For the first time in three years, the Boston Marathon will return to its traditional Patriots Day date, with 30,000 runners set to toe the start line in Hopkinton for the 126th running April 18.
Just six months and one week after the last edition — with 2021′s race pushed back to October because of the pandemic — it’s the shortest turnaround between races. This year’s also will see a return to the typical field size after the race in the fall was capped at 20,000 for safety reasons.
With the marathon back to its usual time and scale, and two of the best elite fields the event has ever seen, here’s everything you need to know about the race.
2022 Boston Marathon date and how to watch
Date: Monday, April 18
TV: WBZ (Channel 4), USA Network
Streaming: CBS Boston or NBC Sports app
Entry list: Have a friend or family member running? Search the field of runners here.
Vaccination and mask rules
There will be more stringent rules than in October, with all participants required to provide proof of vaccination. In 2021, runners could enter with either proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test.
Masks will not be mandated along the route, but they are required on BAA transportation to the start line in Hopkinton.
The race is back to more typical start times and will have the usual wave starts. In 2021, runners were released on a rolling basis, based on bib numbers and qualifying times.
▪ 9:02 a.m.: Men’s wheelchair
▪ 9:05 a.m.: Women’s wheelchair
▪ 9:30 a.m.: Handcycles and duos
▪ 9:37 a.m.: Elite men
▪ 9:45 a.m.: Elite women
▪ 9:50 a.m.: Para athletics divisions
▪ 10 a.m.: Wave 1
▪ 10:25 a.m.: Wave 2
▪ 10:50 a.m.: Wave 3
▪ 11:15 a.m.: Wave 4
Runners will follow Route 135 from Main Street in Hopkinton and wind through Ashland, Framingham, and Natick, then into Wellesley. The route continues on Route 16 through Wellesley 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 includes the iconic right turn onto Hereford Street and left onto Boylston Street before finishing near the Hancock Tower in Copley Square. See a map of the course here.
The elite fields
Among the professionals taking part are 12 former champions, including the last six men’s winners. While the men’s elite field lost perhaps the greatest distance runner of all time with Kenenisa Bekele’s withdrawal, there remain eight men with personal bests under 2:05:00; the headliner is Ethiopian Birhanu Legese, the third-fastest marathoner in history with his 2:02:48 at the Berlin Marathon in 2019.
Legese’s countryman Lelisa Desisa, a two-time winner in 2013 (2:10:22) and 2015, (2:09:17), will try to make it a hat trick, while Kenya’s Benson Kipruto looks to defend his title from 2021 (2:09:51).
Scott Fauble (2:09:09), Colin Bennie (2:09:38), and Jared Ward (2:09:25) lead a strong field of American men with personal bests under 2:10:00.
The women’s field is perhaps the fastest ever, with seven entering with marks under 2:21:00, a threshold that’s been bested only once in Boston. Olympic gold medalist Peres Jepchirchir of Kenya, the fifth-fastest woman in history, will enter as the favorite, having run a personal best of 2:17:16 in the 2020 Valencia Marathon.
Molly Seidel, 27, of Brookfield, Wis., who joined Jepchirchir on the Olympic podium last summer with a surprise bronze medal, is the headliner among the Americans after her breakout 2021.
Last year’s race
We’re just six months removed from the last Boston Marathon, held on Oct. 11, 2021. After a big early surge from American CJ Anderson, who led by more than two minutes at the halfway point, the favorites reeled in the runaway leader near Boston College, and Kipruto put away the field with a huge move in the final miles to claim his first major marathon.
Diana Kipyokei made it a Kenyan sweep in 2:24:45, making a similar move through Brookline after the women’s race largely dawdled through the first 20 miles. Edna Kiplagat, 41, a former champion who will return for this year’s event, was the hardest-charging chaser but ran out of real estate.
The Kenyan sweep in the elite open fields was mirrored by a Swiss sweep in the wheelchair races. Marcel Hug made it five titles in six years (not including the virtual 2020 edition) but missed out on a $50,000 check for what surely would have been a course record if not for a late missed turn.
The women’s wheelchair division remains a Manuela Schär-Tatyana McFadden duopoly — no other woman has won here in a decade — with Schär breezing to the win in 1:35:21, nearly 15 minutes ahead of McFadden, who rolled home in second in 1:50:20 the day after winning the Chicago Marathon.
By the numbers
30,000 — For the first time in three years, the marathon is back to its usual field size, with 30,000 participants set to take part.
207 — There are 207 athletes running for at least the 20th consecutive time, including race director Dave McGillivray, who is making it 50 in a row.
24 — The 12 returning champions have won a combined 24 Boston titles, led by five-time champions Schär and Hug.
189 — Only 189 days separate this year’s race from the 2021 edition.
0 minutes, 0 seconds — For the first time since 2013, there was no cutoff time for the race, as every applicant who met the qualifying standard for their age group was accepted.
122 — Citizens of 122 countries are entered, from as nearby as Canada and as far away as Australia.
The charity runners
There are 43 charitable organizations represented by runners. Over the past 32 years, more than $400 million has been raised for charity.
2022 Boston Marathon event schedule
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.
▪ Friday, April 15, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
▪ Saturday, April 16, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
▪ Sunday, April 17, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
Check out Copley Square for appearances from Boston champions, activities, live music, photo ops, and more.
▪ Friday, April 15, 12-8 p.m.
▪ Saturday, April 16, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.
▪ Sunday, April 17, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Boston Marathon Run Pub
A new feature, this marathon-themed beer garden provides a place to relax and unwind, right by the finish line at the corner of Boylston Street and Dartmouth Street by Copley Square Park.
▪ Friday, April 15, 3-9 p.m.
▪ Saturday, April 16, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
It has been 50 years since the first official women’s division, with eight female athletes finishing that race, led by inaugural champion Nina Kuscsik in 3:10:26. Women had completed the race before — most notably Roberta Gibb in 1966 and Kathrine Switzer in 1967 — but didn’t have an official division until 1972.
In honor of the 50th anniversary, the BAA has brought together an Honorary Women’s Team. The seven members include elite marathoner Mary Ngugi, who finished third in 2021; Melissa Stockwell, a two-time Paralympian and a former US Army officer who lost her left leg in a roadside bombing in Iraq; Sarah Fuller, the first woman to play in and score in a Power 5 college football game, kicking for Vanderbilt in 2020; Schär, a three-time Boston wheelchair champion; Jocelyn Rivas, a DACA recipient who was born in El Salvador and became the youngest woman to run 100 marathons at just 24 years old; Verna Volker, the founder of Native Women Running; and Val Rogosheske, 75, one of the eight original finishers in 1972, who also will serve as a starter.
Marshals and official starters
The honorary marshals will be a pair of Massachusetts natives and recent champions in their own right: Boston Pride captains Jillian Dempsey and Mary Parker, fresh off defending their Isobel Cup title, will lead the field from Hopkinton to Boston.
Marilyn Bevans, a three-time top-10 finisher at Boston and the first African-American woman to run a sub-three-hour marathon, will start the wheelchair races. McGillivray will be the starter for the handcycles and duo participants. Amby Burfoot, the 1968 champion, will start the elite men, while Rogosheske will handle the duties for the elite women. Christina Whelton will again start the para athletics division, continuing her family’s tradition carried on since her great-grandfather, George V. Brown, started the race from 1905-37.
Runners can begin picking up their race bibs on Friday, April 15, at the Hynes Convention Center during the Marathon Expo. Pickup hours each day:
▪ Friday, April 15, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
▪ Saturday, April 16, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
▪ Sunday, April 17, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Elite fields: men, women, and wheelchair
^ denotes masters athlete (40+)
|Birhanu Legese||2:02:48 (Berlin, 2019)||Ethiopia|
|Evans Chebet||2:03:00 (Valencia, 2020)||Kenya|
|Lawrence Cherono||2:03:04 (Valencia, 2020)||Kenya|
|Sisay Lemma||2:03:36 (Berlin, 2019)||Ethiopia|
|Kinde Atanaw||2:03:51 (Valencia, 2019)||Ethiopia|
|Peres Jepchirchir||2:17:16 (Valencia, 2020)||Kenya|
|Joyciline Jepkosgei||2:17:43 (London, 2021)||Kenya|
|Degitu Azimeraw||2:17:58 (London, 2021)||Ethiopia|
|Edna Kiplagat^||2:19:50 (London, 2012)||Kenya|
|Etagegn Woldu||2:20:16 (Valencia, 2021)||Ethiopia|
|Marcel Hug||1:17:47 (Oita, 2021)||Switzerland|
|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 (Duluth, 2019)||USA|
|Manuela Schär||1:28:17 (Boston, 2017)||Switzerland|
|Susannah Scaroni||1:30:42 (Duluth, 2019)||USA|
|Madison de Rozario||1:31:11 (Tokyo, 2021)||Australia|
|Tatyana McFadden||1:31:30 (Duluth, 2019)||USA|
|Jenna Fesemyer||1:37:02 (Duluth, 2019)||USA|
|Liz Willis||4:57:43||USA||T64 (Lower Limb Impairment)|
|Jacky Hunt-Broersma||23:38 for 100 mi.||Netherlands||T64 (Lower Limb Impairment)|
|Melissa Stockwell||USA||T63 (Lower Limb Impairment)|
|Michael Roeger||2:18:53 WR||Australia||T46 (Upper Limb Impairment)|
|Chaz Davis||2:31:48 AR||USA||T12 (Vision Impairment)|
Amin Touri can be reached at email@example.com.