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Participant Information: Allowable and Prohibited Items

Learn the do's and don'ts for participants on race day

In consultation with public safety officials and in order to ensure the safety of all Boston Marathon participants, spectators, and partners, the B.A.A. will enforce the following rules on race day. As always, official participants may be required to pass through security checkpoints when entering Marathon venues on race day and all items being carried are subject to inspection by the B.A.A., contracted private security personnel, venue personnel and law enforcement officers.


Runners may carry the following items on race day. Any such items are subject to inspection at any time (see image to the right).

  • A one gallon clear plastic bag to carry food items or sports drink only. This bag is subject to search. (only one clear plastic bag pack per runner). This clear, one gallon plastic bag will be allowed on the official buses to Hopkinton.
  • Fanny pack (no larger than 5 inches x 15 inches x 5 inches) to carry food, nutritional products, medicine, identification, cell phone, home/hotel key or other similar and necessary small items (only one fanny pack per runner).
  • Standard manufactured “fuel belt” (bottles must be one liter or smaller).
  • Armband, which can carry a cellular phone or small camera.
  • The use of headphones is discouraged, but permitted.

Please note: Additional layers of clothing may be worn on B.A.A. Shuttle Buses and in Hopkinton for warmth before the race. Clothing that will not be worn during the race must be discarded in Hopkinton and will be donated to a local charitable organization.



On race day, official participants are prohibited from carrying any of the following items when entering or within any Marathon venue, including B.A.A. shuttle buses and B.A.A. vehicles, Athletes’ Village in Hopkinton, the start area corrals and start area, the race course, and the finish area in Boston:

  • Carrying guns, knives, weapons, or items that may be used as weapons.
  • Backpacks, any similar item carried over the shoulder, or handbags of any size.
  • Props (including sporting equipment, military and fire/gear and signs or flags* larger than 11 inches x 17 inches).
    *Note - Flags cannot be on a pole longer than 15 inches in length
  • Glass containers.
  • Any container capable of carrying more than one liter of liquid.
  • The use of selfie sticks or similar items is prohibited while running the Boston Marathon.
  • Strollers, including baby strollers.
  • Suitcases & rolling bags.
  • Personal hydration system products (such as CamelBak®, Thor®, etc).
  • Weight vests or any sort of vest with pockets (Note: lightweight running vests are allowable).
  • Costumes covering the face or any non-form fitting, bulky outfits extending beyond the perimeter of the body.
  • Any item larger than 5 inches x 15 inches x 5 inches.
  • Folding chairs.

Please note: security at each location will have the authority to disallow other products or materials that it deems inappropriate.



The B.A.A. discourages the wearing of action cameras such as GoPros while running in the Boston Marathon. Any footage of the Boston Marathon captured by runners or spectators is for personal use only. Personal use shall mean non-commercial use of such footage only. Any Boston Marathon footage for personal use shall not include any distribution for such purpose as to charge money, collect fees, or receive any form of remuneration. The Boston Marathon footage for personal use shall not be used in advertising and shall not be resold, relicensed, or sub-licensed. The Boston Athletic Association will not be liable for any third party claims or incidental, consequential or other damages arising out of this personal use of Boston Marathon footage. Any Boston Marathon footage usage cannot violate rights held by existing B.A.A. sponsors and/or partners. The use of "selfie" sticks or similar items is prohibited while running the Boston Marathon.



Suspicious activity is any observed behavior that could indicate terrorism or terrorism-related crime. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Unusual items or situations: A vehicle is parked in an odd location, a package/luggage is unattended, a window/door is open that is usually closed, or other out-of-the-ordinary situations occur.
  • Eliciting information: A person questions individuals at a level beyond curiosity about a building’s purpose, operations, security procedures and/or personnel, shift changes, etc.
  • Observation/surveillance: Someone pays unusual attention to facilities or buildings beyond a casual or professional interest. This includes extended loitering without explanation (particularly in concealed locations); unusual, repeated, and/or prolonged observation of a building (e.g., with binoculars or video camera); taking notes or measurements; counting paces; sketching floor plans, etc.

Some of these activities could be innocent - it's up to law enforcement to determine whether the behavior warrants investigation. The activities above are not all-inclusive, but have been compiled based on studies of pre-operational aspects of both successful and thwarted terrorist events over several years. 



The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) and the B.A.A. are partnering to ensure that runners and spectators receive important public safety and emergency information in a timely manner. Massachusetts Alerts is a communication tool used by MEMA to disseminate critical information to smartphones.

Massachusetts Alerts is powered by a free downloadable application that is available for Android and iPhones. During the Boston Marathon, MEMA will use Massachusetts Alerts to share important public safety information, including severe weather and emergency information, with runners and spectators. To learn more about Massachusetts Alerts, and for information on how to download the free app (called Massachusetts Alerts) onto your Android or iPhone, go to:



For more information on Gear Check and Baggage Policy for the Boston Marathon, click below:



For the safety of official participants and spectators, the B.A.A. strictly prohibits unofficial participation in the Boston Marathon, and those in violation are subject to interdiction. Those who are not officially registered in the Boston Marathon will not be allowed to participate. Official participants are asked to discourage family and friends who are not officially registered participants from entering the course in any manner. Many people want to participate in some way in the Boston Marathon as a display of support, but those who are not official participants are asked to refrain from entering the course for the safety of the runners and themselves. There are several other opportunities which enable a show of support for the Boston Marathon, including the B.A.A. 5K, attending the John Hancock Sports & Fitness Expo, volunteering, or spectating. Anyone on the course for any distance who has not been assigned, or is not displaying, an officially issued bib number from the B.A.A. is subject to interdiction. The B.A.A. reserves the right to remove any person from the course who is not displaying an official bib that has been assigned by the B.A.A. Similarly, units or groups such as military ruck-marchers, unless officially sanctioned, and cyclists will not be allowed to participate.

B.A.A. Moment

Allowable and Prohibited Items

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