Athletes from Russia and Belarus have been banned from competing in the Boston Marathon, which takes place later this month.
The Boston Athletic Association declared the ban in a press release on Wednesday, citing the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the assistance of the Belarus government.
“Like so many around the world, we are horrified and outraged by what we have seen and learned from the reporting in Ukraine,” said BAA President & CEO Tom Grilk.
“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.”
Ukraine athletes who are registered to run from Hopkinton, Mass. to Boylston Street in Beantown on April 18 will be allowed to defer their entry to next year or receive a refund if they are unable to make it to the starting line, officials said.
Russian and Belarusian runners that were accepted into the elite race would be offered refunds, according to organizers.
Citizens of the totalitarian countries that reside elsewhere, however, will be allowed to compete under the flags of their home nations, the release said.
The winner of the Boston Marathon is awarded $150,000. Men under 34 must be able to run the race in under three hours to qualify, and their female counterparts need to record a time of three and a half hours or better to participate.
No Russian or Belarusian men have ever won the annual race since it began in 1897. Lidiya Grigoryeva was the last Russian woman to win the 26.2-mile competition in 2007.