BOSTON, Mass. - 10,000 or bust: That’s the number of participants organizers hope will run the Boston Marathon on April 21.
The catch: the runners won’t be in Boston, but in their hometowns.
A year after two people bombed the popular running event, officials at the Boston Athletic Association wanted to find a way to include more runners into the marathon, even if they couldn’t make it to Massachusetts.
Through their new app, Boston Marathon World Run , runners from around the world will have a chance to participate.
Over 100 runners from Maryland have signed up to participate in the hopes of giving back and remembering what happened a year ago.
“After the attack last year, I made up my mind that some way, some how I would be involved“, said Annapolis resident Matthew Killian. “The race this year won't be just a race. To me, it'll be about the indomitable spirit of America. It'll be historic.”
Killian, who owns the 5 Peaks Marshall Arts Academy, got the idea after reading about it in a magazine. He plans to run the marathon on the day of the race.
“I’m well aware of the qualification policy for Boston, so I was automatically intrigued,” he said.
During the marathon last year, brothers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev set off two pressure cooker bombs throughout the race. After going off, three people were killed and hundreds more were injured.
T.K. Skenderian, marketing manager for the Boston Athletic Association, said the organization was looking for a way to incorporate more participants into race day.
With the bombings last year, the race organizers thought it would be a good time to be innovative.
“We know entries are going to be high,” he said. “ We wanted to make sure everyone could take part, no matter how far they ran.”
In order to participate, runners download the Boston Marathon World Run app. If they choose, participants can raise money for the organization's One Foundation.
Participants had signed up in 91 countries and raised more than $12,000 as of early April.
“It doesn’t matter how far you run as long as you do it,” Skendarian said. “Our goal is to both engage and motivate future runners.”
Noelle Tarr, marketing director of Fleet Feet in Annapolis, said the app has been a great way to both get people into running and get people involved with the Boston Marathon.
On April 15, the running store hosted a memorial event called Run For Boston to remember the events of a year ago.
“We actually did this last year with 24 hours notice,” she said. “We had a huge turnout and decided to do it again this year.”
Tarr said runners were encouraged to use the Twitter hashtag #rundreamboston to show what their dream is.
“We want to show that we are a strong community,” she said. “That in times of tragedy we will persevere and come together to remember.”
When Killian finishes his marathon, he will receive a race bib and a certificate of completion.
He plans to display it proudly on his wall.