Can You Defer Boston Marathon Entry

As a passionate runner, the Boston Marathon has always held a special place in my heart. The historic race, the energetic atmosphere, and the incredible challenge of conquering the legendary course – it’s a dream come true for any marathon enthusiast. However, life is unpredictable, and circumstances may arise that prevent us from participating in this prestigious event. So, the question arises: Can you defer your Boston Marathon entry?

The short answer is yes, you can defer your Boston Marathon entry, but it is not a guaranteed option for all participants. The Boston Athletic Association (BAA), the organization responsible for organizing the marathon, allows deferrals under certain circumstances. Let’s dive deeper into the details.

Why Would You Want to Defer Your Entry?

Life happens, and despite the months of training and preparation, unforeseen situations may arise that make it impossible for a runner to participate in the Boston Marathon. Common reasons for deferring an entry include injury, illness, family emergencies, work obligations, or any other significant event that prevents a runner from being able to race on the scheduled date.

The Deferment Process

Deferment is not an automatic process, and it requires following specific procedures outlined by the BAA. You must submit a deferment request before the deadline specified by the organization, typically a few weeks before the race. The request must include a valid reason for deferring, along with any necessary supporting documentation.

The BAA considers each deferment request on a case-by-case basis. They review the supporting documentation provided and assess the validity of the reason for deferral. Once they approve a deferment, they provide the runner with a guaranteed entry for the following year’s Boston Marathon.

Eligibility Criteria

The BAA has specific eligibility criteria that must be met to be considered for a deferment. These criteria include:

  • Valid Reason: The reason for deferral must be significant and prevent the runner from participating in the current year’s race.
  • Documentation: Supporting documentation, such as medical records or work-related evidence, must be provided.
  • Timeline: The deferment request must be submitted within the specified timeframe set by the BAA.

It’s important to note that deferments are not transferable. If a runner receives a deferment, they cannot give it to another person. The deferment is only valid for the individual who initially registered for the race.

Exceptions and Policies

The BAA understands that life is unpredictable, and exceptional circumstances may arise. They review each deferment request on its own merit and may consider exceptions to their policies. It’s crucial for runners to provide detailed and accurate information when submitting their deferment request.

Charity Runners

Runners who gained entry to the Boston Marathon through a charity may have different guidelines for deferment. These participants should contact their respective charity organizations for information on deferment options.

Qualifying Standards

For runners who earned their entry by meeting the Boston Marathon’s qualifying standards, the deferment process may vary. It’s important to consult the BAA’s official website or contact them directly for guidance.


While the Boston Marathon holds a strict entry policy, the BAA understands that life can throw unexpected challenges our way. Deferment offers a lifeline to participants who are unable to race due to valid, unforeseen circumstances. However, it is important to remember that deferments are not guaranteed. Each request is reviewed on a case-by-case basis, and runners must provide sufficient supporting documentation.

If you find yourself in a situation where deferring your Boston Marathon entry is your only option, reach out to the BAA immediately. They are there to help and guide you through the process. Remember, the marathon will always be there, and your health and well-being should be your top priority.