United States

Boston Marathon runners must be vaccinated or provide negative COVID-19 test

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Runners approach the finish line on Boylston Street during the 123rd Boston Marathon in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S., April 15, 2019. REUTERS/Gretchen Ertl/File Photo

Sept 2 (Reuters) - Runners in this year's Boston Marathon will need to provide proof of vaccination or produce a negative COVID-19 test in order to participate, race organisers said on Thursday.

The Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.) said in a statement that all participants will be required to take either step prior to bib number pick-up ahead of the Oct. 11 race.

The B.A.A. said it was working with a third-party testing provider to conduct tests no earlier than 72 hours before participant start times.

Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 will not be allowed to take part and will be refunded their entry.

Masks will not be required for runners during the race but the B.A.A. said they will be enforced on race-day buses and in other areas in accordance with local guidelines.

Organisers previously said this year's Boston Marathon will be limited to 20,000 entrants, or about 33% below the typical number of runners in the race, in a bid to allow greater social distancing throughout the course given the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Boston Marathon, which is usually held in April and generally draws over 30,000 runners from all over the world, had been held annually since 1897 until it was cancelled for the first time last year because of COVID-19.

The global pandemic also forced organisers to push back the date for this year's race.

Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto, editing by Ed Osmond

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