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May 17, 2013

Boston Marathon invites stopped runners back

BOSTON (AP) — Boston Marathon runners who were stopped on the course when bombs went off at the finish line will have a chance to come back and run again next year, race organizers said on Thursday.

One month and one day after the April 15 explosions that killed three people and wounded hundreds more, the Boston Athletic Association said that 5,633 people who were stopped on the second half of the course when the race was shut down at 2:50 p.m. will be allowed to register early for next year’s race.

“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,” B.A.A. executive director Tom Grilk said. “With the opportunity to return and participate in 2014, we look forward to inviting back these athletes.”

The B.A.A. said runners who passed the halfway checkpoint at 13.1 miles but hadn’t reached the finish line will get a code to register in August; regular registration is scheduled to begin in September. Runners will be required to pay the entry fee — the amount hasn’t been determined yet — but they will not have to re-qualify by running another marathon in a given time.

Normal registration for the Boston Marathon requires a qualifying time from 3 hours 5 minutes for an 18- to 34-year-old man to 5:25 for an 80-year-old woman. The requirement forces most runners to spend a full year training for their qualifying and Boston runs and makes the race, for many, a one-time event.

The announcement was quickly praised on the B.A.A. Facebook page, where thousands of people — many of them using the B.A.A. logo or other marathon-related photos for their profile picture — “liked” the announcement. Hundreds posted comments vowing to return.

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