The tragedy that occurred at the 2013 Boston Marathon is not stopping the Boston Athletic Association from making the next event bigger and better than normal. So big, in fact, that the race on April 21 of next year will be the second largest in the marathon’s history.
The size increase will accommodate 36,000 runners, 9,000 more than normal capacity. The sharp increase is directly related to the terrorist bombings at this year's race which killed three and injured at least 264 people.
Part of the number of additional runners comes from about 5,000 runners who were stopped literally in their tracks last year due to the bombings. These runners were given the option of an early registration in order to cross the finish line they never got to see. These runners did not have to submit a new qualifying time.
The additional spaces will be used to fill the heightened interest in the race which has stemmed from support of national and international runners. Executive Director of the Boston Athletic Association Tom Grilk said the decision to increase capacity stemmed from more than returning 2013 participants.
“The B.A.A. is aware of the significantly increased interest in registering for the 2014 Boston Marathon,” he said in a statement. “Many people seem very excited to continue supporting the community we have here in Boston.”
Aside from the always enthusiastic spectators, the 2014 course will be spruced up with an additional source of brightness: daffodils. The flowers will be planted by volunteers in October along the entire route of the marathon in an effort known as Marathon Daffodils.
"We hope the bright yellow daffodil, which is the same color as the Boston Marathon logo, will lift people's spirits," organizer of the effort Diane Valle told CNN. "We hope the communal act of planting together will strengthen Boston Strong and will add a bit of hope and rebirth."
Although the registration began on Monday, September 9, the process is rolling and will continue until all spaces are filled. Non-qualified charity runners, including BC students who run through the Campus School, will not be affected by the heightened registration numbers, although they will benefit from the bigger, brighter course.
Featured image via BU Interactive News/Wikimedia Commons.