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    BAA offers runners deferral: Wait till next year

    It was so hot, the Boston Athletic Association told runners headed to Monday’s Boston Marathon they should think about going home. Come back next year, when the temperatures may not reach the mid-80s.

    The field of entrants for the 2012 Marathon was 26,716, but after the numerous warnings about the danger of running in the excessive heat predicted for race day, the BAA offered a year’s deferral to runners who picked up their numbers but chose not to run. Novice, even intermediate runners, were encouraged to put off their marathon for a year.

    There were 22,426 official starters Monday, which is 98.13 percent of those who picked up an official packet. There were 427 who did not start the race and therefore qualify for a deferral to next year. There is, however, no refund and they must pay the entry fee again next year.

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    There were 3,863 numbers unclaimed by the end of the Runners’ Expo and those runners do not have a deferred spot in next year’s race. Jack Fleming said that represented 14 percent of the field - no-shows usually number about 8 percent. Of the runners not picking up numbers, more than 2,000 were from the Third Wave, the last and slowest group of runners to start.

    BARBARA MATSON