Runners who didn't get to complete the 2013 Boston Marathon before a pair of bombs exploded at the finish line will be invited back to run next year's race, organizers announced Thursday.
The Boston Athletic Association says that each runner who crossed the midway point of the 26.2-mile race but did not get to cross the finish line will receive a code allowing them to enter for the 2014 race.
In total, 5,633 runners who finished at least half of the April 15 race but did not finish before the race was called off at 2:50 p.m. are eligible to run in next year's marathon, which will be held in September of 2014. Organizers have not yet concluded on a maximum field size for the 2014 marathon.
"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," Tom Grilk, the B.A.A.'s Executive Director, said in statement. "We look forward to inviting back these athletes and we expect that most will renew their marathon training commitment."
A petition on Change.org that lobbied the Boston Athletic Association for this move garnered nearly 27,000 signatures. The runner behind the petition, Ryan Polly, says that the move will give runners the chance to "finish what they started."
"I'm so happy to hear that the Boston Athletic Association will allow thousands of runners, like myself, who did not finish the marathon in 2013 the chance to finish what we started in 2014," Polly said.