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05/16/2013

Boston Marathon runners to get 'do-over' in 2014

Fantastic news for the more than 5,600 Boston Marathon runners stranded on the course when the bombs went off -- the Boston Athletic Association just announced it has cut through its own red tape and will give the runners a chance to finish what they started in 2014.

The BAA was in a tight spot, as we explained in detail earlier this month, frantically looking for ways to expand the limited-load running route to accommodate the stranded, even as an online petition demanding the right to run gathered momentum.

The solution: the tiny non-profit organization now will grant a special invitation to every runner who reached the halfway mark when the 2013 race came to a horrible end.

Ryan Polly, the Vermont-based runner who launched the petition at www.change.org, initially argued that the thousands who left the course in a daze were left with "a mixture of emotions that are difficult to articulate. We need to be able to finish what we started. We need the closure that only crossing the finish line can bring."

But today Polly is overjoyed at the news of a do-over and gushing with gratitude: "I'm so happy to hear that the Boston Athletic Association will allow thousands of runners like myself .. the chance to finish what we started in 2014. We are so appreciate of this opportunity."

Mitch Potter is the Star's Washington Bureau Chief, his third foreign posting after previous assignments to London and Jerusalem. Potter led the Toronto Star’s coverage of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, where he won a 2006 National Newspaper Award for his reportage. His dispatches include datelines from 33 countries since 2000. Follow him on Twitter: @MPwrites

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