Archive for the ‘Running’ Category


Running Injuries happen when you push yourself too hard too soon. Your body should have enough time to recover and adapt to training stress. Most runners want to run through the pain which often leads to worse injuries. It is important to be familiar with these running injuries and ailments and know how to prevent them. In this three-part series, I will go through the common running injuries and ailments and show some ways how to treat and prevent those conditions.

Read about the difference between “Chronic” and “Acute” Injury here.

1.) Plantar Fascitis

Plantar Fascitis is a chronic injury to the plantar aspect or the bottom part of the foot. Plantar fascitis occurs when the tendon or the thick band of tissue that connects the heel to the toes gets inflamed. Plantar fascitis is usually caused by tight calf muscles pulling on the heel when running. Also, people with a high arc on their feet are more susceptible to this injury. Although Plantar fascitis is related to stress in the plantar fascia, it can sometimes happen without obvious reasons.

How to treat Plantar Fascitis: When you start feeling pain on your plantar fascia, stop your activity and try to stretch your foot and calf. After your run, you can do trigger point release on your foot by rolling a tennis ball under your foot. Get a foot massage. Rest for at least 48 hours and progressively increase your distance when you run.

How to prevent Plantar Fascitis: Regularly stretch your feet and calves. Make sure that your shoes fit right and are still in good condition. If you have a high arc, wear insoles or arc support. Try to refrain from running uphill.

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2.) Achilles Tendinitis

Achilles Tendinitis is an inflammation of the Achilles tendon or the tissue that connects the back of your heel to your calf muscle. Achilles Tendinitis produces a burning sensation on the area especially in the morning and with activity. It is usually caused by repetitive stress to the Achilles tendon when you add distance to your runs. Tightness from the calf muscles is also a common culprit to this injury.

How to treat Achilles Tendinitis: Treatment for any running related inflammation is Rest for at least 48 hours and gradual return to running. Upon onset of Achilles tendinitis, you can put ice on your heel or directly on your Achilles tendon for 20 minutes. While recovering from injury, you can regularly put heat on the area for 20 minutes and stretch it. Massage will also help.

How to prevent Achilles Tendinitis: Regularly stretch your calves before and after your runs, and during rest days. Make sure that you are warmed up properly before you run.




3.) Ankle Sprain

Ankle sprain is a very common acute injury caused by accidentally turning the foot at the ankle joint sideways. The tendon and ligaments of the ankle are overstretched and even torn when the foot twists inwardly.

How to treat Ankle Sprain: Never run through ankle sprains. If you do, more ligaments will get damaged and just worsen the injury. Upon onset of ankle sprain, stop your activity and rest your foot. Put ice on the inflamed area for 20 minutes. Apply elastic bandage around your ankle and foot for compression and help lessen the swelling. Elevate your foot to let the blood flow away from the swollen area. Do not massage sprained ankles. Ankle sprains take up from 3 days to 2 weeks of rest for full recovery depending on the severity of the injury.

How to prevent Ankle Sprains: Do exercises that strengthen your foot and leg muscles. Be aware of your surroundings when you run and try not to run long and fast distances on unfamiliar routes, especially trail roads. If you have a race, go through the race route at least once so that you are familiar with the terrain.

injured runner

4.) Stress Fracture

Stress fracture is also a chronic injury that can cause extreme discomfort and pain. Stress fracture is a small crack in the leg bone or foot which occurs when the body works too hard without having enough time for the tissues and bones to repair and recover. It is a chronic injury that may start with minimal pain but gets worse and worse with activity.

How to treat Stress fracture: Rest as soon as you feel extreme pain and discomfort in your legs. Do not run through the pain as the pounding movement from running adds to the injury. Seek help from a medical professional.

How to prevent Stress Fracture: Simply following a well-timed training program will prevent you from developing stress fractures. Make sure that you have enough rest and recovery periods in between training bouts. You can also switch running surfaces once in a while; for example, run on the road today then run on dirt or grass the next day for a softer surface.

5.) Shin Splints

Shin splint is another common running injury that can be felt in the front or inside of the leg along the shin bone (tibia). Shin splints occur when you suddenly run longer distances or when you increase the number of days you run in a week too quickly. Note that people with flat feet are more susceptible to develop shin splints.

How to treat Shin Splints: Rest for at least 48 hours, or until symptoms are absent. Stretch your tibialis anterior and massage the area. Gradually return to activity.

How to prevent Shin Splints: Make sure that you are warmed up properly before you run. Most runners usually stretch the back of the legs, the calves, but neglect the muscles at the front of the legs, the tibialis anterior. Include this muscle in your stretching routine. Make sure that your shoes fit well. Include strengthening exercises in your training program like toe-up walks, backpedals, and foot mobilization exercises.

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These are the first five injuries for this series. Next on the list will be Muscle strain, Runner’s knee, IT Band Syndrome, Piriformis Syndrome and Low back pain which I will post next week! The 3rd and last part will be some other ailments and additional tips to prevent running injuries.

Have you experienced any of these conditions before? How did you recover?
Do you find these tips helpful?
What else do you want to know about running injuries and ailments?
Let me know in the comments?

Check out these ebooks for your Kindle and iPad:

Running Injuries: Treatment and Prevention by Jeff Galloway

Runner’s World Complete Book of Women’s Running: The Best Advice to Get Started, Stay Motivated, Lose Weight, Run Injury-Free, Be Safe, and Train for Any Distance

ChiRunning: A Revolutionary Approach to Effortless, Injury-Free Running

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Hello there Mr.Sun!

Hello there Mr.Sun!

It’s another nice and warm day to run today!

Yesterday was supposed to be the first day of Spring which was greeted by a gloomy sunrise, a snowy afternoon, and ended with a freezing night. As one article noted, Spring has already “sprung” in Canada, but it will get warmer only after a few more weeks.

These photos of Frozen Lakes prove how cold this Winter had been!

Today was relatively warmer with a low of -6 degrees Celsius and a high of -10. I looked outside my window and saw the sun shining brightly over the Canadian Flag of the school in front of our house. I started to gear up for my run and smiled while thinking about how I’m putting less layers of clothes compared to the first time I tried running. This is only my third time running in Toronto (second time here) and I’m not targeting to train or even reach my PR, I just wanted to go out and run!

minus 6 with 30 km/hr winds, but still SUNNY!

minus 6 with 30 km/hr winds, but still SUNNY!

So off I went. I figured how my tropical body is still adjusting and acclimatizing to the elevation, temperature, and freezing wind chills, but in the end it was still a lot better than my previous two runs. I was able to run almost continuously for 40 minutes, taking a few walks only to keep away from stubborn icy pavements. All in all, I was able to keep a pace of at least 8 minutes per km which is close enough for a 40 minute 5k run.

spring run

Signs of Spring?

Signs of Spring?

I’ve been hibernating like a bear for the past months and unfortunately the effects of Reversibility is starting to show.

I hope to get back to my previous level sooner and as the weather gets warmer.

How do you cope with this long winter?

How do you re-training after a break?
Let me know in the comments!



Being motivated to continue doing something difficult is usually a struggle. When we’re doing something and then in the middle of it we’re suddenly faced with a big challenge, sometimes it seems hard to press on. There are times that our negative experiences and failures keep us from continuing. We become fearful of making mistakes again. Other times, we just lose our focus and direction. Our environment may suddenly change and we find ourselves getting ‘lost‘ in transition. We forget what our goals are and why we started in the first place. In any case, when you start losing hope and feel under-motivated to continue, keep these things in mind:


1. Be Thankful. We often lose confidence from past failures and personal weaknesses which then kills our motivation. We have to focus and think of what we want and why we started in the first place, but sometimes it is the same reason why we start to lose confidence in ourselves. As time goes by, our brains start to question why we still aren’t getting what we want. We become jealous of others’ achievements and compare ourselves with them. The solution for this is to focus on gratitude. Be thankful for your small achievements. Remember your accomplishments and what it took for you to get there. If you are a runner struggling to make it past sub-30 or your sub-1 or whatever your target is, be thankful for those few minutes or even seconds that you scrape off from your time. If you have been going to the gym to lose weight, be thankful for the capability to work out and sweat every day, and remember that you are on the road to fitness. We lose hope when we tend to forget about our strengths and dwell on our failures. Make an effort to feel grateful and you’ll realize how competent and successful you are.

