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BOSTON (AP) - Those who were "personally and profoundly impacted" by the explosions at the Boston Marathon finish line will be able to run in next year's race under a special invitation that event organizers extended on Monday to those "with a special connection to the events of April 15."
Having already expanded the field by 9,000 to accommodate those who were stopped on the course when two bombs went off at the finish line, as well as those who want to run the first race after the bombings, the Boston Athletic Association said it has set aside up to a few hundred additional entries for those who can make their case in a 250-word essay submitted to the organization's website.
"We are making additional entries available by request to those who were personally and profoundly impacted," B.A.A. Executive Director Tom Grilk said.
Grilk said this is in addition to a special allocation of entries for The One Fund, the charity established to help the bombing victims, and for first-responders and for Boston-area hospitals where the wounded were treated. Nor is it specifically for athletes with disabilities, including those wounded in the explosions; a separate process is designed for them.
Those who would like to apply need to make their case in 250 words or fewer and submit it to the B.A.A. website, www.baa.org, by Nov. 27. A committee appointed by the B.A.A. will allocate the entries and notify those who were successful on Dec. 4.
Those entering must be 18 years old on race day and be prepared to show they can compete the 26.2-mile distance in less than 6 hours, 30 minutes.
Three people were killed and at least 260 wounded when two bombs exploded on Boylston Street during this year's race.
An expanded field of 36,000 _ the second-biggest in the race's 118-year history _ is expected to line up on April 21 for the run from Hopkinton to Boston's Back Bay.
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