Boston Marathon 2022: Here's Why Runners From Russia and Belarus Are Banned

Russian and Belarusian citizens residing in their home countries will no longer be allowed to compete in the upcoming 2022 Boston Marathon or the 5-kilometer race.

The 5K was scheduled for April 16 and the 26.2 mile Boston Marathon is swet to take place two days later, on April 18, 2022.

In February 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine in what NATO has described as "a hostile attack."

The fighting is believed to have led to more than one thousand civilian deaths and forced millions of Ukrainians to flee to neighboring countries.

Boston Marathon
The Elite Women's division starts the 118th Boston Marathon on April 21, 2014 in Hopkinton, Massachusetts Alex Trautwig/Getty Images

Why Are Russian and Belarusian Runners Banned From The Boston Marathon?

The Boston Athletic Association (BAA) announced on April 6 Russians and Belarusians will no longer be able to compete in either of the running events.

The move by the race organizers is yet another example of the countries' deepening isolation over the invasion of Ukraine.

However, Russian and Belarusian citizens, who were accepted into the 2022 Boston Marathon or 2022 BAA 5K as part of the open registration process but are not residents of either country, will be able to compete.

But these athletes will not be able to run under the flag of either Russia or Belarus.

Tom Grilk, BAA President and CEO said in a statement: "Like so many around the world, we are horrified and outraged by what we have seen and learned from the reporting in Ukraine.

"We believe that running is a global sport, and as such, we must do what we can to show our support to the people of Ukraine."

The BAA, its races, and events will not recognize the country affiliation or flag of Russia or Belarus until further notice. The 2022 Boston Marathon, B.A.A. 5K, and BAA Invitational Mile do not include any professional or invited athletes from Russia or Belarus.

The BAA added it will make "reasonable attempts" to refund the athletes from Russia or Belarus no longer able to run in the race," within the constraints as imposed by federal and international sanctions."

Wilson Chebet crosses the finish line during
Wilson Chebet crosses the finish line during the 125th Boston Marathon on October 11, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts Maddie Malhotra/Getty Images

The Association added it will provide all Ukrainians registered in the 126th Boston Marathon or the 5K race, who are unable to compete with a refund or option to participate another time.

The BAA will contact the relevant athletes directly later in the coming weeks.

Kicking off in 1897, the event was inspired by the success of the first marathon competition in the 1896 Summer Olympics.

The Boston Marathon is consequently the oldest annual marathon in the world and ranks as one of the best-known road racing events.

Even prior to the universally condemned invasion, Russia has not been allowed to send an official, national team to the recent Olympic Games, following allegations of systematic drug doping.

However, this penalty had a little more leeway among athletes, as the Russian team was essentially allowed to compete under a different flag, during the 2022 Winter Games, which wrapped up shortly before February's invasion.

The International Olympic Committee then recommended that athletes from Russia and Belarus be barred from future events.

Soccer's international governing body FIFA has since effectively blocked Russia from qualifying for the 2022 Qatar World Cup.

And other sports bodies have taken similar action against sporting professionals in these nations.

Newsweek has approached the Russian Sports Ministry for comment.

Runners make their way to the finish
Runners make their way to the finish line down Boylston Street during the 125th Boston Marathon in Boston, Massachusetts on October 11, 2021 JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP/Getty Images

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