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An Open Letter From Former Boston Marathon Champions

Former Boston champions vow to return to race.

The following statement was released on April 19 from the collective group of former Boston Marathon champions as a show of solidarity to support the victims of the tragic events at this year’s Boston Marathon and to support the Boston Athletic Association and Boston Marathon.

We, the undersigned Boston Marathon champions, wish to offer our deepest sympathies to the individuals and families harmed by Monday’s tragic bomb explosions.

At the same time, we express our appreciation to the citizens of Boston who have embraced us for so many years, and we likewise declare our support for future Boston Marathons. We shall return.

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Some of us will toe the starting line again next April, even though we had no such intention before Monday’s events. Others will return to swell the sideline and sidewalk crowds more fully than ever before. All of us, even if not present in person, will be there in spirit.

The Boston Marathon has long been known for its start in rural Hopkinton, its screeching coeds at Wellesley College, and its leg-searing Heartbreak Hill. These, however, are mere geographies. To us, the essence of Boston has always been its huge, supportive crowds–the biggest, loudest, and most knowledgeable in the running world.

Those killed and wounded on Monday had gathered at the finish-line area with a single purpose: to cheer for Boston marathoners. That makes them part of our extended family. When they cheer for one Boston runner, they cheer for all of us.

We will never forget this year’s victims or the millions like them who line the Hopkinton-to-Boston streets each April, challenging us to be our best. Without them, we could not run so strong or reach our goals.

We know they will be back next April in greater numbers than ever and more enthusiastic than ever. They are resilient, they are defiant, and they are enduring. So are we.

We agree with President Obama, who said yesterday in Boston: “Next year, on the third Monday in April, the world will return to this great American city to run harder than ever, and to cheer even louder, for the 118th Boston Marathon.  Bet on it.”

We’re betting on it. We shall return.

Gayle Barron: 1978
Sara Mae Berman: 1969, 1970, 1971
Amby Burfoot: 1968
Jack Fultz: 1976
Roberta Gibb: 1966, 1967, 1968
Jacqueline Hansen: 1973
Ron Hill: 1970
Nina Kuscsik: 1972
Greg Meyer: 1983
Lorraine Moller: 1984
Uta Pippig: 1994, 1995, 1996
Lisa Weidenbach Rainsberger: 1985
Bill Rodgers: 1975, 1978, 1979, 1980
Allison Roe: 1981
Alberto Salazar: 1982
Joan Benoit Samuelson: 1979, 1983