2. Focus on Positive Goals, not just on results. We sometimes set unreasonable goals for ourselves and when we don’t reach them, we lose confidence in ourselves. Some people set goals like “I want to lose 30 lbs in 1 month” which is totally unhealthy. I once had a client who wanted to improve her figure by having a thigh gap. I had to patiently explain that this is an anatomical difference and can’t be easily modified with exercise or any weight loss program. Also, being skinny does not mean being healthy. When you run, you don’t reach the finish line by thinking about the finish line, but you focus on each grueling step that you take to reach it.

3. Set Your Direction. If focus means having positive and specific goals, then having direction means to make a clear strategy of your day-to-day actions to achieve your goals. Without an obvious next step, we tend to procrastinate. If possible, make a sequential list of things to do until you reach your goal. Identify the activities that lead to success. Some actions that you take can be good, but may not lead to your goal. Remind yourself everyday of what you need to do next. I think a good analogy of this in sports training would be Periodization. You have an ultimate direction towards your goal with the Macrocycle -your year long or season-long training plan. But you should still have your Mesocycle and ultimately your Microcycle which is specific to what you do for each training day.

It is inevitable to encounter failures and problems along the way as you take steps toward your goal. What’s important is that you strive and persevere and keep negative thoughts from killing your confidence and motivation. Martin Luther Jr said “You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”  And after that first step, keep focusing on the next steps ahead of you.


Be thankful for each step. Focus on positive and reasonable goals. And set a clear direction for every action that you take.


Running in Toronto

Posted: March 11, 2014 in Running, Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , ,

There's a running oval here somewhere...

There’s a running oval here somewhere…

After months of not being able to run and being stuck at home doing HIIT, the day has finally come! The skies have been cruel for the past months and it is established that this is the worst winter (and longest) in North America. As Spring season is nearing and clocks have been adjusted for Spring Forward, the weather finally rose above freezing point again this weekend. Snow and ice began melting and the sun shines brighter than ever. Today the weather measured a high of +8 degrees Celsius and low of -3. It’s been the “hottest” since I have landed in Toronto! I was able to try running just a couple of weeks ago when the weather rose to +5 degrees C, but I didn’t last long. Coming from a tropical country, I’m used to wearing comfy shorts while running and feeling the warm and fuzzy headwind. I was not acclimatized enough with the cold freezing weather that dried my throat. The altitude is another thing that I have to get used to. In any case, I gave it another shot today and it was good!
Running around the neighbourhood.

“B” for Billy, or for ‘Burrows Blvd.’

I wasn’t aiming for any time or distance — I just wanted to move and run! Also, I’m still not familiar with the terrain and the possible routes I can take. I didn’t intend to “write” the first letter of my name with the route I took today – it just happened while I was trying to look for good running routes!

The last time I tried running, I felt how hard the pavements are near our house so today I tried different routes and pavements. Most parts of the sidewalk are still wet from the melting snow banks but it was good indication that there are no more black ice to keep away from.
I used the Endomondo app on my Blackberry to record my run and it’s slightly inaccurate, especially on that part where it looks like I ran on the snow field!

What a nice day out! #FirstTime

What a nice day out! #FirstTime

It was a good winter run over all, based on Cool Runnings standard. Also, considering that there will be another snow storm tomorrow, I’m so glad I did run today. According to the news, “winter storm warnings are in effect across southern Ontario from Kingston to Cornwall, with up to 25 centimetres [of snow] predicted in some areas.”

Winter just won’t say goodbye.

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Basketball, anyone?


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If you are an office worker who is dedicated to running but your low back pain from long hours of sitting keeps you from achieving more, then read ahead!

How do you run with pain?

You don’t have to!

The sacroiliac joints – the bones that connect the lowest tip of your spine (sacrum) to your hip bones (iliac) – are considered a source of most lower back pain when your hip becomes compressed, or if there is asymmetry or misalignment of the hips which leads to joint dysfunction and subsequent pain. Compression of the pelvis occurs when seated for a long time, and rotation of the hips occurs in both cycling and running, and combining these two factors can be the cause of low back pain. An especially significant correlation can be seen between low back pain and lack of internal hip rotation mobility.

The development of asymmetry in the hips and improper muscle lengths in the hip rotator muscles can be caused by frequently assumed postures, like sitting for long periods or time or being bent over on a bicycle for hours in the saddle.

This was important to know, and a key to the secret of eliminating the low back pain.

The book “Run With No Pain” is the official, easy and practical step-by-step exercise routine for eliminating low back pain in athletes and includes over 30 exercise videos that teach you exactly how to implement each section of the program.

If you’ve been going to Physiotherapist or a Chiropractor for your pain, then this eBook is definitely much cheaper!

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If you’re training for a Triathlon, Marathon, or any endurance event for that matter, what should you eat to fuel your training?


Your diet can make or break your goals. The Low Carbohydrate Diet For Triathletes by Ben Greenfield shows the committed Triathlete which are the best low-carbohydrate food to eat. Remember that what you eat while you train is just as important as how you’re training. Training for a triathlon will push your body to the max, so you have to make sure that your body gets enough energy to sustain your training until race day while maintaining your target weight.

Ben Greenfield summed it up this way:

In a nutshell, pun intended, as you begin to increase carbohydrate consumption above the levels that you need for survival or periods of intense physical activity, you lose your ability to rely on fat burning mechanisms, and you experience the damaging effects of chronically elevated blood sugars, including neuropathy (nerve damage), nephropathy (kidney damage), retinnopathy (eye damage), increased cardiovascular disease risk, potential for cancer progression (tumor cells feed on sugar) and bacterial or fungal infection.

So if the dangers of a low carb diet that I talked about didn’t deter you, and you’re bent on banning bread, take heart. There is a way to do a The Low Carbohydrate Diet For Triathletes
low carbohydrate diet the right way. Here are 10 ways to eat a low carbohydrate diet while avoiding common mistakes.

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1. Time Carbohydrates Wisely.

This one is a biggie, so we’ll start with it. One of the main reasons for eating a low carbohydrate diet is because your blood sugar levels stay far more stabilized. But there is a time that you can consume carbohydrate without causing your blood sugar levels to go on a roller coaster ride – and that time is immediately before, during, or after exercise.

So if you are on a low carbohydrate diet, I highly recommend carbohydrate intake for exercise sessions that are 1) intense; 2) involve weight training; 3) are longer than 2 hours in duration.

Although many folks use this as an excuse to eat more carbs than they should there is certainly truth to the fact that “fat burns in the flame of carbohydrate” – meaning if you are constantly carb depleted due to zero calories of glucose intake, you can shut down your body’s natural fat burning capabilities. So if you’re planning on exercising, try get at least 500-600 calories of carbohydrate per day, and eat them before, during or after your exercise session if you want them to not affect your blood sugars levels in a potentially damaging way.

2. Take Into Consideration Your Body Fat Levels.

If you’re fat, you’re going to have more fat to burn. Look down at your waistline. Do you have layers of fat that you can grab? A beer belly? Muffin-tops? All of that is fat that can be mobilized if you are on a low carbohydrate diet. But if your body fat is under 7-8% as a male, or in the low teens as a female, then it is highly likely that you’re going to struggle with a consistently low carbohydrate intake – specifically during exercise sessions.

So if I have a client who is 30% body fat, I have no issues with that client staring at the ceiling awake at night craving carbohydrates as their body mobilizes fat tissue for energy, and I generally continue to advise them to watch their carb intake. But if that person is 6% body fat, it is far more likely that they’re going to need that extra fat for insulation or essential fat stores, in which case it might be a good idea to go slam a bowl of rice.

SHOP3. Don’t Eat Processed Crap.

I mentioned this in my last article that typical “low carbohydrate” meal replacement bars and shakes, ice creams or ice cream sandwiches, and other low carb or sugar-free snacks often contain potentially unhealthy ingredients like maltitol, and are chock full of preservatives and highly processed ingredients. If your low carbohydrate diet involves boxed, wrapped and packaged food, it probably falls into this category.

Get this through your head – whether a food is low carbohydrate or not, if it is something you see advertised on TV, magazines, or newspapers you probably shouldn’t eat it. If it’s something you can easily recognize and identify where it grew and how it go to your plate, it probably is OK to eat.

This means that avocados are cool. Guacamole from your grocery store that has (and this is a popular brand):

Skim Milk, Soybean Oil, Tomatoes, Water, Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil (Coconut Oil, Safflower and/or Corn Oil), Eggs, Distilled Vinegar, Avocado Pulp, Onions, Salt, Nonfat Dry Milk, Egg Yolks, Lactic Acid, Sugar, Whey, Sodium Caseinate, Mono and Diglycerides, Gelatin, Soy Protein Isolate, Xanthan Gum, Corn Starch, Guar Gum, Mustard Flour, Black Pepper, Red Chili Pepper, Potassium Sorbate and Sodium Benzoate (Added to Retard Spoilage), Coriander, Lemon Juice Concentrate, Cellulose Gel, Cellulose Gum, Locust Bean Gum, Disodium Phosphate, Cilantro, Gum Arabic, Extractives of Garlic and Black Pepper, Paprika Oil, Oregano, Thyme, Bay Leaf, Calcium Chloride, Citric Acid, Dextrose, Artificial Color (FD&C Blue No. 1, FD&C Red No. 40, FD&C Yellow No. 5, FD&C Yellow No. 6).

is not cool. This is just one example, but I think it gives you a pretty good idea of what I’m getting at. Eat real food – not processed crap.

4. Inject Carbohydrate Loading Days.

This is another biggie. Long term carbohydrate deprivation leads to a complete depletion of your body’s storage glycogen levels, depression of your immune system, decrease in metabolic function, and a host of other issues that you may be able to put up with if you’re content to lie around on the couch, but that you’re guaranteed to get completely destroyed by if you’re planning on regular physical activity or competition like Crossfit, triathlon or marathon.


Fortunately, there’s an easy fix, and this is a big part of my new book “Low Carbohydrate Guide For Triathletes”: simply inject strategic carbohydrate re-feeding days into your exercise routine, either the day before your biggest workout day of the week or the day of your biggest workout of your week. On this day, you double or triple your normal carbohydrate intake, and eat at or slightly above your total calorie needs.

The disadvantage of doing this the day before your biggest workout of the week is that you’re often resting on that day, and being sedentary while eating a ton of carbohydrates is not that great for your blood sugar levels. The disadvantage of doing it the day of your biggest workout of the week is that sometimes you’re too busy exercising to eat much, but this is only really an issue for someone like an Ironman triathlete.

5. Use Supplements Wisely.

When you begin a low carbohydrate diet, you’re guaranteed to experience intense carbohydrate cravings. There are supplements that can help curb cravings, including chromium and vanadium (such as in Thermofactor), gymnema sylvestre (but you gotta take about 4000+ mg per day of it, which means you’d really want a physician’s brand version), L-tryptophan or amino acids (if the issue is a serotonin deficiency) and even foods like those I demonstrate in my video: 5 Ways To Suppress Your Appetite Without Taking Pills or Capsules.

For exercise sessions, I actually recently tried out wasp larvae extract (VESPA), which is supposedly able to increase your ability to utilize free fatty acids as a fuel during exercise. I took two packets of it, and was able to go about 4 hours on 1 gel. The disadvantage was that I was never able to go “above threshold”, or into my carbohydrate burning heart rate zone, so I’m not convinced I’d use it in a race, but it could certainly come in handy if you’re trying to get by on a low carbohydrate diet and also do long exercise sessions.

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6. Be In It For The Long Haul.

When you first start a low carbohydrate diet, your weight will plummet as your body sheds storage glycogen and all the water that the storage carbohydrate sucks up like a sponge. So if your goal is weight loss, life is good for the first couple weeks as you shed anywhere from 3-20 pounds, depending on your starting weight.

And then the weight loss stops. In most cases, this is the point where people throw up their hands in despair, convinced that the plan isn’t working, quit the low carbohydrate diet, and go in search of a pastry shop.

But if you stick with a low carbohydrate diet, the weight loss will gradually and consistently continue, especially if you include strategically implemented days where you allow your body’s storage carbohydrate levels to be re-filled.

7. Be Ready For Discomfort

During the first 7-14 days that you go low carb, you’re going to find that your energy levels plummet, you get grumpy, you feel lethargic, and your body simply does not move or perform the way you’d like it to. This is because you are burning fatty acids (ketones) as a fuel.

So a strict low carbohydrate diet can be uncomfortable, and you need to be mentally prepared for that. Implementing the carbohydrate craving tips I gave earlier will help, but ultimately, you will find that you feel the same way as a marathoner does when they “bonk”, which is what happens during a run when your body runs out of storage carbohydrate and needs to begin burning fat as a fuel. This is also called “hitting the wall”.

If the discomfort does not subside, then I recommend you A) identify nutritional deficiencies and get tested for fatty acids and also for amino acids, and also make sure you’re incorporating carbohydrate re-feed days if you’re an physically active person.

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8. Stay Hydrated.

Not only will adequate water help to reduce the carbohydrate cravings you may experience early in the diet, but A) water is also essential for beta-oxidation, which is how your body burns fat as a fuel and B) you’re going to lose a significant amount of storage water as your body sheds carbohydrate stores, so you’ll need more as a dietary source.

I personally drink and recommend ample amounts of soda water, unsweetened Kombucha, water with effervescent electrolytes dissolved in it, water with deltaE and just plain water. What I don’t drink is anything with added artificial sweeteners or sugars. So check your nutrition labels if you’re drinking fluid from packages or bottles, but stay hydrated when you’re on a diet like this.

9. Get Your Fiber.

When you switch to a low carbohydrate diet, the drop in fruit, vegetables, legume and grain consumption can significantly decrease fiber intake and result in inadequate phytonutrient, antioxidant, vitamin C and potassium intake. There is absolutely no reason that you can’t eat liberal amounts of dark leafy greens and other non-starchy vegetables on a low-carbohydrate diet. Just be careful with your total daily intake and timing of starchy vegetables or tubers, such as beets, sweet potatoes or taro.

10. Don’t Judge.

This may seem a bit preachy, but I feel compelled to point out the fact that there are a multitude of successful vegan or vegeterian endurance athletes, including ultra-runner Scott Jureky, pro triathlete and ultra-runner Brendan Brazier, pro triathlete Hilary Biscay, US Master’s Running Champion Tim Van Orden, and top ultraman finisher Rich Roll.

Since most vegan and vegetarian diets are definitely not low carbohydrate, this demonstrates that you can succeed without eating a low carbohydrate diet. However, the low carbohydrate or ketogenic approach can be especially successful for fat loss, for learning to burn fats more efficiently and even for reducing risk of, or managing, chronic diseases such as diabetes or cancer.


Download THE LOW CARBOHYDRATE DIET FOR TRIATHLETES and other eBooks by Ben Greenfield:

Endurance Training Nutrition: Top 20 Fueling Myths Exposed
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Run With No Pain
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The Low Carbohydrate Diet For Triathletes
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Weight Training for Triathlon: The Ultimate Guide
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Just this Wednesday, the B.A.A. (Boston Athletic Association) announced that backpacks will no longer be allowed in the upcoming Boston Marathon. This is a safety measure in response to the tragic bombing during the marathon last year which killed three and injured 264 others.

The B.A.A. will instead provide clear plastic bags for official participants for storage of their equipment about half a mile from the finish line.

Jacqueline Benson

Last year on April 21, a couple of bombs placed in back packs exploded near the finish area.

The announcement regarding the ‘no bags policy‘ for the 2014 Boston Marathon was issued early so that participants could plan beforehand and make several adjustments. Apart from this policy, a security screening will also be done on the event so participants should be early.

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The Boston Marathon is the world’s oldest yearly race and is one of the world’s best known events. Last year, over 23,000 runners participated in the event. However, the race was halted due to the explosions and prevented many others (around 5,000 more runners) from finishing.

Hopefully, this ‘no bag policy’ will add to the security measures already being done for the safety of the participants and spectators.

The Boston Marathon for 2014 will be held on April 21.

Read more from the B.A.A.



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