Every year on the third Monday in April, residents of Hopkinton, Mass. have to deal with massive crowds and traffic tie-ups because it hosts the start of the Boston Marathon.
To many people, it’s a major headache.
But after the terrorist bombings at this year’s race, the tone is changing. People want more runners.
The field is typically limited to around 25,000 runners, a number that some people want to see increased as interest in running the race has expanded dramatically — particularly after the tragedy that occurred this year. Around 5,000 runners in the field are charity and sponsor entries, which leaves 20,000 or so spots for qualifiers.
“I’m all for it,” Judy Coffey, a store owner in Hopkinton, told Runner’s World when asked about increasing the field size. “I 100 percent support whatever happens. We have to respond [to the bombings]. And if that means Hopkinton has to deal with a larger impact, so be it.”
Recently, race officials announced that the 5,633 runners who did not finish last month’s race after it was halted because of the bombings will be invited back next year. This will shrink the field even more because only about 15,000 qualifiers would be accepted into the 2014 race.
“We’ve been talking about this at work, and the consensus is that they should expand the field,” Dave Bergeron, who works in Hopkinton, told Runner’s World. “But by how much? How many?”
Boston Athletic Association Officials have yet to apply for a permit that would be required to increase the field size. But Hopkinton has spoken: They’re all for it.