BOSTON – The Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.) today announced the start times for the 124th running of the Boston Marathon, to be held on April 20, 2020. A field of 31,500 participants will make their way from Hopkinton to Boston on Patriots’ Day. For the 35th year, the Boston Marathon is principally sponsored by John Hancock.
DIVISION/PROGRAM START TIME* Men's Wheelchair 9:02 a.m. ET Women's Wheelchair 9:05 a.m. ET Handcycles & Duos 9:30 a.m. ET Elite Men 9:37 a.m. ET Elite Women 9:45 a.m. ET Para Athletics Divisions 9:50 a.m. ET Wave One 10:00 a.m. ET Wave Two 10:25 a.m. ET Wave Three 10:50 a.m. ET Wave Four 11:15 a.m. ET *Start times are subject to change.
“In an effort to ensure the best possible race experience for all participants, we have made alterations to the start times for this year’s race,” said Tom Grilk, Chief Executive Officer of the B.A.A. “Keeping participant safety and their experience at the forefront of all decision making, we have taken a data-driven and analytical approach to determine the most optimal start times for all divisions.”
Start time enhancements have been implemented for the Women’s Wheelchair Division Start (shifted from 9:04 a.m. in 2019 to 9:05 a.m. this year); Handcycle Program & Duo Participants Start (9:25 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.); Elite Men’s Division Start (10:00 a.m. to 9:37 a.m.); Elite Women’s Division Start (9:32 a.m. to 9:45 a.m.) and Wave One Start (10:02 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.). In addition, this is the first year the Boston Marathon will feature a Para Athletics Divisions Start, where elite athletes with visual, upper-limb, and lower-limb impairments will compete for prize money and awards. The 2020 Boston Marathon will serve as the Team USA Paralympic Selection Event for select Para athletes.
“The introduction of the Para Athletics Divisions start presented a great opportunity for us to take a critical look at each and every one of our start times,” said Dave McGillivray, race director of the Boston Marathon.
To minimize the amount of passing of athletes down course, the Elite Men’s Division will start eight minutes prior to the Elite Women’s Division. This change is being implemented to help increase the safety of athletes within the Elite Women’s Division start, who in previous years were at risk of being overtaken by both the Elite Men and their accompanying lead vehicles in the second half of the race route. Now, with the change in start times, the potential for athletes being overtaken by vehicles down course will greatly be reduced.
In addition to increased safety, the change in start times will allow more exclusive television coverage of the Elite Women’s race in the final miles.
“I’m excited about the new start times of the 2020 Boston Marathon,” said Des Linden, 2018 Boston Marathon champion and a five-time top-five finisher in Boston. “The B.A.A. has taken industry-leading steps to ensure our safety and a world-class experience. I am especially excited about the additional coverage in the final miles—all the world’s eyes will be on us as we head for the finish in Boston.”
“The new start times for the 2020 Boston Marathon will help all athletes,” said Lelisa Desisa, two-time Boston Marathon champion and reigning world champion. “With both professional races in mind, the B.A.A.’s changes will make sure we have a safe and successful road from start to finish.”
“I am excited about the new start times for the 2020 BAA Boston Marathon,” said Edna Kiplagat, the 2017 Boston Marathon champion and a two-time World Champion. “Thanks to the B.A.A. for considering that running safely is very important to all participants. And the additional TV coverage in the final miles should raise the fans’ excitement.”