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BAA: Winning 5,633 new fans

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The Boston Athletic Association won many new fans by announcing Thursday that 5,633 runners who were prevented by the terrorist bombing from finishing last month’s Boston Marathon will be invited back for the 2014 race. It’s a generous — and entirely appropriate — gesture; without it, many of those marathoners might have been prevented from running the race again if they were unable to secure one of the coveted spots.

Part of the credit goes to Ryan Polly of Burlington, a first-time participant who was stopped less than a mile from the finish line. He organized a 5K benefit race in his home state of Vermont that raised $15,000 for bombing victims. His petition allowed runners like him to state their desire for another chance to finish the race, which led to what Polly described as “amicable” discussions with the BAA.

Now that runners who weren’t allowed to finish in 2013 will get another chance in 2014, they should identify themselves with distinctive gear, to inspire full-throated cheers from spectators, vowing that nothing will ever stop them again.

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