Esplanade Association Named Official Charity of 2021 Boston Marathon

Fifteen runners will receive bibs from the Boston Athletic Association to support the Charles River Esplanade

The Esplanade is the premier running trail in Greater Boston. Each year, the excitement builds for the Boston Marathon among runners turning to the Esplanade’s riverfront pathways and footbridges as the setting for their training runs. For the third year in a row, 15 runners will have the opportunity to give back to the park as they train for the 125th Boston Marathon.

The Esplanade Association (, the nonprofit partner to the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) that helps revitalize, enhance, program, and maintain the Esplanade, has been named an Official Charity for the 2021 Boston Marathon.

Through the Official Charity Program, the Boston Athletic Association ( supports select nonprofit organizations that strengthen the local community and provides these organizations with a significant fundraising opportunity.

In 2020, participants running the 124th Virtual Boston Marathon (including those who opted out of the virtual experience in 2020) raised $32.1 million. As a member of the 2021 Boston Marathon Official Charity Program, the Esplanade Association will receive invitational entries that will help the organization raise awareness and funds for its work to provide free programs for the community; care for the park’s nearly 1,700 trees; encourage healthy lifestyles; promote arts and culture; and restore historic structures in the park.

“We are honored to be selected as an Official Charity by the Boston Athletic Association for the third consecutive year,” said Michael Nichols, Executive Director of the Esplanade Association. “Every day of the year, thousands log their running miles underneath the Esplanade’s urban tree canopy and along the five miles of riverfront pathways in the park. This is an incredible way for the local running community to give back to the park that served as an essential place for so many this past year.”

The Esplanade has long been a beloved running route in Boston. The Esplanade’s pathways cover 64 acres from the Museum of Science to the BU Bridge, featuring breathtaking views of the Charles River and the Boston and Cambridge skylines. Data from Strava (a software used to track running activity via GPS) shows that the Esplanade is the region’s most popular running route.

Applications for the in-person 125th Boston Marathon will open on April 20. Applications for the Virtual 125th Boston Marathon are open now. The in-person Boston Marathon will take place on Monday, Oct. 11, and the Virtual Boston Marathon will take place from Oct. 8-11. Learn more at

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