What’s new for Boston Marathon participants and spectators?

BOSTON (WWLP) – The Boston Marathon is on Monday, April 21st, which is less than two weeks away. The Boston Athletic Association outlined changes to this year’s event.

As it has since its inception in 1897, the Boston Marathon will be held on Patriots’ Day, a civic holiday commemorating the Battles of Lexington and Concord.

Runners will follow the historic 26.2-mile course, which starts on Main Street in rural Hopkinton and finishes on Boylston Street in Boston’s Back Bay.

Our very own 22News I-Team reporter and anchor Laura Hutchinson will be participating in the 118th Boston Marathon®. We will have full coverage leading up to and during the Boston Marathon event on-air and on WWLP.com.

This year’s race will see changes in some areas for participants, spectators, and the public, listed below.

Below is an outline of what is new for participants, spectators, and the public, provided by the Boston Athletic Association:

2014 Boston Marathon - Runner RulesGENERAL INFORMATION

Increased Field Size: In cooperation with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the eight cities and towns along the race route, the B.A.A. established the field size for the 2014 Boston Marathon at 36,000 entrants. This is a 33 percent increase from the field size limit of 27,000 entrants used in recent years and is the second-largest field size in Boston Marathon history. The Centennial Boston Marathon in 1996 had a starting field of 38,708, which stood for more than seven years as the largest in the history of the sport.

Race Day Schedule: To accommodate a larger field size, the Boston Marathon will use a four-wave start. The race day schedule for the 2014 Boston Marathon is listed below:

8:50 a.m. Mobility Impaired Start
9:17 a.m. Push Rim Wheelchair Division Start
9:22 a.m. Handcycle Participants Start
9:32 a.m. Elite Women’s Start
10:00 a.m. Elite Men’s Start & Wave One
10:25 a.m. Wave Two
11:00 a.m. Wave Three
11:25 a.m. Wave Four


John Hancock Sports & Fitness Expo: Official participants must claim their bib number and race packet at the John Hancock Sports & Fitness Expo. This Expo is widely regarded as the running industry’s premier expo for new products and services and will feature more than 200 exhibitors and attract more than 100,000 attendees in 2014. The Expo will be located at the John B. Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center at 900 Boylston Street in Boston’s Back Bay. 2014 Expo hours are listed below:

  • Friday, April 18, 12:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, April 19, 9:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
  • Sunday, April 20, 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Bib Number Pick-up: New for 2014, all participants will be required to claim their own bib number at the Expo during normal Expo hours, listed above. Friends or family will not be allowed to claim another participant’s bib number. Absolutely no bib numbers will be available for pick-up on race day, Monday, April 21, 2014.

Gear Check at Boston Common: A gear check opportunity on Boston Common will be available on the morning of the Boston Marathon only, allowing official participants to have a change of clothing (shoes, pants, shirt, jacket) at the conclusion of the race. The clear, plastic bag to be used for this purpose will be provided at Number Pick-up by the B.A.A. and will be within every participant’s complimentary race packet. No other bags will be accepted and participants who intend to use gear check must check their own gear. Family and friends will not be allowed to check gear on behalf of a participant. Gear check tents will be color coded and correspond to the color of the wave to which a participant has been assigned (red, white, blue, or yellow). Gear check bags may be checked at Boston Common between 5:30 a.m. and 9:20 a.m. Gear check bags may be claimed from 12:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Policies for Official Participants and Spectators: In consultation with public safety officials, the B.A.A. previously released information on policies for official participants and spectators of the Boston Marathon, including a no-bag policy. More information on allowable and prohibited items for participants and spectators is included at the end of this issuance. In addition, please see attached infographic.

Additional Items on B.A.A. Buses and at Athletes’ Village: Participants may bring food, shoes, and/or clothing on B.A.A. buses and in Athletes’ Village, as long as those items are not carried in a bag or backpack. Participants may hold those items in their hands, or store them in the pockets of their clothing.

Please note: security at each location will have the authority to disallow products or materials that it deems inappropriate.

