Want to Run the Live 2021 Boston Marathon? Here is What You Need to Know

2017 Boston Marathon Registration
Written by Charlie

More details are out now about the 2021 live Boston Marathon! Here is what hopeful participants should know about this special marathon!

The official details concerning the 2021 Boston Marathon – the live edition – have been released. With fewer places this year than before, many are eagerly looking forward to the chance to get their qualifying times in. Here is what you should know about the 2021 Live Boston Marathon.

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Details About the Live 2021 Boston Marathon

Here are the details about various aspects of the live 2021 Boston Marathon that were just released this week.

Price for the 2021 Boston Marathon

The cost is the same as the cost had been for the 2020 Boston Marathon with one exception that is being added to the entries this year. The cost for US residents is $205 with the cost for international residents is $255. Invitational entries will cost $370. All prices are in USD.

This year, the B.A.A. is adding an additional fee to the registration fee. That extra cost is $25 for all entrants and is essentially a Covid-19 fee to cover the required protocols and precautions that need to be in place.

No More Athletes’ Village

One of the popular places for Boston Marathon runners is the athletes’ village in the starting area in Hopkinton. Replacing the staging area for 2021 will be specific start times for runners. They will need to show up for their assigned time and wave. This will eliminate the large gathering of thousands of runners in the same area.

Insurance Available

For those that are unsure about their ability to actually start the Boston Marathon this year in light of all that has happened, the B.A.A. is making available insurance for runners. This is registration insurance offered by RegShield. You will need to purchase it at the time of registration.

Here is what is covered and not covered.


  • Loss of job for policy holder or their spouse;
  • Severe weather which prevents policy holder from attending race;
  • Pregnancy;
  • Serious injury or unforeseen illness occurring to the policy holder or policy holder’s family member;
  • Policy holder on active military duty;
  • Policy holder being involved in a traffic accident;
  • Mechanical breakdown of policy holder’s vehicle within 48 hours of event;
  • Fire, burglary, vandalism, or natural disaster causing policy holder’s home to be uninhabitable;
  • Additional perils which are detailed in full on the RegShield website.


  • If the B.A.A. and event organizers cancel the race due to factors outside of their control;
  • If the B.A.A. and event organizers disqualify an athlete based on our COVID-19 mitigation protocols;
  • If the athlete does not attend the event because they are concerned about the coronavirus (COVID-19), are self-isolating with or without a positive COVID-19 test, or other non-COVID-19 communicable diseases leading to quarantines or travel restrictions.
  • Please see the complete COVID-19 exclusion FAQ page at this website: RegShield COVID-19 Info.
  • The exclusions are dependent on your state or country of residence. Please refer to RegShield, for additional terms & conditions based on residence: Policy Coverage Exclusions

If this sounds familiar, it is very similar to the insurance that is available to runners of the Chicago MarathonOf note is the fact that if the Boston Marathon is canceled, you will not receive a refund. You will also not receive a refund if you skip the marathon due to concern surrounding Covid-19.

Though I understand insurance companies trying to cover themselves after the number of payouts they had to make last year due to Covid-19, I still think many runners will be disappointed that their registration fee will not be refunded should the B.A.A. cancel the race.

Who Can Enter the 2021 Live Boston Marathon?

The qualification requirements are the same as last year. But, this year, the limit will be 20,000 runners. This means that the actual clearance time to be accepted in the Boston Marathon will likely be a good deal faster than previous years. Of course, there may also be far fewer international athletes that attempt to register due to the uncertainty of border entries, etc.

The registration window will open (through the online Athlete’s Village) on Tuesday, April 20 at 10:00AM ET through Friday, April 23 at 5:00PM ET. There is no rush to enter as the selection process will be the same as previous years.

Those that are not accepted will be given the opportunity to enter the virtual Boston Marathon. That is $75 for virtual marathon participants but the medal for the virtual event will be different from the live event.

Covid-19 Protocols

As I have previously written, the B.A.A. is requiring all runners to produce up to two negative Covid-19 tests prior to the race on Monday, October 11. This is in spite of any vaccination status that the runner may have. So, plan on getting tested at least once if you sign-up for the Boston Marathon this year!

Bottom Line

The 2021 live Boston Marathon will be very different from years past, not the least of which will mean no more Athletes’ Village, only 20,000 runners, specific start times, and other things. But, those who do run it will have the opportunity to see the beautiful Boston Marathon course in full fall foliage! That should be an experience by itself!

Featured image courtesy of Marcio Jose Bastos Silva via Shutterstock

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.