America’s storied Boston Marathon will exclude runners who currently live in Russia and Belarus.
The Boston Athletic Association (BAA) this week announced that it will not allow Russian and Belarusian runners to participate in this year’s Boston Marathon. The ban extends to runners who currently reside in either country and that the BAA had previously accepted to compete.
Organizers made the announcement less than 2 weeks before the race, which will take place on April 18, 2022.
The BAA’s ruling will not affect Russian or Belarusian runners who are already registered for events but aren’t current residents of the aforementioned countries. This measure allows those pre-registered and accepted athletes to compete, but not under their country’s flag.
The BAA took the ruling a step further and said they will not recognize Russian or Belarusian flags, nor the countries they represent, until further notice.
‘Support to the People of Ukraine’
“We believe that running is a global sport, and as such, we must do what we can to show our support to the people of Ukraine,” BAA president and CEO Tom Grilk said in a statement. “Like so many around the world, we are horrified and outraged by what we have seen and learned from the reporting in Ukraine.”
Athletes who can no longer participate in this year’s marathon will likely receive a refund for their entry fee, according to BAA organizers. As well, the organization will offer all Ukrainians who can’t compete this year a refund for their entry fee, or the option to defer their race spot to an event in the future.
Last year, according to Boston Marathon statistics, 35 Russian and 12 Ukrainian runners entered the marathon. The Boston Marathon is the world’s oldest annual marathon and is among the six most prestigious marathons globally.
With the ban, Boston Marathon officials joined the likes of major climbing organizations, which previously canceled all events on Russian soil.