Boston to increase field for '14 race

BOSTON -- The Boston Marathon will accept an extra 9,000 runners for next year's race, making room for the more than 5,000 people stopped on the course this year when two bombs went off and for many of those wanting to run as a tribute to the victims.

Registration for the 118th edition of the world's oldest and most prestigious annual marathon will open Sept. 9, the Boston Athletic Association said.

"The BAA is aware of the significantly increased interest in registering for the 2014 Boston Marathon," executive director Tom Grilk said in a statement Thursday. "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 expanded field of 36,000 for the April 21, 2014, race would be the second largest in the event's history, behind only the 38,708 who registered for the 100th anniversary race in 1996. Organizers have said they are forced to cap the field size because they have limited space at the start in Hopkinton and on some of the course's Colonial-era streets.

This year's field size was set after talks with the eight cities and towns along the route.

"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," Grilk said.

Registration will begin Sept. 9, with the fastest qualifiers getting the chance to sign up first. It will continue through the end of the week and, if space remains, reopen for all qualifiers Sept. 16.

The 2013 Boston Marathon was shut down at 2:50 p.m. -- more than four hours into the race -- when a pair of explosions at the Boylston Street finish line killed three people and injured hundreds more.

The 5,624 runners who were stopped on the course were allowed to register early for 2014 this week. A total of 4,722 who had reached the halfway point but not the finish line signed up before the special registration period closed on Thursday, the BAA said. They were required to pay the entry fee -- $175 for U.S. residents and $225 for international residents -- but they did not have to run another race at a qualifying time.


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