The Boston Athletic Association has extended invitational entries for next year's Boston Marathon to 467 people who were "personally and profoundly impacted" by the bombings at this year's race.
The B.A.A. accepted written applications from Nov. 18-27 for the race bibs, which were set aside for those who were most tangibly affected by the events of April 15.
Association spokesman Jack Fleming told Runner's World Newswire that 1,179 entrants submitted the short essay necessary to be considered for one of the numbers. A committee from the B.A.A. reviewed the entries and notified the entrants last week.
"Many who submitted a request provided thoughtful and compelling accounts of their experiences last April. A committee from the B.A.A. needed to make many difficult decisions during its review," the B.A.A. wrote on its site. "Our process in no way ignores or diminishes the very real and significant impact suffered by so many."
In addition to describing their connection to this year's events, applicants had to demonstrate that they could finish a marathon within 6 hours and 30 minutes. The accepted applicants who decide to enter the marathon will pay a $325 registration fee. Fleming said the B.A.A. expects that most of those invited will register.
One of the accepted runners was Robert Wheeler, who finished this year's marathon just before the bombs exploded near the finish line. In what became one of the day's iconic images, Wheeler used the shirt he'd run in as a tourniquet on the leg of a spectator.
As it turned out, Wheeler ran this year's marathon with a friend's number. In interviews with Runner's World after the race, Wheeler said he wanted to qualify for 2014 and run under his own name. He was unable to do so before registration for next year's marathon closed, but he later qualified with a time that will be good for 2015 registration.
In his application for one of the invitational numbers, Wheeler told the B.A.A., "I will run the race either way, not for me, not for them, but for a girl whom was feet away from me and I did not have enough hands to help, for those who can't."