The Boston Marathon Reveals Covid Protocols for All Participants – Testing, Vaccines, and More

2017 Boston Marathon Registration
Written by Charlie

The 125th Boston Marathon has put out their Covid protocols and they are different from those first announced back in the spring – good news for many.

Back in the spring, before registration opened for the in-person 125th Boston Marathon, it was announced that all runners would have to be tested – up to two times – before being able to run in the marathon. This was said that it would apply to everyone, no matter their vaccinated status. Now, we have the final Boston Marathon covid protocols, and it is good news on the subject of testing.

The 125th Boston Marathon Covid Protocols

Admittedly, back in March and April, it was in the early days of the availability of the Covid-19 vaccines. This was when the BAA announced that everyone would need to be tested up to twice, regardless of vaccination status.

But, as of this month, the BAA has put out their final word on Covid protocols for those participating in the 125th Boston Marathon and they changed their earlier stance. Here is what will be required for anyone seeking to participate in the Boston Marathon this year:

  • Proof of vaccination (meaning proof of having completed whatever is required by a WHO-certified vaccine)
  • Negative Covid-19 test

The good thing about the Covid-19 test is that these will actually be administered on site. These tests will not cost any runners extra (as they have already paid an extra $25 fee for Covid efforts at the time of registration) and will be carried out in a Boston Marathon medical tent from October 8-10 during Boston Marathon expo hours.

The exact hours and locations for these tests (which will begin nor earlier than 72 hours before the participant start times) will be announced as the time gets closer to the race. Those who are to be tested will not be able to enter the Boston Marathon Expo and receive their bib and packet until the test results come back. These tests should have results quickly as they are undoubtedly using rapid antigen testing (as opposed to PCR which takes much longer and costs quite a bit more).

Once a runner has passed the test or showed their vaccination certificate, they will receive a bracelet. This bracelet must be worn at all times, even on race day up until they receive a medal at the end.

What Happens if a Runner Tests Positive?

The BAA says that if a runner tests positive, they will receive a refund of their race fee. They will not receive a deferment until next year but they will also not have this missed race count in any finish streak they may have active.

Of course, if a runner tests positive, that means those results will be sent to the runner’s hometown health department and the runner would be unable to board an airplane and would be required to self-isolate. So, if you are headed to Boston and not vaccinated, you may want to consider getting a test before leaving your home, just to make sure you aren’t positive before you make it all the way to Boston!

Mask Use for the Boston Marathon

The headline part for this section is that runners will not be required to wear a mask during the Boston Marathon. They will have masks at the finish line for anyone that chooses to put one on.

Mask use will be required in all medical tents, at the Expo, and on the buses that carry the runners to the starting line.

Bottom Line

This Boston Marathon will be different from everyone before it for a few reasons – the Covid protocols certainly is one way but this will be the first Boston Marathon in two years so there is a lot of excitement going into it as well as it being the first fall Boston Marathon.

For all of those runners participating in the live Boston Marathon this year, any measures that are put in place that may change things from the normal Boston Marathon experience will likely not stand in the way for the excitement of running Boston yet again! Have a great time!

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.

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