2023 Boston Marathon Registration FAQs

The latest information on qualification and registration for the historic race, held every year on Patriots’ Day.

  • Registration for the 2023 Boston Marathon has not yet been announced by the BAA.
  • The 2022 field size was 30,000 runners, and all runners had to be fully vaccinated. As of now, the BAA has not announced any updates to these policies.
  • The 2023 race will take place on April 17. Registration will take place at baa.org.

    The Boston Marathon is unlike other marathon, which is part of its appeal. You can’t just sign up whenever you wish. Most runners need a qualifying time from another marathon, and that qualifying time has to have been run with a set date range on a certain type of course.

    As in recent years, fortune favors the fleet—for the 2021 race, which had a smaller field size to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the standards became a bit harder. However, in the wake of the pandemic, there was no cutoff time Get Expert Advice.

    The official 2022 Boston Marathon field size was announced as 30,000 runners. Officially, 24,918 of the 2022 entrants crossed the finish line. All entrants had to be fully vaccinated in order to race. If a runner was accepted but unable to provide vaccination proof, their entry would not be deferred, refunded, or transferred to a future race. Requests for a medical exemption were individually reviewed.

    The BAA has not yet announced any information about qualification and registration for the 2023 Boston Marathon. In the meantime, here is how the registration process typically goes:

    • The qualifying window opens on the September two years prior. For example, in the 2019 edition, you had to run your qualifying time after September 16, 2017.
    • From 2012 to 2019, those with the fastest times under qualifying standards—20 minutes, 10 minutes, and then five minutes under the standards—could sign up on different days over the course of two weeks. For example, the fastest runners (20 minutes under) could sign up during the first 48 hours. In 2019, the registration window opened in mid-September and closed at the end of October. This did not happen for the 2021 or 2022 races, as the pandemic canceled many qualifying opportunities.
    • Registration is not first-come, first-served. Race organizers encourage runners to take their time with the registration process and make sure they spell their names correctly and input accurate address information.

      2023 Boston Marathon Registration Questions and Answers

      Q. When is the 2023 Boston Marathon?
      A. Breastfeeding Moms Bond at Boston Marathon.

      Q. How many people can run it?
      A. In most recent editions besides 2021, the field size was around 30,000, and about 80 percent of entries were reserved for time qualifiers. The 2022 field size was 30,000 runners though 24,918 people actually finished.

      Q. for the 2022 race?
      A. Registration typically opens for time qualifiers in the second week of September for the following year’s race.

      Q. How does registration usually work?
      A. Registration usually occurs on a “rolling admission” schedule, beginning with the fastest qualifiers, and remained open until all qualifier spots had been filled. Preference was given to those who had run the fastest under their age and gender qualifying standard.

      For the last several years, some runners with a qualifying standard did not gain entry, because more than the number of qualifier spots tried to register. For the 2021 marathon, more than 9,000 time qualifiers were not accepted. For the 2019 race, runners needed to better their age and gender standard by at least 4:52.

      Until registration closes, there is no way of knowing how much faster than one’s standard it will be necessary to run to ensure gaining entry.

          Boston Marathon Qualifying Standards

          Brian Cariaga

          Runners younger than 18 aren’t allowed to register for the marathon. A runner’s age on the day of the marathon is the one that determines what age-group standard that runner must meet. The qualification window for the 2022 Boston Marathon began on Sunday, September 1, 2019 and the qualifying period will remain open until the conclusion of registration.

          Q. Is proof of vaccination required for 2023?
          A. All entrants had to be fully vaccinated to be allowed to race in 2022. If a runner was accepted but unable to provide vaccination proof, their entry will not be deferred, refunded, or transferred to a future race. Requests for a medical exemption were reviewed on an individual basis. The BAA has not yet indicated if the same policies will be required for 2023.

          Q. Is there a virtual race option for 2023?
          A virtual option for 2023 has not yet been announced.

          Q. Have those always been the qualifying standards?
          A. No. Qualifying was first introduced for the 1970 race, and the standards have changed a number of times since then.

          Q. Are net times or gun times used for qualifying standards?
          A. Net times (i.e., from when a runner crossed the start line to when the runner crossed the finish line) are used for qualifying standards.

          Q. Where can qualifying marathons be run?
          A. In the U.S., marathons must be run on a course certified by USA Track & Field. Overseas marathons must be certified by that country’s athletic federation. A searchable database of certified courses in the U.S. can be found here.

          Q. How can non-qualifiers enter the marathon?
          A. The BAA sets aside a few thousand numbers for runners affiliated with one of the marathon’s official charities. These runners do not have to run a qualifying marathon. The charities are given numbers to distribute to runners, who usually pledge to raise a substantial amount of money for the charity. Charity runners go through the charity they're running for, rather than the qualifier registration system, to sign up for the marathon. Charities open registration for their available numbers at various times during the year.

          Find the BAA’s guide here.

          Q. Are there ways to get in other than a time qualification or charity?
          A. There are, but you need to either be really fast or know somebody. Invited elites don’t necessarily have a previous marathon qualifying time (though they’ve all run impressive non-marathon distances). A certain number of entries for sponsors, the cities and towns along the course, and the media are set aside each year, along with promotional entries and other special invitations.

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