Organization’s Year of Service celebrates service to country, mission, and community.

BOSTON, MA: –The Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.) announced its campaign for the 2018 Boston Marathon, the “Year of Service”.  The Year of Service will celebrate the altruism that bonds country, mission, and community leading up to the 122nd Boston Marathon on April 16.

As a result of to America’s involvement in World War I, the 1918 Boston Marathon was held as a military relay race, unlike its traditional fashion. Ten-man teams representing various military branches ran from Ashland to Boston, passing a baton along the course. The relay served as a unifying moment for community and country.

To commemorate the centennial anniversary of the 1918 relay, the Boston Marathon will incorporate a special Military Relay within this April’s race. Service members from the eight cities and towns along the race route and different branches of the military will be part of this ceremonial occurrence.

Additionally, as part of the Year of Service, law enforcement personnel, fire fighters, doctors, nurses, and EMTs will be recognized for their service to their communities. Also, event volunteers will be celebrated for their service towards the Boston Marathon and the B.A.A.’s mission of promoting a healthy lifestyle. With 2018 marking the five-year anniversary of the April 15, 2013 tragedy, first responders and volunteers who served that day will also be honored.

“Since the inaugural running 122 years ago, the Boston Marathon has come to represent not only the pinnacle of road racing, but the definition of community spirit,” said Tom Grilk, CEO of the B.A.A. “Some of the more meaningful stories that embody our event come from those who have served, whether they be military members; police, fire and EMT’s; or the dedicated volunteers that bring endless enthusiasm each year. Our Year of Service theme will help showcase and celebrate the spirit that these stories symbolize.”

The B.A.A. will share stories of service through its various social media channels, and will encourage members of the running community to ‘Pass the Baton’ forward with acts of kindness to those who serve. As a nod to the relay batons used in 1918, the hashtag #PassTheBaton will be used to highlight many of these stories.

Throughout race weekend, individuals will be recognized and honored in various ways, including during the race and at the three-day John Hancock Sports & Fitness Expo. All Boston Marathon runners and family members will be able to extend a special thank you to those who they feel embody the Year of Service ideals.

The 122nd Boston Marathon will be run on April 16, 2018, and is supported for the 33rd consecutive year by John Hancock.