BOSTON (CBS/AP) — Runners who couldn’t complete this year’s Boston Marathon because of the bombs at the finish line have created an online petition asking organizers to let them into next year’s race.

The petition at had almost 20,000 signatures late Thursday morning.

The Boston Athletic Association released the following statement to WBZ-TV in response:

In the days after the marathon, the B.A.A. received thousands of e-mails from runners in the race, and many from those who did not have the opportunity to cross the finish line.

Many have offered suggestions on how to help those runners find closure. While each of the 5,700 runners who didn’t cross the finish line has his or her own opinion on how to attain the closure, the common thread is one of persistence.

We have listened and read every e-mail and voicemail, and we have been touched. While it’s impossible to respond or reply to all of them, we’ve been in continuous communication with our runners, and in particular, those runners who did not cross the finish line on where we stand in the process.

Planning a marathon takes a lot of teamwork, and planning a marathon in the wake of the events of April 15 takes even more teamwork, communication, and planning.

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.

About 5,700 people were stopped on the course because of the explosions that killed three people and wounded hundreds more on Boylston Street on April 15. Ryan Polly of Vermont was approaching the 35K checkpoint when the bombs went off.

He started the petition, which asks for runners like him to be allowed to register in the 2014 race.

Boston Athletic Association officials say they can’t make decisions about an expanded field before discussing it with the eight cities and towns along the course.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)



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