Application for the 2021 Boston Marathon – What You Need to Know

2017 Boston Marathon Registration
Written by Charlie

Interested in making an application for the 2021 Boston Marathon? Here is the information you need which includes when registration will open and a look at how difficult entry may be this year.

The Boston Athletic Association put out the information that tens of thousands of runners have been waiting for – when the application window for the 2021 Boston Marathon will open as well as what to expect. Here is all that information and more.

Application for the 2021 Boston Marathon

The 2021 Boston Marathon date is currently scheduled for October 11, 2021. This will be the first fall running of the event so this alone should make it highly anticipated. New England is beautiful in the fall time so covering 26.2 miles of this should be fantastic.

Next up is the fact that the registration for the in-person 2021 Boston Marathon will open Tuesday, April 20 and run through Friday, April 23, 2021. This window is quite a bit narrower than previous years as they would open it in tiers based on the qualification time. This year, anyone who has qualified for the Boston Marathon can register during this short window. The one thing to remember is that this is not a first-come-first-serve system. It will still be processed by the runner’s qualifying time.

To register, you will need to do so through the BAA Athletes’ Village – found here. Make sure you get your account setup now so you are ready to go when the time comes!

The Qualification Times for the 2021 Boston Marathon

The qualification times for the 2021 Boston Marathon have not changed since the change a couple of years ago. But, the clearance needed to actually get in to the 2021 Boston Marathon may be even faster than last time.

Last time, for the 2020 Boston Marathon that had not happened, runners needed to have cleared the already-impressive qualification times for their age and gender by 1 minute and 39 seconds. For the 2020 Boston Marathon, there were 31,500 runners that were allowed in.

For the 2021 Boston Marathon, there will only be 20,000 entrants. This is a huge cut from the previous – about 22% of a cut. This means that the minimum clearance needed could be much greater from before when you consider the fact that the 2020 Boston Marathon never happened, this being the only fall Boston Marathon, and that many runners have been waiting for a marathon for a while.

Age GroupMenWomen

The Qualification Window for the 2021 Boston Marathon

Now, here is an interesting part. In the past, the qualification window had remained open until the registration period closed. This is no different this time but it does mean that you have a much wider qualification window now. The qualification window for the 2021 Boston Marathon is from September 15, 2018 until April 23, 2021.

Mark this as yet another reason for why getting into the 2021 Boston Marathon could be so different – this is a huge qualification window! But, it does mean that you still have some time to get a qualifying time! I will have a post this week on possible marathons that you could enter before then. The bad part is the fast Glass City Marathon will not work since it takes place two days after the registration window closes.

The Virtual Boston Marathon

As previously reported, the BAA will be running its first ever open virtual race. This will give 70,000 runners the chance to run 26.2 miles from wherever they are and earn a Boston Marathon medal (though I would guess it is going to be different from the in-person race).

Note that the BAA is telling prospective runners of the live race to NOT register for the virtual marathon when it opens up. If qualified runners do not get into the live event, they will then be given the chance to register for the virtual event. This makes me believe that they will either be blocking some of those 70,000 slots or having new ones made for qualified runners since I do not think those 70,000 slots – if made available at once – will still be around by the live registration.

Which leads us to this – the registration for the virtual running of the 125th  Boston Marathon will open Tuesday, March 30 at 10AM ET. Again, this will be done through the BAA Athletes’ Village. I would think that these slots will go very quickly, even though they are saying there are 70,000 of them. There are a lot of runners that would like to participate in a virtual Boston Marathon but never be able to qualify for the live event so these could go quickly.

The only thing that could change all that is the actual cost – which is not known at present. The cost for entry fees for the in-person and virtual races will be made known in the next couple of weeks. My guess is that the virtual Boston Marathon package will cost between $70 – $100. 

The virtual Boston Marathon will need to be run between October 8 – 10For more information, check out this FAQ for the 2021 Boston Marathon

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.