Thousands of runners who didn't get a chance to finish the Boston Marathon this year because of the twin bombings that rocked the city will get another chance to do so next year. Here's the official statement from race organizors:
"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," said Tom Grilk, B.A.A. Executive Director. "With the opportunity to return and participate in 2014, we look forward to inviting back these athletes and we expect that most will renew their marathon training commitment. Boston spectators are known for their impassioned support and unbridled enthusiasm, and they will give these returning athletes some of the loudest cheers at next year's race. We want to thank our participants for their patience as we continue to work through the details of arranging this accommodation for them, and we ask for continued patience from the running community as we plan the 2014 Boston Marathon next April."
To be eligible to run next year without having to re-qualify, runners need to have started the race and crossed the half-way point at this year's race. In all, that means roughly 5,600 will get the invite, according to race officials. While the runners will still need to pay an as-yet undecided fee, the announcement removes the largest hurdle for most runners: the need to hit the impressive qualifying times normally needed to run the iconic race. To qualify for this year's race, for example, a male runner aged 18 to 34 had to complete another sanctioned marathon in 3:05 or less.
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