Hamburg, 2016) NR Colombia
Julia Griffey 2:29:58 (Chandler, 2020) USA
Tish Jones 2:31:00 (London, 2019) Great Britain
Bethany Sachtleben 2:31:20 (Lima, 2019) USA
Dot McMahan^ 2:31:48 (Duluth, 2011) USA
Sydney Devore 2:32:39 (Pittsburgh, 2018) USA
Hilary Dionne 2:33:03 (Sacramento, 2018) USA
Brittany Charboneau 2:33:14 (Atlanta, 2020) USA
Dawn Grunnagle^ 2:33:14 (Berlin, 2019) USA
Susanna Sullivan 2:33:27 (Chandler, 2020) USA
Heather Lieberg^ 2:34:07 (St. Paul, 2019) USA
Caitlin Phillips 2:34:43 (Berlin, 2019) USA
Laurie Knowles^ 2:36:01 (Chicago, 2016) USA
Courtney Olson 2:36:21 (Sacramento, 2018) USA
Brittany Moran 2:36:22 (Sacramento, 2019) Canada
Marie Brumelot 2:36:23 (Chicago, 2019) France
Emma Spencer 2:37:05 (Berlin, 2018) USA
Rachel Hyland 2:37:22 (Sacramento, 2018) USA
Andrea Pomaranski 2:37:39 (Duluth, 2021) USA
AnnMarie Kirkpatrick 2:37:49 (Sacramento, 2018) USA
Gina Rouse^ 2:38:41 (Atlanta, 2020) USA
Nina Zarina 2:38:50 (Duluth, 2021) USA
Devon Yanko 2:38:55 (Houston, 2012) USA
Jordan O’Dea 2:38:57 (Lowell, 2019) USA
Christina Murphy^ 2:39:15 (Columbus, 2013) USA
Lindsay Nelson 2:39:33 (Chandler, 2020) USA
Hilary Corno^ 2:42:14 (Chicago, 2018) USA
Caroline Chepkoech Debut (1:05:07 Half) Kazakhstan
Monicah Wanjuhi Debut (1:07:29 Half) Kenya
Elaina Tabb Debut (1:10:44 Half) USA
SOURCE: Boston Athletic Association

^ denotes masters athlete (40+)

Marcel Hug (left) squeaked out a win over Ernst van Dyk (right) in 2017.John Tlumacki
Elite Men's Wheelchair Field
Name Personal best Country
Marcel Hug 1:18:04 (Boston, 2017) Switzerland
Ernst van Dyk 1:18:04 (Boston, 2017) South Africa
Josh Cassidy 1:18:25 (Boston, 2012) Canada
Hiroki Nishida 1:20:28 (Boston, 2017) Japan
Kota Hokinoue 1:20:54 (Seoul, 2013) Japan
Aaron Pike 1:20:59 (Grandma’s, 2019) USA
Daniel Romanchuk 1:21:36 (Boston, 2019) USA
Tomoki Suzuki 1:21:52 (Tokyo, 2020) Japan
James Senbeta 1:24:27 (Boston, 2017) USA
Simon Lawson 1:25:06 (Boston, 2017) Great Britain
David Weir 1:26:17 (Boston, 2016) Great Britain
Sho Watanabe 1:26:22 (Seoul, 2017) Japan
Johnboy Smith 1:29:44 (Berlin, 2017) Great Britain
Tristan Smyth 1:29:53 (Berlin, 2018) Canada
Hermin Garic 1:32:27 (Grandma’s, 2019) USA
Callum Hall 1:32:49 (Seoul, 2019) Great Britain
Christian Clemmons 1:38:08 (Grandma’s, 2019) USA
Tiaan Bosch 1:39:01 (Dubai, 2020) South Africa
SOURCE: Boston Athletic Association
Tatyana McFadden has captured five Boston Marathon titles.John Tlumacki
Elite Women's Wheelchair Field
Name Personal best Country
Manuela Schär 1:28:17 (Boston, 2017) Switzerland
Tatyana McFadden 1:31:30 (Grandma’s, 2019) USA
Jenna Fesemyer 1:37:02 (Grandma’s, 2019) USA
Shelly Woods 1:37:44 (Padova, 2008) Great Britain
Margriet van den Broek 1:38:33 (Boston, 2017) Netherlands
Arielle Rausin 1:40:51 (Grandma’s, 2019) USA
Vanessa de Souza 1:45:19 (Oita, 2018) Brazil
Michelle Wheeler 1:45:55 (Oita, 2018) USA
Yen Hoang 2:01:06 (Boston, 2019) USA
Eva Houston N/A USA
SOURCE: Boston Athletic Association
Chaz Davis, of Groton, will compete in the inaugural para athletics division. Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff
Para Athletics Divisions Top Contenders
Name Personal best Country Classification
Chaz Davis 2:31:48 USA T12 (Vision Impairment)
Misato Michishita 2:56:14 Japan T12 (Vision Impairment)
Tayana Passos 3:22:27 Brazil T13 (Vision Impairment)
Marko Cheseto Lemtukei 2:37:23 USA T62 (Lower Limb Impairment)
Adam Popp 3:17:35 USA T63 (Lower Limb Impairment)
Liz Willis 4:57:43 USA T64 (Lower Limb Impairment)
Danielle McLaughlin 3:50:50 USA T64 (Lower Limb Impairment)
SOURCE: Boston Athletic Association

Follow Andrew Mahoney @GlobeMahoney.