Boston Marathon to exclude Russian and Belarusian athletes

Runners approach the finish line at the Boston Marathon on Oct. 11, 2021. (Charles Krupa/AP)

Athletes who currently live in Russia or Belarus will not be allowed to participate in this year’s Boston Marathon, even if they have been previously accepted.

Russian and Belarusian citizens who do not live in either country will be allowed to compete, but they will not be able to participate under the Russian or Belarusian flags.

The announcement was made Wednesday by the Boston Athletic Association.

The organization added that any BAA-affiliated event or race will not recognize the flags of either Russia or Belarus “until further notice.”

“Like so many around the world, we are horrified and outraged by what we have seen and learned from the reporting in Ukraine,” Tom Grilk, BAA’s president and CEO, said in a statement.

“We believe that running is a global sport, and as such, we must do what we can to show our support to the people of Ukraine,” Grilk added.

The Boston Marathon is the world’s oldest annual marathon and ranks as one of the world’s most prestigious road racing events, according to a description on the BAA website.

Now on its 126th edition, the event is expected to bring 30,000 athletes to the streets of Boston on April 19.

The ban will also extend to runners of the 2022 BAA 5K, which is scheduled to take place on April 16, when 10,000 fully-vaccinated participants are expected to compete.

Organizers say that “reasonable attempts” will be made to refund the athletes who can no longer participate, “within the constraints as imposed by federal and international sanctions.”

Athletes from Ukraine who have registered but are unable to compete will receive a refund or the option to defer to a future year.