Boston Marathon may ask athletes for negative virus tests

A woman submits to a COVID-19 test. Photo by Steve Klamkin WPRO News

BOSTON (AP) — Participants in this year’s Boston Marathon may be required to show proof of up to two negative COVID-19 tests before the race even if they have been vaccinated, the Boston Athletic Association said Wednesday.

The historic race will also carry a new $25 fee to cover costs associated with preventing the spread of the coronavirus, and organizers are eliminating a staging area in Hopkinton where athletes traditionally mingle and stretch before the start of the race.

“The B.A.A. is committed to taking all necessary steps to ensure the health and safety of participants, volunteers and the public,” Tom Grilk, the organization’s president and CEO, said in a statement. “We will continue to follow the science and adapt the event plan to reflect guidance from our local, city and state partners.”

The BAA announced in January that the 125th edition of the marathon would be pushed back from its traditional April running to Oct. 11, assuming road races are allowed to take place under Massachusetts’ COVID-19 restrictions by then.

Organizers later announced the race would be capped at 20,000 participants to allow for social distancing along the course. A virtual option is also being offered for up to 70,000 athletes.

Officials said they would share more details on testing requirements “in the coming months.”

Instead of gathering at the traditional “Athletes’ Village” in Hopkinton, waves of participants will be bused to the starting line for their assigned take-off time, the BAA said.