The Boston Marathon Says Testing Will Occur, Regardless of Vaccination Status

History boston marathon qualification times
Written by Charlie

The 125th Boston Marathon will require covid testing for participants. Plus, they could require more than one test and it will apply to everyone – even those vaccinated.

The marathon world is a different place now than it was two years ago and has the big marathons in major cities gear up to welcome runners again this fall, the realities of dealing with the new health measures and protocols are reshaping the whole participation part. Here is what the Boston Marathon says about their upcoming race.

Boston Marathon Will Still Require Tests from Vaccinated Runners

Link: Boston Marathon FAQs

This year, for the first time, there are actually two separate Boston “Marathons”. We have the regular, live and in-person Boston Marathon that everyone knows and loves and we have the virtual Boston Marathon (more on that here). This week, the Boston Athletic Association put out some new details about what would be required for their 125th Boston Marathon this October.

We have already seen the Toledo Glass City Marathon require testing or vaccination certificates prior to runners being allowed to run and Boston seems to be taking this even further. Here is what they have said in their updates.

  • Participants in the in-person 2021 Boston Marathon will have the opportunity to purchase registration insurance; additional details will be shared prior to registration in April. Registration insurance will not be offered for the virtual 125th Boston Marathon.
  • Participants in the in-person race may be expected to produce up to two negative COVID-19 tests prior to Monday, October 11, regardless of vaccination status. Official entrants will receive more information in the coming months on testing timelines and requirements.
  • All participants are expected to follow federal and state travel guidelines, including any and all pre-travel testing requirements and quarantine requirements that are in place at the time of the 125th Boston Marathon.
  • The B.A.A. will continue to follow the science and all developments related to COVID-19 and will modify the event plan as necessary.

This is a somewhat surprising turn to me. I, like many others, figured that a vaccination certificate would give runners a green light to race entries around the country. But, the B.A.A. has let the door open here by saying that more information will be coming. It could just be that they want to see how the CDC is going to deal with expiration/renewal dates for the vaccine, effectiveness over time, etc.

But, double testing will be a surprise for some. My guess is it would be something like having to get tested within 72 hours of the expo and possibly a rapid test at the expo or the day before the marathon. Hopefully, by then, testing will be cheap/free or else this could be a whole other expense that runners would have to face in the marathon realm.

Another factor is whether this will turn away some runners who had already planned on running the race this year. I have already heard from many runners about their fear of either not being able to get test results in time/popping a positive (false or otherwise)/ or some other issue related to testing and then they have wasted vacation days, travel time/expense, etc. Buying insurance for the registration fee is nice but it won’t refund the other expenses that have gone to waste.

Finally, testing currently has its own challenges. In some places, you can walk right up and get tested for free. In other locations, you have to make an appointment, the tests aren’t free, and the results could take 5 days or more to come back (depending on the type of test).

For sure, eyes will be on how the B.A.A proceeds with this to determine how other marathons may handle things as well as what the procedures for marathons may look like for some time.

Do these new updates comfort you about running the Boston Marathon or would they make you less likely to participate?

Featured image courtesy of Marcio Jose Bastos Silva via Shutterstock

Some of the links on Running with Miles are affiliate links that pay a commission if a purchase is made. Running with Miles is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

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.