For all the people who said they wouldn’t miss the 2014 Boston Marathon after what happened in 2013, the Boston Athletic Association is helping clear the way.
The race organizer announced Thursday that an additional 9,000 spots have been created for the 2014 race, increasing the total number of runners to 36,000. That is short of the record 38,708 runners who raced at the marathon’s 100th anniversary, in 1996, but it is still well beyond what the increasingly popular race has allowed in recent years.
Runners who could not finish last year’s marathon due to the bombings at the finish line were allowed to register for the 2014 race this week without having to qualify again. More than 4,500 have entered for 2014.
The Boston Marathon has tried to keep its ranks tight despite a spike in interest in recent years, but the BAA is allowing more qualifiers this year after the 2013 race was rocked by tragedy. The BAA is also talking about increased security measures for the marathon, which will be run April 21.
“Interested runners have been remarkably respectful and cooperative as we worked towards what will be an important day in the history of the race, the sport and the city of Boston,” BAA executive director Tom Grilk said. “The BAA offers special thanks and gratitude to the town, city and state officials for the cooperation and allowances needed to conduct a special race of this size and scope.”
Boston Police commissioner Ed Davis had said earlier this month that the field size was increasing, but the BAA had to work out logistics with towns along the route first.
Registration for the marathon opens Sept. 9 at 10 a.m., with the fastest runners getting a chance to register first in the “rolling admission” format. Many elite runners have expressed interest in running the 2014 race out of solidarity after last year’s events.
“The BAA is aware of the significantly increased interest in registering for the 2014 Boston Marathon,” Grilk said. “… We understand many marathoners and qualifiers want to run Boston in 2014, and we appreciate the support and patience that the running community has demonstrated because of the bombings that occurred this past spring.”
The marathon is also expected to attract newcomers who want to run in honor of last year’s victims.