The organizers of the Boston Marathon have implemented a new policy that gives pregnant athletes or runners who have recently had a child a chance to run a future race without having to re-qualify.
The Boston Athletic Association announced new pregnancy deferral accommodations on Tuesday, stating that it will apply to all BAA events, including the Boston Marathon.
The policy will allow registered, eligible runners who are “expecting or have recently welcomed a child into their families” to receive “a deferred entry into one of the next two subsequent future races,” according to a press release.
“In listening to our participants and stakeholders, the desire from mothers and expecting mothers to participate in our races –particularly the Boston Marathon—while also focusing on building a family was clear,” Jack Fleming, President and Chief Executive Officer of the B.A.A., said in a statement. “Women who are entered in a B.A.A. race and want to expand their family will be able to do just that without giving up a chance to participate at a future B.A.A. event.”
While running her 17th marathon in April of last year, Fiona English says she achieved one of her biggest dreams — she qualified for Boston! But a few months later, another dream came true – she found out she was pregnant.
“Did I want to be pregnant at the same time as Boston? No. I would definitely not have dreamed those two things happening together,” she said.
Her due date is two days before this year’s marathon and she decided to reach out to the Boston Athletic Association for a deferral but was told if she withdrew she would lose her registration fee and her qualifying time.
So she took to Instagram.
“I published an open letter because I was hoping to at least speak on behalf of the women’s experiences, and that’s definitely what has happened,” she said.
In three days, her post has received thousands of likes and hundreds of comments. And now the BAA has a new policy.
The announcement also detailed how if an athlete becomes pregnant again during a pregnancy or postpartum deferral period, the runner may request another consecutive pregnancy or postpartum deferral.
The BAA said the policy is effective immediately.
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