B.A.A. to Implement Changes to Boston Marathon Handcycle Program

Changes Will Take Effect for 2017 Boston Marathon on Monday, April 17

The Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.), organizers of the Boston Marathon, is taking action to demonstrate its commitment to the participation and recognition of athletes with disabilities competing in the handcycle program in the Boston Marathon. Working with representatives of Achilles International and athletes who participate in the field, and responding to their concerns, the B.A.A. will implement changes to the handcycle program for the 121st Boston Marathon, which will be held on Monday, April 17, 2017. 

The B.A.A. will implement the following changes beginning with this year’s Boston Marathon:

  • Recognize handcycle participants at the start and finish of the race.
  • Play the national anthem for the first-place male and female handcycle finishers.
  • Work with public safety officials to address transportation logistics.
  • Provide greater flexibility in the registration process and pre-race packet distribution.
  • Allocate a monetary award to Achilles International to distribute in 2017 in accordance with the structure that it establishes.
  • Increasing the handcycle field size for the 2018 Boston Marathon with a goal of not less than 60 participants.

The B.A.A. has a tradition of extending the challenge of the marathon to people with disabilities and has supported handcycle participation in the Boston Marathon since 1998. This year’s field of 30 entrants will be the largest ever, as a result of ongoing conversations with Achilles International, a New York-based organization that for many years has done important work in supporting people with disabilities. 

The B.A.A. will continue to explore how best to improve the race experience in the future, keeping in mind the safety of all participants, spectators, race officials, and volunteers.