New rules for 2014 Boston Marathon

By: - Thursday, Mar 6, 2014 - 1:30pm

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Photo courtesy of Wally Gobetz. Posted under the Creative Commons license.

Boston Marathon organizer, Boston Athletic Association, announced on their website last week new restrictions on what runners are allowed to bring with them on race day. The following items are prohibited:

  • Backpacks, any similar item carried over the shoulder, or handbags of any size
  • Glass containers
  • Any container capable of carrying more than 1 liter of liquid
  • Strollers, including baby strollers
  • Suitcases & rolling bags
  • Personal hydration system products (such as CamelBak®, Thor®, etc)
  • Weight vests or any sort of vest with pockets (Note: lightweight running vests are allowable)
  • Costumes covering the face or any non-form fitting
  • Bulky outfits extending beyond the perimeter of the body
  • Props (e.g. sporting equipment, military and fire/gear, signs, flags larger than 11in x 17in)
  • Any item larger than 5 inches x 15 inches x 5 inches

While there is a general understanding that these new rules are for everyone’s safety, some feel the B.A.A. is going overboard. Redditor Steel12 shared this statement in the r/running subreddit last week – the post received 717 upvotes:

I am running the boston marathon for the fourth time. I received the rules yesterday and am shocked at how far they have gone to restrict the runners. What in the world did the runners or their routines have to do with the bombing? I am saddened how far we will go as a society to give up our freedom for security.

I know it’s popular to say things like “whatever it takes to keep people safe” and “if we only save one life, it’s worth it.”

But it’s not. The people before us died in the millions to preserve our way of life. It’s easy to say but difficult to comprehend that statement. We should not be so free and loose with our freedoms and/or willingness to restrict ourselves for security. What happened to courage? People should say, “I will stand and face terrorists and will not let them change our way of life no matter what!” That is bravery, that is carrying on the American way. Cowering in the face of terrorism is shameful.

The Boston Marathon is not the first and won’t be the last to do this. We see it every day at airports (and seem willingly to tolerate it). I am saddened that the Great Boston Marathon has reacted this way. I am saddened that we are no longer brave people willing to face down our enemies.

I recognize this might not be a popular view but after reading the new rules that restrict the runners (the runners!) because some lunatic, unaffiliated with anyone, terrorized the Boston Marathon last year seems terribly misguided and cowardice to me.

In response to Steel12’s sentiment, CaptainCompost posted this comment (which received 51 upvotes):

I probably won’t run Boston until these rules relax. [link]