(RNN) - Whether you're able to run 26.2 miles or only 1, you can access the spirit of the Boston Marathon through an online application that connects runners to the Boston Strong community.
After last year's tragedy, the Boston Athletic Association (BAA) saw a major uptick in signups for the Boston Marathon. And even though organizers increased the field size by 9,000, making a total of 36,000 spots in 2014, it was still not enough to meet demand.
So for the first time, the BAA created the Boston Marathon World Run app for both Apple and Android devices, which is also available via the website www.bostonmarathonworldrun.org.
"Through technology, we wanted to create something that engendered that same sense of community and resiliency as the race itself, ensuring that no one would be denied the chance to have their own 2014 Boston Marathon experience. The app does just that," BAA Executive Director Tom Grilk said in a press release.
The Boston Marathon World Run, whose motto is "Any ability. Any Distance. Anywhere." was created to allow anyone in the world the chance to run in their own personal Boston Marathon.
It works quite simply. Participants can register via the app or the website and pledge to walk, run, or wheel any distance they desire before or during the race on April 21.
And when participants have completed their pledge, they will receive a printable bib number, a digital finishers' medal and a printable finishers' certificate.
Boston Marathon World Run also utilizes social media connections to create a virtual running community. It allows access to a world map of how many people are pledging and how far they are running each day, as well as featured photographs and videos from participants.
Participants are also encouraged to contribute to One Fund Boston through both distance pledging and online donations. One Fund Boston was set up to help the families most affected by last year's bombings.
The website welcomed participants at all levels of ability and stressed an inclusive sense of community in its invitation to participate:
"Maybe it's not 26.2 miles, and maybe it's not in Boston, but there is a marathoner in all of us," it said. "We encourage you to bring it out - and be part of the Boston Marathon World Run."
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