The Boston Athletic Association announced Thursday that the more than 5,000 runners who were stopped short of the finish line after the bombings took place can register early for next year's race and don't have to qualify for the race again, according to a report from the Associated Press.
The news comes a month and a day after two bombs exploded near the finish line, killing three and severely injuring scores of bystanders. The offer extends to those runners who had crossed the midway point, 13.1 miles, but hadn't yet reached the finish line. Runners will still have to pay the entry-fee to compete next year but Tom Grilk, executive director of the B.A.A., said he wants to extend an opportunity to runners who missed out on a "significant part of the entire Boston Marathon experience" by allowing them to cross the finish line next year, according to the report.
"The opportunity to run down Boylston Street and to cross the finish line amid thousands of spectators is a significant part of the entire Boston Marathon experience. With the opportunity to return and participate in 2014, we look forward to inviting back these athletes."The B.A.A. has previously granted exceptions to their qualifications. In 2010, the Association granted a deferral to European runners who couldn't attend because flights were disrupted after the Icelandic volcano eruption. Last year, with reports of a heat wave in Massachusetts at the time of the Boston Marathon, the B.A.A. offered a deferral to runners who wanted to delay their participation until this year's race. According to the report, several hundred people raced in this year's Boston Marathon because of the heat wave last year.