Everything You Need to Know About the 2023 Boston Marathon (2023)

The Boston Marathon is one of the most popular marathons in the world and for most runners an absolute dream race to participate one day. Getting into the Boston Marathon is hard.

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When is the 2023 Boston Marathon?

Can anyone run in the Boston Marathon? Qualifying Times for The Boston Marathon

(Video) How to Qualify For the 2023 Boston Marathon

Boston Marathon Registration Through Lottery, Charity?

Can You Defer the Boston Marathon Entry?

How much does it cost to enter the Boston Marathon?

Boston Marathon Course Details

Spectating the Boston Marathon and Tracking the Runners

The window for qualifying and registering at the third-largest marathon in the U.S. has already closed, but that shouldn’t stop you from preparing for the next one! If you need any information on the race itself, this is the guide to turn to.

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First, a little background on the history of the Boston Marathon itself.

  • The race started because John Graham, the first U.S. Olympic manager, was inspired by what he witnessed at the Olympic games in 1896. A year later he formed the Boston Marathon (then only 24.5 miles long).
  • Bostonians hold the race on Patriot’s Day every year to commemorate the start of the Revolutionary War.
  • The first-ever winner was John J. McDermott, who ran the 24.5 miles (the old distance) in 2:55:10.

Obviously, a lot has changed since then, though. And with the many moving parts of a modern marathon-the registration, Boston Marathon qualifying times, marathon training, location, lodging, fees, prizes, and competition- there’s a lot to consider before running the Boston Marathon. That’s where this guide comes in. Read along for everything you need to know about the Boston Marathon.

When is the 2023 Boston Marathon?

The 127th Boston Marathon, is scheduled to take place on Monday, April 17, 2023, on the traditional Patriots’ Day date.

There’s also a countdown timer on the Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.) homepage if you want an exact time (down to the second!). OK, so you know the date of the race now. What about the start time of your particular wave? And if you’re an elite runner, know that you’ll typically be the first to run the race. Last year the starting times for the marathon were as follows:

Women’s Push Rim Wheelchair: 9:04 a.m.
Handcycles and Duos: 9:25 a.m.
Elite Women: 9:32 a.m.
Elite Men: 10 a.m.
Wave One: 10:02 a.m.
Wave Two: 10:25 a.m.
Wave Three: 10:50 a.m.
Wave Four: 11:15 a.m.
Men’s Push Rim Wheelchair: 9:02 a.m.

So, depending on your wave, be sure to know your exact time!

Can anyone run in the Boston Marathon? Qualifying Times for The Boston Marathon

Even though the window to qualify for the Boston Marathon has closed, you can still get a jump start on what to expect next year. So in case you’re wondering if anyone can run in the Boston Marathon, here’s what to expect:

The B.A.A. recently shaved off 5:00 minutes of the qualifying times due to the sheer number of applicants for the race itself. This means that males (aged 18-34) had to finish a marathon under 3:00:00, and women (18-34) were required 3:30:00 or less.

According to the qualifying times page on their website, there were 27,288 total applicants for the 2020 Boston Marathon. About 3,100 of those applicants didn’t qualify because of space limitations in the race itself.

Boston Marathon Registration Through Lottery, Charity?

There is no lottery (ballot entry) for the Boston Marathon. Because of the number of applicants and time qualifiers, there is no additional space. Not all of those who qualify for the Boston Marathon get in and the B.A.A. has to leave room for those who are running for charity.

This means that if you don’t qualify based on time (or are not confident that you will), you can always try through a charity. If you are a part of the Official Charity Program, the B.A.A. will waive your qualifying time requirement. Often you will receive an invitation from the organization itself with the option to run for the many (there’s a ton) great charities on the bill.

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If you do participate in a sponsored charity, they require you to raise a minimum $5,000 for your charity of choice. This ensures that a lot of money is being raised. In 2018, they raised a whopping $36.6 million for charity!

Can You Defer the Boston Marathon Entry?

Because of the high volume of applicants and because most qualify based on officially recognized marathon times (3-3 ½ hours or less) the B.A.A. does not offer deferrals. So you better be ready on Boston Marathon day.

Additional information on deferrals, registering, qualifying, and everything in between can be found on the B.A.A. FAQ page.
“Bandit Runners” AKA Running the Course Without a Number The B.A.A. strongly discourages you from running the marathon without a bib, as some are apt to do.

The most important reason for this discouragement is that the hydration and gel stations are stocked with a specific number of people in mind. Overloading the course as a “bandit” can put other people at risk.

“Banditing” the marathon used to be much more popular. Early on, it actually drew a lot of respect from many people. But it was banned in 2014, and the Boston Athletic Association still frowns upon it.

How much does it cost to enter the Boston Marathon?

Runners from the United States will need to pay $180, while international runners will need to pay $240 to register for the Boston Marathon. That said, it’s a pretty normal fee for a major international marathon. Friends of mine who ran it told me that the Boston Marathon fee is worth every penny.

Boston Marathon Course Details

Overall, the marathon starts on the main street of Hopkinton and ends in Copley Square next to the Boston Public Library. There are multiple fluid stations that are set up along the course and several energy gel stations during the marathon.

When talking about the difficulty of the course itself, there is a notorious section of the race at mile 20 called “Heartbreak Hill”. But according to many racers, “Cemetery Mile”, or the downhill portion of “Heartbreak Hill” is even more difficult because the decline really taxes the quadriceps.

For an in-depth look at the course itself, be sure to check out my course strategy on the marathon. And for the official course map of the Boston Marathon, check out the B.A.A. website, it’s a great resource to use!

Spectating the Boston Marathon and Tracking the Runners

Maybe you want to spectate the race itself and plan to beat the crowd to get a good spot. There are so many great locations along the marathon route that you can observe. And be sure to cheer loud to help energize the runners.
If you have loved ones running the race, or just have a favorite runner you would like to see cross the finish line, you generally need to know where they are on the course. Fortunately, there are many apps for tracking runners.

For text alerts: you can visit the B.A.A. website and sign up for AT&T Athlete Alerts. They will alert you when a particular athlete has crossed markers from the 10k point to the finish line.

(Video) Boston 2023 | Marathon Training | Week 1 Summary

For website updates: all you need to do is find the bib number of the athlete you are tracking and then type it in here.

Last Updated on 16. January 2023 by Sabrina Wieser

Sabrina Wieser

USATF L3 Run Coach

(Video) 1st Boston Marathon - Important things to know

Sabrina Wieser is a running expert based in New York City and the founder of Runningbrina - She is a USATF Level 3 and IAAF Level 5 Endurance Certified Coach and experienced marathon runner. She completed over 35 long-distance races and helped over 200 clients to cross their personal finish line. Her expertise in enhancing running performance through training and nutrition has been recognized by many within the running community and different media outlets such as Huffington Post, the Dr Oz Show and adidas running.


What is the cut off for the Boston Marathon 2023? ›

The Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.) announced on September 21 that there is no cutoff time for the 2023 race. Applicants who ran a verified qualifying time for their age group and gender during the qualifying period will be accepted into the race, which will be held on April 17, 2023.

How much is the entry fee for the 2023 Boston Marathon? ›

4) What does it cost to enter the 2023 Boston Marathon? The entry fee for runners accepted for the 2023 race is $225 for U.S. residents and $235 for international residents. (For the 2022 race, the cost was $205 for U.S. runners and $255 for international runners.)

How many runners in Boston Marathon 2023? ›

The field of 2023 qualifiers is made up of 13,315 men, 9,930 women, and 22 non-binary athletes. 624 athletes who have finished at least 10 consecutive Boston Marathons had already been accepted into the field. The 127th Boston Marathon will feature a field size of 30,000 participants.

Is the Boston Marathon hard to qualify for? ›

Qualifying for the Boston Marathon isn't easy for most runners, and can take several years of training and trying at other marathons. They also change every so often based on the number of runners meeting the Boston Marathon qualifying times, the field size, and the number of applicants.

Do you have to run 20 miles before a marathon? ›

“In most cases, there is no benefit to running more than 20 miles before race day, and there can be significant risks of overuse issues or injury.” That said, you don't want to run less than 16 miles or less than 3 hours, whichever comes first.

What is the hardest part of the Boston Marathon? ›

The most difficult part is running over Route 128, running over 95. That's tough, because it's a slow, light hill up. But at the same time, you're open to the elements. There are no trees or anything to block the wind.

Is Boston Marathon a slow course? ›

The course is mostly downhill and has few dramatic turns, yet it ranks among the slowest marathons in the world. Here's why. The Boston Marathon course looks like it should be fast. You start out in the distant suburb of Hopkinton—elevation 490 feet above sea level—and then cruise steadily downhill until about mile 9.

How much training does it take to qualify for the Boston Marathon? ›

Most coaches recommend going through a 16-week training plan to build up to a marathon, though it could be shorter if you're already pretty fit or longer if you need more time to get used to the rigors of high-mileage running.

What are the requirements to run in the Boston Marathon? ›

You must be at least 18 years old. Furthermore, you must achieve the qualifying time on a certified course approved by U.S.A. Track and Field, or the international equivalents designated by the Boston Athletic Association (BAA), which organizes the Boston Marathon.

Can anyone run in the Boston Marathon? ›

The Boston Marathon is open to runners 18 or older from any nation, but they must meet certain qualifying standards.

How to enter Boston Marathon without qualifying? ›

All members of our Official Charity Program receive invitational entries to the Boston Marathon that waive qualifying times. To apply to participate in the Boston Marathon on behalf of a member of our Official Charity Program, please contact your organization of interest directly.

Can anyone train to qualify for Boston Marathon? ›

Yes, training to run a Boston-qualifying marathon time requires lots of miles and speed work, you won't get far without prioritizing recovery as well. Sarah, a runner and registered dietician who improved her marathon time from 3:42 to 3:31 in just six months, took two days off from running per week.


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