Non-elite women with breakthrough races in 2018 Boston Marathon will get prize money after all

“Given the nature of this year’s race, we want to recognize and celebrate some of the performances that made this year’s race special," the BAA said.

Desiree Linden, of the United States, center in black and yellow jacket, strides out from the start with the elite women during the 122nd running of the Boston Marathon in Hopkinton, Mass., Monday, April 16, 2018. Linden won the race. (AP Photo/Mary Schwalm)
The elite women's start of the 2018 Boston Marathon. –Mary Schwalm / AP

Jessica Chichester and four other non-elite women who had breakthrough races in the 2018 Boston Marathon will get more than just a medal after all.

They will get prize money that is typically only given to runners who qualified, and opted in, for the elite women’s start (EWS).

The Boston Athletic Association, which organizes the annual 26.2-mile run from Hopkinton to Boston, announced Thursday it was breaking the rules for the five women, three of whom placed in the top 15 of the overall results and two of whom placed in the top five of the Masters Division results.

“Given the nature of this year’s race, we want to recognize and celebrate some of the performances that made this year’s race special,” the BAA said in a statement. “The B.A.A. will ensure that these five additional women (all of whom started in Wave One) receive a financial award for their net-time performance this year. These awards will be made in addition to the existing prize money that will be paid to EWS competitors, and equal with the amounts paid to corresponding EWS placements.”

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“I could not be more happy that the BAA has decided to recognize not only the race I ran, but the races that Veronica and Becky also ran,” Chichester, a 31-year-old nurse from Brooklyn, New York, said in a statement. “What I did not expect and was heartened by is how the incredible support I received from the public did not end when I crossed the finish line on that 26.2 mile journey, but continued to this day. They have sustained me and been a reminder that people are good to the core. I would like to thank them, as well as the BAA and John Hancock.”

Here are the runners, their times, and the financial award they will receive, according to the BAA:

Open runners:

  • 5th place: Jessica Chichester, 2:45:23, $15,000
  • 13th place: Veronica Jackson, 2:49:41, $1,700
  • 14th place: Becky Snelson, 2:49:50, $1,500

Masters runners:

  • 3rd place: Joanna Bourke Martignoni, 2:53:19, $2,500
  • 5th place: Brenda Hodge, 2:58:50, $1,000

“The participants, volunteers, spectators, and public officials at the 2018 Boston Marathon turned in extraordinary performances amid exceptional weather conditions,” the BAA said in its statement. “We are especially proud of five women in Wave One of the Boston Marathon who finished with net-times (meaning Start timing mat to Finish timing mat) that placed them in the top 15 of the overall results, and in the top five of the Masters Division results. Historically, and per published race rules, these top positions that are awarded prize money have almost always been held by women who race from the Elite Women’s Start (EWS).”

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The BAA said it will be convening, as it normally does following the marathon, in the coming weeks to consider all facets of the storied race and “any alterations that should be made.”

“We remain committed to having a separate women’s race to continue to highlight these athletes and remain willing to address individual athlete’s requests for inclusion in that group,” the organization said.