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Front-line workers gifted entries into Boston Marathon

April 19, 2021 GMT

BOSTON (AP) — Five front-line workers and community members were gifted entries into this fall’s Boston Marathon on Monday, the Patriots’ Day holiday when the race is normally run.

The Boston Globe reports Boston Marathon champion Des Linden surprised the five after they jogged across the finish line with her during a ceremonial mile-long run. This year’s marathon will take place in October because of the ongoing pandemic.

“It means the world to me, honestly,” Chris Vasquez, a member of the local Pioneers Run Crew, told the Globe. “I was definitely blindsided.”

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The others invited were Dorothy Anderson, a member of the Massachusetts National Guard; Jessie Chen, who recently organized a #StopAsianHate relay along the marathon route; Lindsay Devers, a nurse anesthetist at Massachusetts General Hospital and Rochelle Solomon, a compliance officer at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Linden, who won the marathon in 2018, also announced Monday she’ll compete in the 125th running.

“I’ve fallen in love with this race and I’m always excited to be here,” she said, according to the paper. “I’m thrilled to be back.”

This year’s race will have space for 20,000 entrants — a smaller field than prior years. The marathon was first run in 1897. It was canceled for the first time last year because of the pandemic.