On Feb. 5, the Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.) released the Boston Marathon World Run application. This app, available on Apple, Android and online, was developed with the sole purpose of bringing the world together for the 118th Boston Marathon. The app, which is free, accomplishes that and more.
Uniting runners across the globe
Since last year's marathon, there has been a huge outpouring of hopeful runners. The B.A.A. says there were more applicants than ever and far more than they could possibly accommodate. Qualifying for the Boston Marathon is tough business. The run is 26 miles and 385 yards long with some particularly difficult stretches. Qualifying times range from 3 hours and 5 minutes to 5 hours and 25 minutes, the latter time being for runners 80 and older. The B.A.A. takes the fastest runners first and fills spots from there until it runs out of room.
After increasing the field to accommodate 36,000 qualified and charity runners, the B.A.A. developed the World Run virtual experience to allow "all runners, regardless of ability or geography, [to] run a distance of their choosing and participate in the athletic spirit of the event."
Showing solidarity with Boston
Boston Marathon World Run may not be the same as running the Hopkinton to Boylston Street route, but it eliminates all of the prerequisites on race day. It does not matter how fast, how old (or young) or how capable a runner is when he or she uses the B.A.A. app. All runners have to do is sign up and decide how much they want to run. You even get a printable bib number.
With the Boston Marathon World Run app, runners can plot any course they like, of any distance, from anywhere in the world using interactive maps. If they want to run the full marathon and even add a Heartbreak Hill in there for good measure, they can. If they want to do just a mile on race day to show their solidarity with the multinational runners, they can do that, too. The app allows users to choose any number of miles they want. They can even join virtual teams or start their own.
Exemplifying the spirit of the race
The spirit of running is in this new app. It is all about setting a personal goal and achieving it. If runners achieve their goals by the evening of race day, they get a finisher badge, but they do not have to run them all on race day. Participants have the time between downloading the app and the end of the marathon to meet their goals. They can also share their goals on social networks to garner support. Logging in requires Facebook, Google Plus or an email address.
Boston Marathon World Run does more than just let runners reach their goals and become part of one of the most historic races of all time. It allows them to pledge their miles and donations to the The One Fund. This charitable organization was founded after the bombing of 2013 and it benefits survivors and family members of the victims.
Shelly Barclay is a professional freelance writer and amateur author. She writes on a variety of topics from food to mysteries. She loves to share the culture and rich history of her birthplace and home, Boston, with the rest of the world. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.
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