Boston Marathon runners, volunteers must show proof of negative COVID test to participate

BOSTON — Before runners get to the finish line of the Boston Marathon this fall, they’ll need to show proof of up to two negative COVID-19 tests.

“With people coming from a great many places, it’s hard to know just exactly what sort of protective measures are available where they are, so we’ll make every effort to apply the same standard to everybody,” said Tom Grilk, president and CEO of the Boston Athletic Association.

Grilk says without knowing whether vaccinated people can still transmit the virus right now, they’re now requiring all runners and volunteers to show a negative COVID-19 test before taking part in the Boston Marathon this October.

“At the moment it is the most broadly reliable way of knowing that people are unlikely to spread the disease, now as the science changes, there may be updates to that,” said Grilk.

Grilk says they’ll set up a program to offer COVID-19 testing to runners, and that negative test will need to be done within a couple days of the event.

“I imagine by then it’s probably going to be an almost routine for certain events that you’re going to get tested, and it may not be such a big deal by then,” said Dr. Michael Misialek, a pathologist at Newton Wellesley Hospital.

Dr. Misialek says the Boston Marathon is setting a good example.

He believes testing is one of the best ways to prevent the virus from spreading, and he hopes to see other big events like concerts or sporting events requiring something similar.

“Anytime we have large gatherings of people there is a risk of spread, and the notion of potentially a vaccine passport or testing requirements to enter an establishment need to be given serious thought,” said Dr. Misialek.

Grilk says runners will also need to pay a new $25 fee to help cover these new public health costs and changes at this year’s Boston Marathon.

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