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The 2021 Boston Marathon, scheduled to take place on October 11, announced on Monday that it will reduce the field by about 10,000 runners, allowing 20,000 entrants to register for the race this year.
The reduction is part of the COVID-19 safety measures race officials will implement during the event.
“The [Boston Athletic Association] has been working in close coordination with our local, city, and state partners to establish an appropriate field size that will allow for social distancing throughout the course, especially at the start and finish,” said Tom Grilk, president and CEO of the B.A.A., in a written statement
Officials announced in January that the 2021 Boston Marathon will not take place as planned on April 19, 2021, due to the ongoing spread of COVID-19 and later said that it would be held on October 11. With six World Marathon Majors scheduled between Sept. 26 and Nov. 7, there will be a 26.2-mile racing bonanza in the fall, if all goes according to schedule.
“By shifting our focus to a fall date, we can continue to work with stakeholders to adjust the in-person experience for runners and supporters alike,” Grilk said in January.
Registration for the 125th Boston Marathon will begin at 10 a.m. eastern on April 20 and go through 5 p.m. on April 23. Anybody who has qualified from Sept. 15, 2018 onward can apply during that period. Qualifying times will be verified and ranked by the B.A.A. based on how much an athlete has run under their respective qualifying standard. Athletes will then be notified if they made the cut.
Before the 2020 edition of the race was canceled, the field had been assembled. Those who received entry were at least one minute, 39 seconds faster than their qualifying time for age group and gender, leaving 3,110 eligible runners shut out of the race. In the past, about 20 percent of the field was devoted to those who raised money for charities and other invited athletes. Officials have not said if that ratio will change for 2021.
The B.A.A. also announced in March that a virtual race is open to 70,000 people, no qualifying time required, though the in-person participants will receive a “special edition Unicorn medal in honor of the 125th anniversary,” according to a press release. Registration for the virtual race begins March 30 and runners who are not accepted to the in-person event will have the opportunity to enter after notifications have been sent.