Boston Marathon Registration Delayed
On September 3rd, the Boston Athletic Association (AA.) announced that the 2021 Boston Marathon registration will be delayed from its normal mid-September timeframe. The delay announced by the Boston Marathon organizers adds to the frustration of marathon runners that had qualified for the 2020 Boston Marathon only to have the 2020 marathon canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mid-September is typically when Boston Marathon hopefully runners register for the race, opening for an entry in the historic marathon run every April from Hopkinton to Boston, Massachusetts.
“September is usually a time for the B.A.A. to begin opening registration for April’s Boston Marathon and planning for an already established field size. We know, however, that we cannot open registration until we have a better understanding of where the virus may be in the spring. This group will be immensely helpful in helping the B.A.A. determine a safe return to in-person running events of magnitude,” said Tom Grilk, C.E.O. of the B.A.A. and co-chair of the advisory group in the press release.
The delay in registration for the 2021 Boston Marathon follows closely on the heels of the cancellation of the 2020 Boston Marathon due to the outbreak of COVID-19.
The announcement makes sense from a race logistics, operations and medical perspective. Until large marathons like Boston, New York, Chicago and others can develop a COVID-19 safety plan, they can’t anticipate the number of runners to register since social distancing guidelines could significantly limit the number of marathon runners allowed to race.
Multiple aspects, such as how to redesign the pre-race corrals for runners, aid stations along the course and the flow of runners after the finish line, as well as if or how to allow spectators access along the 26.2-mile course all need to be reviewed and new guidelines may need to be developed in a post-COVID-19 marathon world.
As a result of those needs, the BAA also announced that it was convening a COVID-19 Medical & Event Operations Advisory Group to help advise the BAA on how and when to restart the Boston Marathon and other BAA events in a post-COVID19 pandemic world. The advisory group will consist of medical, public safety, and race operations experts as well as local and state officials.
Grilk also was quoted in the press release saying, “COVID-19 has affected mass participation road races in ways that we never could have imagined,”
Read the full announcement from the Boston Athletic Association: