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Boston Marathon Reflects on Public Good With “Year of Service”

The Boston Athletic Association is celebrating both public service and military service with its Boston Marathon theme this year—which comes with a social campaign, #PassTheBaton, that reflects on a special edition of the marathon a century ago.

Every year, the Boston Athletic Association picks a theme for the Boston Marathon.

For the 122nd edition of the race that takes place on Monday, April 16, BAA is celebrating a “Year of Service,” one that looks to honor first responders and those who aim to help the public, such as law enforcement officers, firefighters, doctors, nurses and EMTs—all of whom played a major role during the terror incident that took place at the event five years ago.

“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,” BAA CEO Tom Grilk said in a December news release. “Our Year of Service theme will help showcase and celebrate the spirit that these stories symbolize.”

The service focus also draws attention to the event’s historic military ties. In 1918, the Boston Marathon became a military relay race, a World War I-era initiative that drew attention to locals who served in the various branches of the military. This year’s race will include a special military relay to honor the 100th anniversary of the event.

Perhaps the most visible way that BAA is drawing attention to this is through a social campaign it launched earlier this month, called #PassTheBaton. The social campaign nods to the batons that were passed along during the 1918 race, and the association is using the campaign to highlight veterans, military members, and those who have served their communities in ways large and small.

The goal of the campaign? To encourage the public to follow in their footsteps.

(rlarue/iStock Editorial/Getty Images Plus)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a senior editor for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. MORE

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