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Marathon runners raised record $38.4m for charity in 2014

More than 32,000 runners started the 2014 Boston Marathon.

Bill Greene/Globe Staff

More than 32,000 runners started the 2014 Boston Marathon.

Runners in this year’s Boston Marathon, an event revived as a joyful messenger of spring after the 2013 terrorist bombings, tapped into a deep well of generosity and raised an unprecedented $38.4 million for charity, nearly double last year’s tally, organizers announced Tuesday.

“At some level, it was an attack felt everywhere, and I think the fund-raising this year reflects the depth and breadth of that resilience,” said Tom Grilk, executive director of the Boston Athletic Association, which sponsors the Marathon.

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On race day, 3,150 of the 32,408 runners who answered the starting gun were given slots because they were running for charity, compared with 2,600 the year before. The Boston Athletic Association and John Hancock Financial, another Marathon sponsor, provide nonprofit organizations with bibs so runners could raise money on behalf of charities.

Some of those entries were reserved for individuals and organizations affected by the bombing, including local hospitals, One Fund Boston, and the Martin W. Richard Charitable Foundation, named for the 8-year-old Dorchester boy killed in the attacks.

Many runners who qualify to participate in the race based on their performance in other marathons also raise money for charity, but the BAA said it tracks only the contributions raised by those who were wearing one of the charity bibs.

The experience of the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge, which reported raising more money than any other entry, illustrates the sense of determination that defined this year’s race.

The runners collected more than $8 million for the Claudia Adams Barr Program in Innovative Basic Cancer Research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, compared with $4.7 million last year, the organization said.

The race also marked the 25th year that Dana-Farber has been raising money through the Marathon, attracting more than 700 runners, compared with 550 the year before, said Cathleen Genova, a spokeswoman. By 2013, Dana-Farber had collected more than $61 million through the race, she said.

“We had more runners this year on the team,” Genova said. “It was just an exciting year.”

Last year, runners raised $20 million for charities in the Marathon, a record at the time.

“This year and the last year since the attack on Boston, it has been a singularity in every way, fund-raising included,” Grilk said. “The legacy is one of resilience, strength, and determination to carry forward.”

Race organizers expanded the field, making it the largest since 38,708 runners signed up for the 100th race in 1996. Organizers reserved spots for about 5,600 runners who were unable to finish last year after twin bombings killed three people and wounded more than 260 others, the BAA said.

Grilk said the number of slots set aside for fund-raising runners for 2015 is under review.

The nonprofit established in honor of Martin Richard raised $1.25 million through the race, said Larry Marchese, a spokesman for the Richard family and the foundation they launched.

“The 102 runners who made up Team MR8 in raising $1.25 million far exceeded the expectations of the Richard family and everyone around them,” Marchese said.

Runners who participated on behalf of One Fund Boston raised more than $816,000, said Dot Joyce, a spokeswoman.

“It’s tremendous, the outpouring of generosity seen around the world for our community,” she said.

Pete Riehl was among those who ran the 26.2 miles to benefit One Fund Boston, which was established by civic leaders to help those injured during the attacks. The 46-year-old from Brookline raised more than $106,000.

“Frankly, raising the money was the easy part,” said Riehl, managing director for Bain Capital LLC. “I think for everyone, it was an easy event to raise money for. You could tell by the enthusiasm of the crowd.”

The Lingzi Foundation, established by the family of bombing victim Lingzi Lu, raised about $25,000 from eight runners, said John Chu, a partner in a law firm representing Lu’s family and the nonprofit.

“People were very generous,” he said.

Thirteen runners raised $120,000 for the Krystle Campbell Scholarship Fund at the University of Massachusetts Boston, which honors the 29-year-old Medford native killed in the bombing, school spokesman Robert P. Connolly said in an e-mail.

Nearly $207,000 was raised by 39 participants running in remembrance of Sean A. Collier, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer allegedly killed by the suspected Marathon bombers, said Andrew Carleen, a school spokesman. The donations went to a memorial fund honoring Collier, Carleen said.

Miles for Miracles, which supports Boston Children’s Hospital, raised more than $2.7 million, said Stacy Devine, associate director of special events.

A total of 360 runners supported the hospital, compared with previous years, when about 210 runners signed up to run, Devine said.

At Boston Medical Center, runners raised $1.1 million, compared with a little more than $300,000 the year before, said Norman Stein, vice president of development. This year, the hospital had bibs for 107 runners. Last year, there were only 35.

“Having access to so many more numbers . . . allowed us to reach out through the runners to literally thousands of additional people,” Stein said. “It allowed us to broaden our network in a way that takes many, many years to achieve.”

Laura Crimaldi can be reached at laura.crimaldi@globe.com.
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