Boston Marathon charity runners were devastated by the cancellation of the iconic race due to the coronavirus pandemic
Boston Marathon charity runners say they deserve spot in future race after coronavirus cancellation.
Boston Marathon charity runners devastated by the cancellation of the iconic race due to the coronavirus pandemic say they are not getting a fair shake from race organizers, who will not give them a spot in a future race after raising upwards of $10,000 each this year.
Many charity runners are sounding the alarm after they’ve seen how other major marathons have handled these unprecedented circumstances — allowing 2020 fundraising efforts to carry over to future years.
“All charity runners are asking is to be treated fairly,” said Tony Clish, who started an online petition for existing fundraising to count for 2021. “I’ve raised $15,000, and I don’t have a place in a future Boston Marathon. That feels wrong.”
Clish — who lives 30 miles outside of London, England — in his petition notes how the New York City Marathon has allowed charity runners to have a three-year period to defer their bibs, and they’re not obligated to do further fundraising to secure their place.
“Boston runners feel exploited,” said Clish, 58, who has been raising money for the American Red Cross, one of 171 charities involved in the 2020 marathon fundraising programs.
The Boston Athletic Association said they offered all 31,500 people registered for the 2020 marathon the same opportunity to request a full refund of their entry fee. Some charity runners have been offered a spot in the 2021 marathon, but they have to fundraise again.
“With the 2021 Boston Marathon being just nine short months away, and with the unknown nature of the pandemic, no participants were offered deferments for a future year,” the association wrote in a statement.
Some charities are acknowledging the challenge presented to 2020 runners and offering them a chance to run in 2021 with a lower fundraising minimum.
“The B.A.A. provides each nonprofit with its invitational entries,” the association said. “Each organization then directly manages its own application process, athlete selection, and fundraising minimums, deadlines, and requirements.”
At the American Red Cross of Massachusetts, for example, runners are required to raise 50% of the 2020 fundraising minimum to participate in next year’s marathon.
“The American Red Cross of Massachusetts intends to honor our commitment to ensure every interested runner on the 2020 team has a path forward to participation on Team Red Cross in either the 2021 or a future Boston Marathon event,” Kelly Isenor of the American Red Cross of Massachusetts said in a statement.
But even raising an additional $5,000 to secure a bib for next year is simply not feasible, said Emerson College senior Maddie Lynch, 21, who has already raised $10,000 for the American Red Cross.
“Raising that money has been so rewarding,” she said. “I reached out to every person close to me, and tapped every resource, really scraping for every dollar. An extra $5,000 just wouldn’t be possible.”
Given the uncertainty over the next year and the field limitations, it would make more sense for 2020 charity runners to receive a bib that’s valid for the next five years, said Michelle Mirzoian, 40, who lives in Chicago.
“The B.A.A owes me a spot in that race,” said Mirzoian, who has raised money for 261 Fearless. “To just tell us to go raise it all again next year, during a recession and pandemic, is just heartless.”
posted Tuesday August 4th
by Rick Sobey