Post-Race Amenities: After completing the Boston Marathon, participants will be given the following, in this order: Finishers’ medals, Heatsheet® Warmth Retention Cape, Poland Spring Water, Gatorade Endurance Formula, Poland Spring Water, Gatorade Recovery Shake, PowerBar, and additional products. The Heatsheet Warmth Retention Cape is an innovative product that reflects radiant heat and minimizes conductive heat loss, keeping participants cool in the event of warmer weather or warm in the event of cooler weather.

Finish Area Exit Locations: There will be three locations along Boylston Street through which official participants may exit the secure finish area to reunite with family and friends: (1) Clarendon Street, (2) Berkeley Street, and (3) Arlington Street. The first two exit locations lead to the Family Meeting Area near Copley Square; the third location leads to the Boston Common Family Meeting Area and the gear check tents, located near the Parkman Bandstand. Those participants who did not use gear check on race morning may utilize either of the first two exit locations in order to reunite with family and friends sooner. Participants who used gear check on race morning will utilize the third exit location and claim their gear at Boston Common.

Family Meeting Areas: Participants are strongly encouraged to reunite with family and friends in one of two designated Family Meeting Areas. The Family Meeting Area near Copley Square is located along St. James Avenue and Stuart Street between Clarendon Street and Berkeley Street. The Boston Common Family Meeting Area is located near the gear check tents at the Parkman Bandstand on Boston Common. Alphabetically lettered signs will be posted, enabling race participants to meet with their supporters at the sign containing the first letter of the participant’s last name. AT&T Communication Centers will be available, allowing participants to make a complimentary call to family and friends after the race.

Awards Ceremony: New for 2014, the top 10 finishers in the men’s and women’s open division, and the men’s and women’s push rim wheelchair division champions, will receive their awards at Boston Marathon Mile 27: Official Post-Race Party, presented by Samuel Adams. Since 1986, John Hancock has provided nearly $16 million in prize money and continues that tradition with this year’s prize purse totaling $806,000, plus bonuses.


B.A.A. 5K and Invitational Mile: This year’s B.A.A. 5K will see a change in date, field size, and location. The 2014 B.A.A. 5K will be held on Saturday, April 19, two days prior to the Boston Marathon. The field size for the B.A.A. 5K has been increased from 6,500 to 10,000 entrants. To accommodate this larger field size, the start and finish lines for the event have been relocated from Copley Square to Boston Common. Following the B.A.A. 5K, the B.A.A. Invitational Mile will take place at Copley Square, featuring some of the world’s fastest runners and middle school and scholastic runners from the eight cities and towns along the Marathon course.

Boston Marathon World Run: The B.A.A. created and launched the Boston Marathon World Run, a mobile application and website that connects runners from around the world to the 2014 Boston Marathon. This virtual experience allows anyone, regardless of ability or geography, to run or wheel a distance of their choosing and participate in the athletic spirit of the Boston Marathon. The app, created in partnership with John Hancock Financial Services and Manulife Financial, integrates with social media networks to create a virtual running community. Users receive digital training and finisher badges, as well as a downloadable bib number and finisher certificate. While there is no registration fee, participants are encouraged to donate to the One Fund Boston. To join the Boston Marathon World Run, visit www.bostonmarathonworldrun.org or search “Boston Marathon World Run” in the Apple or Android app store.

Massachusetts Alerts: The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) and the B.A.A. are partnering to ensure that runners and spectators receive important public safety and emergency information in a timely manner. Massachusetts Alerts is a communication tool used by MEMA to disseminate critical information to smartphones. Massachusetts Alerts is powered by a free downloadable application that is available for Android and iPhones. During the Boston Marathon, MEMA will use Massachusetts Alerts to share important public safety information, including severe weather and emergency contact information, with runners and spectators. To learn more about Massachusetts Alerts, and for information on how to download the free app (called Ping4Alerts) onto your Android or iPhone, go to: www.mass.gov/mema/mobileapp.

