BOSTON - Next year's Boston Marathon will include an additional 9,000 runners, amid a groundswell of support and interest in the wake of the bombing attack this year which killed three people and cut the event short, the marathon's organizers said Thursday.
Boosting the field size to 36,000 runners at the April 21, 2014, race would make for the second-largest turnout in its history, since 38,708 runners toed the starting line in Hopkinton, Massachusetts at the race's 100th anniversary in 1996.
"We understand many marathoners and qualifiers want to run Boston in 2014, and we appreciate the support and patience that the running community has demonstrated because of the bombings that occurred this past spring," said Tom Grilk, executive director of the Boston Athletic Association, which organizes the race.
The increase, a one-time break from the race's normal cap of 27,000 runners, will help to accommodate the 5,624 athletes who were still on the course this year, when a pair of homemade pressure-cooker bombs exploded amid thousands of spectators, volunteers and athletes at the finish line and brought the race to a halt.
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