Marathon runner wants to finish the marathon he started - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Marathon runners ask for second chance to cross the finish line

(RNN) - A runner who was unable to finish the Boston Marathon when back-to-back bombs went off at the finish line is petitioning for a second chance for himself and the 5,700 others who trained but never completed the race.

Ryan Polly, of Williston, VT, wants automatic entry into next year's race for everyone who was unable to finish this year.

"We were not able to experience the exhilaration that only crossing the finish line can bring," the petition on Change.org reads. "The most exciting day of our lives turned out to be the scariest. We were lucky that we hadn't quite made it to the finish and therefore were safe from harm. However, we will forever carry emotional scars from those horrifying moments."

Polly says he trained for months in sub-zero temperatures and, like many runners, worked hard to gain entrance to the race.

He was a mile from finishing when two pressure cooker bombs went off at the finish line.

All remaining runners were stopped in their tracks and told the race was over.

"We cannot say we accomplished our goals. Instead we have to say we almost finished," the petition reads.

As of Thursday, the petition had received more than 21,000 signatures.

Closure is something many of the runners who signed the petition say they struggle with.

Janine Forgione of Cary, NC was so close to finishing, "I could taste my medal."

"I think we as a group are put into a very difficult position to ask for closure," she said in response to the petition. "I waffle between the guilt for asking to run again and then being angry that I didn't finish and then the worst is that I feel, in light of what happened ... like I shouldn't ask at all." 

The marathon, the most prestigious in running, has strict qualifying guidelines participants must meet.

In a statement, The Boston Athletic Association says "We're communicating now with all of our partners as we continue planning the 2014 Boston Marathon. As we work on our plan, and options for that group of runners which did have the opportunity to cross the finish line of the race, we ask those runners for continued patience."

The bombings killed three and injured more than 200.

Copyright 2013 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.

  • News 7 Poll

  • Should runners who were unable to cross the finish line at the Boston Marathon be guaranteed a spot in next year's event?

  • Thank you for participating in our poll. Here are the results so far:

    Yes, they should be given the chance to finish what they started
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    No, they should have to qualify
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