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Date: 4/6/05 
New Web Site for Boston Marathon Offers Online Tracking of Runners

Established in 1887, the Boston Athletic Association (BAA) is a non-profit organization with a mission of managing athletic events and promoting a healthy lifestyle through sports, especially running.
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URL: http://www.bostonmarathon.org/BostonMarathon

The B.A.A. (Boston Athletic Association) will broadcast every 5Km split to its web site and family and friends can track runners progress by logging in and entering their name or bib number.

The Boston Marathon is the world's oldest annual marathon and ranks as one of the world's most prestigious road racing events. The Boston Athletic Association manages this American classic, which is sponsored by John Hancock Financial Services. The Boston Marathon has distinguished itself as the pinnacle event within the sport of road racing by virtue of its traditions, longevity and method of gaining entry into the race (via qualification).

Ten years after it was established, the B.A.A. held the 24.5-mile B.A.A. Road Race to conclude the B.A.A. Games, a springtime athletic competition. The Boston Marathon, as the race would later become known, was held on April 19, 1897 with a starting field of 15 runners. Ten participants finished the inaugural run, which began in Ashland, Mass., and the race to Boston has been held in every subsequent year. In addition to its indisputable position as the world's oldest annual marathon, "Boston" is widely regarded as one of the world's most prestigious road races. The Boston Marathon is held on Patriots' Day (third Monday in April), beginning at Noon. The centennial Boston Marathon was on April 15, 1996 and drew the world's largest field of finishers (35,868). The 109th Boston Marathon is scheduled for Monday, April 18, 2005.

While its signature event remains the Boston Marathon, the B.A.A. also has a comprehensive, year-round schedule of events.

The Fifth B.A.A. Half Marathon will be run on October 9, 2005 with a field size of 4,500 runners. The race course, which starts and finishes in the Back Bay Fens at Clemente Field, showcases the beauty of Boston and Brookline's Emerald Necklace park system in the grandeur of the fall season. Highlights along the route include Frederick Law Olmsted's Jamaicaway, Riverway, and Arborway, as well as the Franklin Park Zoo. A portion of the entry fees is directed towards the Emerald Necklace Conservancy to maintain and preserve the treasured Boston landmark.

The B.A.A. is committed to introducing and encouraging the sport of running in the lives of Boston area youths. Kids running programs include Club 108 and B.A.A. Relay Challenge in the spring; cross-country in the fall (with Boston Public Schools and the Boston Parks and Recreation); and indoor track and field during the winter.

Also, the B.A.A. plays host to the annual Mayor's Cup Cross Country Races at Franklin Park in the fall. Since 1997, the B.A.A. and adidas have helped develop the event into one of the most competitive cross-country races in the eastern United States. The 15th Annual Mayor's Cup will be held on Sunday, October 24, 2004 and will include youth races and an open 5K race in addition to the men's 8k and women's 5k championship competitions.

The B.A.A. Running Club, meanwhile, extends the organization's presence over the course of the calendar year. The B.A.A. is a perennial contender at major New England road races, indoor and outdoor track meets, and cross country events. Individually, the club boasts a number of regional champions who have participated in national and international competitions. With an active membership in excess of 300 runners, nearly one-third compete in the Boston Marathon. A staff of coaches conduct weekly workouts and train top regional runners, including several Olympic Trials qualifiers each quadrennium.

Through the B.A.A. Charity Program for the Boston Marathon, approximately 1,200 runners representing 16 organizations raise more than $7 million for worthwhile causes. Since the charity program was formalized in 1994, Boston Marathon participants have raised nearly $50 million for a variety of charitable organizations.

Similarly, the Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk® in the fall has emerged as one of Boston's most successful fundraising ventures. Since 1989, the B.A.A. has helped to host the Walk on its legendary Marathon course. The Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk raises more than $5 million annually for cancer research. Walk participants have raised more than $30 million for the Jimmy Fund over the event's history. The 16th Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk will be held on Sunday, September 19, 2004.

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