BOSTON (CBS) — For those working in hospitals and other organizations on the front line in the battle against coronavirus, every day probably feels like they’re running a marathon. When the battle ends, some will have an opportunity to actually take part in Boston’s famous 26.2 mile race.
As a gesture of gratitude for their lifesaving work, the Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.) and principal sponsor John Hancock will contribute 124 Boston Marathon invitational entry bibs to those responding hospitals battling the COVID-19 pandemic, the Boston Resiliency Fund, and organizations on the front lines of the crisis.
The extra bibs given to hospitals and organizations will allow them to raise more money for their causes. For example, Massachusetts General Hospital established their Emergency Response Marathon Team following the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings with bibs provided by John Hancock. They have raised more than $2.3 million to support the training and resources throughout the hospital, which have helped in the current coronavirus battle.
The 124th running of the Boston Marathon was set to take place on Monday, April 20, but has been postponed until Sept. 14 due to the pandemic.
In addition, John Hancock, the B.A.A., Governor Charlie Baker and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh are calling on the community to collectively share gratitude for the essential workforce by lighting their buildings blue, displaying signs of gratitude in their homes and showing support online.
John Hancock will light its historic weather beacon blue in honor of those working on the front lines, starting Monday, April 6 until the stay-at-home advisory is lifted, and they’re asking other buildings to do the same.
The MBTA will light Government Station blue and nearby City Hall will do the same. The Department of Transportation will light the Zakim Bridge in Boston and the Burns Bridge in Shrewsbury blue from April 6th until the morning of April 21st.
On One Boston Day, April 15th, John Hancock will also put a thank you flag on the company’s 200 Berkeley Street building.
“Massachusetts has been John Hancock’s home for over 150 years, and we’ve seen before the unwavering spirit of our partners and neighbors during difficult times,” said Marianne Harrison, President and CEO of the company. “The Boston Marathon has always been a collective celebration of persistence and resilience, and we are looking forward to cheering from the finish line again on September 14th. Right now, our focus is on the essential frontline workers, and we are grateful to them for risking their lives for us.”
“Our contribution of invitational entries into the postponed Boston Marathon is intended to show our appreciation of the healthcare and frontline workers in this unprecedented battle,” said Tom Grilk, CEO of the B.A.A. “The essential workforce, hospitals and medical support have always been here for us, and we want to honor them by partnering with our principal sponsor John Hancock on collaborative efforts to support them at this crucial time.”
“The Commonwealth is fortunate to be home to so many resilient and dedicated residents as we fight COVID-19, and we are especially grateful for the countless hours our essential workers are putting into this battle,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “This is a great opportunity to show how united the Commonwealth stands in the fight against COVID-19, so we are asking organizations and individuals across Massachusetts to join us in showing support for the dedicated essential workers on the front lines of the fight by turning the Commonwealth blue.”
“Boston is a city known for its collaborative, team spirit. We know how to lift each other up in the face of adversity,” said Mayor Walsh. “I’m proud to work with Governor Baker, John Hancock and the B.A.A. on this effort – and join them in encouraging all businesses and citizens to go blue. Let’s show our frontline workers that there’s an army of support behind each and every one of them.”
John Hancock has been the principal sponsor of the Boston Marathon for 35 years, and as part of its longstanding commitment to build a healthier, more equitable Boston, the company helped the City launch the Boston Resiliency Fund as one of the first to contribute $1 million to support COVID-19 relief for the most vulnerable and affected populations in Boston. The B.A.A. also contributed $100,000 to the Boston Resiliency Fund, in addition to donating race-related medical supplies to agencies across Massachusetts, including medical and non-medical grade gloves, medical grade face shields, face masks, IV fluid bags, hand sanitizer, antiseptic, thermometer covers, nebulizer tubing sets, and ponchos.
WBZ-TV is your local TV home for the Boston Marathon, and will bring wall-to-wall coverage of the race on Sept. 14.