Military Programs Supported by the B.A.A. at the Boston Marathon
The Boston Athletic Association continues to embrace the military; military marchers have been a part of the race for many years and will continue to be this year. This year, the B.A.A. will issue official bibs to members of the Massachusetts National Guard, both as a way of recognizing their service to their country and to thank them for their role in the response to last year’s attack. Approximately 130 National Guard soldiers will be official participants in the 2014 Boston Marathon and will be wearing official B.A.A. bibs. The soldiers will depart from Hopkinton early on Monday morning (several hours before the official start of the race). The soldiers, who will march to Boston, are expected to cross the finish line mid-afternoon. The soldiers will not carry rucksacks and they will follow all of the rules that apply to other official participants.
Additionally, we’re honored to again have several hundred military and veterans runners already registered for the 2014 Boston Marathon. This includes military academies, such as West Point, the Air Force Academy, and Naval Academy in Annapolis. We’re again hosting a team from the National Guard. In addition members of the Freedom Team, which includes injured veterans who have re-habilitated at Walter Reed Hospital, will complete the course in a hand-cycle.
Military units and veterans associations from around the country have expressed overwhelming interest in marching in the Boston Marathon. Over the past month, it became clear that over 1,000 military marchers, many intending on carrying rucksacks, were planning on marching as unofficial participants. While the B.A.A. and the host communities appreciate the support of the military, and understand the desire of these units and associations to participate, it was necessary to impose reasonable safety and security restrictions. The B.A.A.’s priority is to ensure the safety of the 36,000 official runners. Unfortunately, the Marathon course cannot safely accommodate 36,000 runners (an increase of 9,000 from last year) and many hundreds, and perhaps more than 1,000 military marchers.
Since 2005, thousands of United States armed forces personnel stationed overseas have participated in “shadow” versions of the Boston Marathon, running the marathon distance on, or near, Patriots’ Day, whether in Iraq, Afghanistan, or on a ship at sea. The Boston Athletic Association has provided Boston Marathon start and finish banners, bibs, tee shirts, medals, and finisher certificates for participants in these shadow marathons.
In 2014, service members and civilian personnel at Bagram Air Base (Parwan Province) will line up on Saturday, April 19 in the Boston Marathon / Afghanistan.
2014 BOSTON MARATHON / AFGHANISTAN RESULTS: