BOSTON (CBS) – For the first time ever the Boston Marathon is being run in October and that change will bring several other changes to the 125th edition of the race.
The most noticeable will be the size.
The field of 18,252 runners will be smaller than usual as the marathon returns for the first time in more than two-and-a-half years. That’s the smallest field of runners since 2002. The 2019 race had more than 31,500 runners, 36-percent more than this year’s race.
While the overall field is smaller, the number of official charity runners, approximately 2,400, will not change.
There will also be more than 27,000 others running 26.2 miles elsewhere – attempting to earn a finisher’s medal in a virtual version of the race.
Those running from Hopkinton to Boston will need to either provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination or produce a negative COVID-19 test in order to participate.
Masks will not be required while running the course through eight cities and towns, but they’re required on the buses out to the starting line. They’re also required, and provided, in all medical tents along the route.
The traditional pre-race pasta dinner was not held this year. Instead, the B.A.A. had a restaurant week, encouraging runners to eat at local restaurants impacted by the pandemic.
START LINE CHANGES
In Hopkinton, there was no pre-race Athlete’s Village this year, due to the pandemic, and this will be the first rolling start in Boston Marathon history. Runners will be assigned specific times to start. That will sync up with buses bringing them from Boston to Hopkinton.
The race is starting earlier this year and there’s a new order of starting times. The most notable change is that the professional men are now starting before the women.
8:02 a.m. Wheelchair Men
8:05 a.m. Wheelchair Women
8:30 a.m. Handcycle and Duo Teams
8:37 a.m. Professional Men
8:45 a.m. Professional Women
8:50 a.m. Para Athletes
9:00 a.m. to Noon : Rolling start for all runners
About 500,000 spectators line the 26.2-mile course each year, according to the Boston Athletic Association.
Runners and spectators should try to keep their distance from each other this year, especially around the halfway mark at Wellesley College. That’s where you’ll usually find the famous “Scream Tunnel” echoes with the shrieks of Wellesley College co-eds handing out water, screaming with delight and even offering kisses for the runners.
That’s being discouraged this year and the Boston Athletic Association said runners should only use “B.A.A. provided course nutrition in lieu of accepting hydration or food from spectators.”
Wellesley College told WBZ-TV students will be “asked to wear masks outside while they gather to watch the race, to not share food or drink, and to not touch the runners or have any physical contact as they go by.”
And if you see two Duck Boats on the course, those will be carrying the grand marshals. They’ll be joined by past Boston Marathon champions, including Meb Keflezighi, Sara Mae Berman, Bill Rodgers, Jack Fultz and Joan Benoit Samuelson.
You can watch the Boston Marathon live on Monday, October 11 on CBSBoston.com and WBZ-TV. Coverage starts at 4:30 a.m.