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The 2023 Boston Marathon is still months away, but excitement is already brewing for the April 17 race. Registration closed on September 16 and the age-group field and charity fields will be announced by about the first week of October. After that, training, fundraising and various planning details will begin in earnest for the 127th annual event.
Here are some key points to know about next spring’s 26.2-mile race from the starting line in the tiny village of Hopkinton, Massachusetts, to the finish line at Copley Square in downtown Boston.
1) Registration for qualified runners has closed
Registration for the 2023 Boston Marathon, which closed on September 17, was generally the same as it has been for the last few editions of the race. Any male or female runner who surpassed the time qualifier in their age-group on a Boston Marathon-certified race course could submit a registration application within the B.A.A.’s online platform, Athlete’s Village. As of this week, B.A.A,’s Athlete Services team began the process of reviewing and verifying all applications and qualifying times to determine what, if any, time cut-off will be for each category. (Due to field size limitations, achieving one’s qualifying standard did not guarantee entry into the event, but simply the opportunity to submit a registration application.) Emails to accepted/non-accepted runners are expected to be sent out between September 26-30.
2) There’s a new non-binary division for 2023
While the B.A.A. doesn’t yet have Boston Marathon qualifying standards for non-binary athletes, it has created a new non-binary division for the 2023 race. Non-binary athletes who completed a marathon as a non-binary participant between September 1, 2021 and September 16, 2023, were able to submit entries for the non-binary division. As with the men’s and women’s divisions, entry into the event via the non-binary division will be determined by an athlete’s submitted time and based on the Boston Marathon’s overall field size limit. The B.A.A. said it continues to have discussion with non-binary athletes in an effort to further promote inclusion at all B.A.A. events. The race organization said it is also increasing its focus on diversity and inclusion and will announce additional opportunities for BIPOC and Indigenous people to be a part of the 2023 race weekend.
3) Charity registration slots are still open!
If you didn’t meet the registration standard to register or if you get rejected because your qualifying time wasn’t fast enough, there is still a way to get a race bib for the 2023 event. In addition to time-qualified runners, there will be approximately 5,000 runners participating on behalf of 42 organizations that have been selected for the B.A.A.’s Official Charity Program for the 2023 Boston Marathon. Each non-profit organization directly manages its own application process, athlete selection, and fundraising minimums, requirements and deadlines. (Most charities will continue to take entries through the fall.) Entering the 34th year of the Official Charity Program, the B.A.A. provides select 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations with entries into the Boston Marathon, which are used to raise millions of dollars for a variety of causes. The B.A.A. Official Charity Program and the John Hancock Non-Profit Program have combined to raise more than $460 million since the charity program’s inception at the 1989 Boston Marathon, including $35.6 million raised via the 2022 race.
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.) For the third straight year, participants had the opportunity to purchase registration insurance offered by RegShield. Those who registered for insurance will be able to have entry fees refunded for multiple reasons including loss of job, pregnancy, illness and injury. Registration through the race’s official charity organizations is tied to meeting a specific fundraising goal.
5) How many runners will be accepted to the race?
The total field of the 2023 Boston Marathon will be capped at 30,000 runners, just as it was for the 2022 race. That is expected to follow similar field-size breakdowns of last year’s race, including approximately 24,000 qualified runners (about 80 percent of the field) and about 6,000 invitational participants (which includes charity entries, entries for sponsors, partners, elite runners, etc.) Runners will be separated into a system of wave starts as it has in recent years with separate start times for wheelchair competitors, professional women, professional men and several starting tiers for the qualified runners and charity runners. The B.A.A. says it encourages all runners to be up to date on COVID-19 vaccinations, but no proof of vaccination (as of September 16) is required for participants in next year’s race.
6) Which elite athletes will be competing?
Typically the Boston Marathon doesn’t announce its elite fields until late January or early February, a few months before its mid-April race date. The race will certainly continue to garner deep women’s, men’s and wheelchair fields, but with the London Marathon returning to its typical spring date a week after Boston on April 23, there will once again be competition to snare the top athletes. Last year 11 previous champions were entered in the field, and $876,500 in prize money was distributed among top finishers.
