How to track runners at the Boston Marathon 2022

a photo of runners at the 2021 Boston Marathon
(Image credit: Getty/Boston Globe / Contributor)

Today the Boston Marathon returns to its usual Patriots’ Day spot, after a couple of years of disruption due to the coronavirus pandemic. 30,000 runners will be heading to the start line of the iconic marathon in Hopkinton for the 126th year of the Boston Marathon.

If you want to follow all the action, we’ve found all the ways to keep track of the runners on the course. The elite field looks spectacular, with Scott Fauble, Colin Bennie, Jared Ward, Des Linden and Molly Seidel all returning to Boston to race on home soil. Here's how to watch the Boston Marathon online right now

What time does the Boston Marathon start? 

The 2022 race is back to its more typical start, with different waves. In the 2021 race, there was a rolling start to allow for more distancing on the course. For 2022, the men’s wheelchair race starts at 9:02 a.m. ET, with the women’s wheelchair race starting at 9:05 a.m. ET. The handcycles and duos start at 9:30 a.m., followed by the professional men at 9:37 a.m., the professional women at 9:45 a.m., the para-athletes at 9:50 a.m. The mass participation waves start from 10:00 a.m. 

If you are tracking a friend, family member or running buddy, you'll be able to tell roughly when they are about to start from their running number: 

  • Bib Numbers 261–7,700: Wave 1, starting at 10:00 am
  • Bib Numbers: 8,000–15,999: Wave 2, starting at 10:25 am 
  • Bib Numbers: 16,000–23,999: Wave 3, starting at 10:50 am
  • Bib Numbers: 24,000–32,999: Wave 4, starting at 11:15 am

How to track a runner at the Boston Marathon 

There’s a few different ways to track runners at the Boston Marathon. The first is via the official Boston Marathon app, which is free to download on iOS (opens in new tab)and Android (opens in new tab). Using the tracker app, search for runners by name, bib, city or team. Once you’ve selected your runner, you’ll be able to see their live progress along the course, as well as their splits and times. There is no limit to the number of runners you can track, so be sure to add all your favorites! 

From the app, you’ll be able to get push notifications which will update you of your runners progress, as well as seeing the top leaderboards for the men and women’s elite races, as well as the top USA runners of both genders. 

If you accidentally select the wrong runner, you can remove them from the "upcoming" list on your tracker by clicking on the cross in the top left corner. You’ll then be asked to confirm whether you want to remove the participant from your list.

If you don’t want to download the app, or if you’re at work and can’t keep checking your phone, you can also track runners from the BAA website (opens in new tab), which offers a lot of the same functions as the app, but from your desktop! You’ll be able to search for runners and see results and leaderboards in real-time. 

The Boston Marathon finish line

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Other ways to track Boston Marathon runners 

One drawback of the official Boston Marathon app — with thousands of people using it on race day, it can sometimes be a little glitchy. There are other ways out there to track your runner, both by their running watch or fitness tracker and with certain running apps. 

Firstly, if your runner is wearing a Garmin running watch, and carrying their smartphone, they can turn on Live Track via their Garmin Connect app on their phone. This allows runners to share their live location with friends and family via email, Facebook, or Twitter. The downside here is that it also relies on a phone GPS signal, so might be temperamental on race day and won't be an option for runners leaving their phone in their kit bag. The Garmin Forerunner 245 LTE also has live tracking, and can relay a runner's position without needing a phone.

If your runner has an Apple Watch SE or an Apple Watch Series 3 or later, they will be able to share their live location with you before setting off. To do this, they'll need to add you in the Find People app on the Apple Watch and tap share my location. Once they've chosen you as a friend, you'll be able to see their location for one hour, until the end of the day, or indefinitely (depending on which option they chose — we'd recommend the middle one). This too will require them to carry a smartphone with them, unless they have a cellular version of Apple's Watch. 

Another app that works with most modern Garmin running watches and Apple Watches newer than the Apple Watch Series 3 is Strava Beacon. Strava Beacon allows runners to send a live tracking link to three different contacts. This is usually a safety feature on the app but comes in handy on race day — check out our full Strava app review here.

For more sports, check out the Nets vs Celtics live stream, as game 1 was one of the most exciting editions we've seen in a while.

Inspired? Here's the average time it takes runners to finish a marathon, the best running shoes to buy, and the best running apps to download in 2022, plus, the best carbon fiber running shoes to wear on race day. 

Jane McGuire
Fitness editor

Jane McGuire is Tom's Guide's Fitness editor, which means she looks after everything fitness related - from running gear to yoga mats. An avid runner, Jane has tested and reviewed fitness products for the past five years, so knows what to look for when finding a good running watch or a pair of shorts with pockets big enough for your smartphone. When she's not pounding the pavements, you'll find Jane striding round the Surrey Hills, taking far too many photos of her puppy.