Boston Marathon’s plan to hand out 70K medals roils runners

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FILE – In this April 17, 2017, file photo, runners head down the stretch to the finish line in the 121st Boston Marathon in Boston. Rival camps in the running world began snapping at each other’s heels in March 2021 after the Boston Athletic Association, which still hopes to hold a truncated in-person edition of the footrace in October, said it would award medals to up to 70,000 athletes if they go the distance wherever they are. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)

BOSTON (AP) — The Boston Marathon’s mid-pandemic plan to hand out coveted medals to 70,000 people who walk or run the 26.2-mile distance wherever they are has roiled the usually genteel running world.

The Boston Athletic Association still hopes to hold an in-person race in October, but will cut the field size to make it safer for athletes and spectators.

As a consolation prize, it’s offering medals to people who complete a virtual version.

Some runners who’ve spent years training to qualify for the real thing say the BAA is cheapening the experience.

Others are denouncing the complaints as elitist.

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