MBTA Stations: Government Center station (MBTA Green and Blue Lines) is currently closed for the next two years due to construction. Both Green and Blue Line trains will pass through Government Center Station but will not stop there. On race day, Copley Station (MBTA Green Line) and Arlington Street Station (MBTA Green Line) will be closed for the entire day. In addition, the following above-ground Green Line stations will be closed between 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. on race day: South Street Station (“B” train), Kent Street Station (“C” train) and St. Mary’s Street Station (“C” train). For more information on MBTA service on Boston Marathon weekend, please visit www.mbta.com/events.


In consultation with public safety officials, and in order to ensure the safety of all Boston Marathon participants, spectators, and partners, the B.A.A. will enforce new rules on race day for official participants. As always, official participants may be required to pass through security checkpoints when entering Marathon venues on race day and all items being carried are subject to inspection by the B.A.A., contracted private security personnel, venue personnel, and law enforcement officers.

No-Bag Policy: The B.A.A. and public safety officials from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the eight cities and towns along the course are asking official participants to comply with new security policies, including a no-bag policy. No bags will be allowed in certain areas at or near the start in Hopkinton, at or near the finish in Boston, or along the course. Bags will not be allowed on buses from Boston to Hopkinton, and bags will not be transported from Hopkinton back to Boston.

Allowable Items for Official Participants: Runners may carry the following items on race day. Any such items are subject to inspection at any time:

  • Fanny pack (no larger than 5 inches x 15 inches x 5 inches) to carry food, nutritional products, medicine, identification, cellular phone, home/hotel key or other similar and necessary small items (only one fanny pack per runner).
  • Standard manufactured “fuel belt” (bottles must be one liter or smaller).
  • Armband, which can carry a cellular phone or small camera.
  • The use of headphones is discouraged, but permitted.

Please note: Additional layers of clothing may be worn on B.A.A. shuttle buses and in Hopkinton for warmth before the race. Clothing that will not be worn during the race must be discarded in Hopkinton and will be donated to a local charitable organization.

Prohibited Items for Official Participants: On race day, official participants are prohibited from carrying any of the following items when entering or within any Marathon venue, including B.A.A. shuttle buses and B.A.A. vehicles, Athletes’ Village in Hopkinton, the start area corrals and start area, the race course, and the finish area in Boston:

  • Backpacks, any similar item carried over the shoulder, or handbags of any size.
  • Glass containers.
  • Any container capable of carrying more than 1 liter of liquid.
  • Strollers, including baby strollers.
  • Suitcases & rolling bags.
  • Personal hydration system products (such as CamelBak®, Thor®, etc).
  • Weight vests or any sort of vest with pockets (Note: lightweight running vests are allowable).
  • Costumes covering the face or any non-form fitting, bulky outfits extending beyond the perimeter of the body.
  • Props (including sporting equipment and military and fire/gear and signs or flags larger than 11 inches x 17 inches).
  • Any item larger than 5 inches x 15 inches x 5 inches.

Please note: security at each location will have the authority to disallow other products or materials that it deems inappropriate.

Policies for Spectators: While this year’s Boston Marathon is expected to draw great interest from the community, leading to more fans and spectators, those interested in attending the race are also being asked for their cooperation in following reasonable and common sense guidelines that will help ensure the safety and security of participants, volunteers, and spectators. Spectators along the course are discouraged from possessing any of the items listed below. Possession of any of these items may result in delays when passing through security checkpoints and enhanced screening:

  • Weapons or items of any kind that may be used as weapons, including firearms, knives, mace, etc.
  • Backpacks or any similar item carried over the shoulder.
  • Suitcases and rolling bags/rollers.
  • Coolers.
  • Glass containers or cans.
  • Flammable liquids, fuels, fireworks or explosives.
  • Any container capable of carrying more than 1 liter of liquid.
  • Handbags or packages or bulky items larger than 12 inches x 12 inches x 6 inches.
  • Large blankets/comforters, duvets, sleeping bags.
  • Costumes covering the face or any non-form fitting, bulky outfits extending beyond the perimeter of the body.
  • Props (including sporting equipment and military and fire gear).

For the answers to many frequently asked questions regarding the 2014 Boston Marathon, please visit the official B.A.A. website, www.baa.org.


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