2020 Boston Marathon to Launch Competitive Para Athletic Division

New Division a First-of-its-Kind Offering in Major Marathon Events

BOSTON, MA (10-April) – With over four decades of experience hosting a diversity of athletes, the Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.) will become the first major marathon to include competitive divisions for classified ambulatory Para athletes in 2020. This announcement marks the B.A.A.’s organizational transition from “Athletes with Disabilities” to “Para Athletic Divisions” and “Adaptive Programs.”

As one of the world’s most recognized sporting events, the Boston Marathon will be a platform that showcases the athleticism, achievements, and competition of aspiring and elite Para athletes. 

“The incorporation of Para Athletic Divisions in the Boston Marathon will allow us to help sport set a new standard for the way Para athletes are recognized in elite marathon competitions,” said Tom Grilk, CEO, B.A.A. “We are adding the Para Athletic Divisions to our already-inclusive programs for athletes with eligible impairments, as we aspire to provide participatory and competitive opportunities for all athletes.”

“In recent years, we have witnessed the strength of the Para athletic community within the Boston Marathon,” said Marla Runyan, Manager of Para Athletics and Adaptive Programs, B.A.A. “The new division will recognize and elevate their achievements and pave the way for more athletes to compete at the highest levels of the Boston Marathon.”

To compete in the 2020 Boston Marathon Para Athletics Division, athletes must hold the appropriate national or international Para athletics classification and meet research-based qualifying standards for their respective age, gender, and sport class.

The following classification categories will be recognized for ambulatory Para athletes in the 2020 Boston Marathon:

  • Vision impairment (T11, T12, T13)
  • Lower limb impairment (prostheses T61 – T64)
  • Upper limb impairment (T45/T46)

Additionally, high performance standards have been established within each classification category to further recognize athletic achievement. Para athletes who have met their respective high-performance standard will be considered for an invitational entry into the Boston Marathon.

Awards and prize money will be awarded to the top 3 male and female finishers within each respective classification category. The total Prize Purse for the Para Athletics Divisions for ambulatory athletes in the 2020 Boston Marathon is $16,500. This prize money is in addition to the $125,000 prize purse for the Boston Marathon Wheelchair division. 

Additional details about the Para Athletic Divisions and Adaptive Programs for 2020 can be found on the B.A.A. website at www.baa.org.