In continuance of the B.A.A.’s support of Ukraine, runners who are residents of Russia and Belarus will not be allowed to enter the Boston Marathon. Russian and Belarusian citizens who are not current residents of either country may still compete, however will not be able to run under the flag of either country. Russian athletes have also been banned from numerous other running events since the spring of 2022, including the 2022 World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon.
7) You can almost bet on Desi Linden being there
American Desi Linden has become a legendary runner at the Boston Marathon, and it’s very likely that the 2018 champion and 2011 runner-up will be there again in 2023. Aside from her strong performance record at the race, Linden loves everything about the Boston Marathon, and with good reason. She ran Boston as her debut 26.2-mile race in 2007, placing 19th in 2:44:56, and then returned the next year when the B.A.A. hosted the women’s 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon the day before the Boston Marathon, placing 13th in 2:37:50. Aside from her epic 2011 battle with Kenya’s Caroline Kilel and Sharon Cherop when she placed second in the then-fastest U.S. time ever (2:22:38), she also ran very well in 2014 (10th, 2:23:54), 2015 (4th, 2;25:39), 2017 (4th, 2:25:06), 2018 (1st, 2:39:55), 2019 (5th, 2:27:00) and 2022 (13th, 2:28:47). Also, Linden’s forthcoming book, “Choosing to Run,” will be published on April 4, less than two weeks before the race.
8) Expect hotel sticker shock!
If you think you’re going to be accepted into the race and plan to stay in a Boston hotel, expect to pay a premium for your hotel reservations. Given the rate of inflation and the current state of the economy, hotel prices won’t be cheap. A quick search on Hotels.com for the Boston Marathon weekend turned up prices ranging from about $389-$750 per night for hotels within three or four blocks of the finish line adjacent to Copley Square. And yes, you can splurge and book a room at the Hyatt Regency for an average of $1,686 per night. Word to the wise: the further the hotels are from downtown Boston, the more affordable they become (generally $150-$300 per night). There are also affordable properties in Millford ($115-$165), about 5 miles from the starting line in Hopkinton, but you probably won’t want to spend the entire weekend out there given the distance from the race expo and the excitement that buzzes around the finish line area in the days before the race.
9) Expect a new sponsor to emerge after 2023
Expect the Boston Marathon to announce a new principal sponsor immediately after the 2023 race. Boston-based life insurance company John Hancock, which has served as principal sponsor of the Boston Marathon since 1986, announced on September 7 that it has decided not to renew its contract with the Boston Athletic Association as principal sponsor of the Marathon after the next race in April 2023. (Adidas remains the apparel and footwear sponsor of the race for the 32nd year.) Although the Boston Marathon has always been a prestigious race, John Hancock helped put it on a preeminent level and also played a big role in growing the charity component of the race since 1989.
10) What else do you need to know?
- At the 2022 Boston Marathon, 24,834 runners finish the race, roughly 98.5 percent of all starters. All 50 U.S. states and 120 countries were represented in the field. The youngest runner was Tucker Winstanley of Concord, Massachusetts, who turned 18 three days before race day, while the oldest entrant was 83-year-old Joseph Burgasser of St. Petersburg, Florida.
- The Boston Marathon race weekend is made possible by about 9,000 volunteers (including 3,000 first time volunteers. To volunteer at the 2023 race weekend, keep track of updates on the official volunteer page as the race approaches.
- The 2022 race featured three Maurten Hydrogel depots and 48 Gatorade and Poland Spring hydration stations (every mile from mile 2 to 25, on both sides of the road), as well as 26 medical stations along the course.
- In addition to the Boston Marathon, the race weekend will also include the 10,000-runner B.A.A. 5K and the B.A.A. Invitational Mile races on April 15.
- The qualifying window for the 128th Boston Marathon, scheduled to take place on April 15, 2024, began on September 1, 2022 and will continue through approximately September 15, 2023. Final registration details for that race will be announced following the 2023 Boston Marathon.