The Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A) issued an apology to two running clubs after they called out Newton Police for racist policing at a cheer zone at Monday’s Boston Marathon.
An incident went viral in the hours following the marathon when YouTube and runner Mike Remy posted a video of his club’s gathering at Mile 21 of the race at Heartbreak Hill.
The Pioneers Run Crew’s cheer zone was filled with grills, barbecues and music while they cheered runners on at a notoriously difficult stretch of the race. However, later on, Remy’s video showed they were surrounded by police.
“Not the kind of reporting I’m trying to do here, but we got [cops] all around here, and hella cops right behind us. Why are we surrounded by the police? Why are we surrounded by police?” he asked in the video.
Police officers walk near the finish line during the 127th Boston Marathon in Boston April 17, 2023. (Joseph Prezioso)
Remy also asked police if “it [was] like this the whole way of the course.”
“We can’t cheer no more. I guess we can’t cheer no more …” he continued. “We’re cheering too loud? We’re supporting our friends too much?”
The Pioneers Run Crew and TrailblazHErs Run Co. said they were “targeted and singled out” due to their race.
The B.A.A said it should have “create[d] an environment that is welcoming and supportive of the [Black, Indigenous and people of color] communities at the marathon.”
Runners stream down Boylston Street as rain falls on the 127th Boston Marathon. (Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
“We know what the Boston Marathon means to our communities; it is very personal to so many of you. We know that everyone who participates loves to celebrate the excitement of the race, whether you are an athlete, volunteer, spectator or supporter,” the B.A.A said in a statement.
“However, this year, we know that we did not deliver on our promise to make it a great day for everyone. We met with two groups last night, who the B.A.A. proudly supports in their running activities, their members and their mission — Pioneers Run Crew and TrailblazHers Run Co., two of Boston’s premier clubs for BIPOC runners.
“They expressed to us their deep concerns that they were not given the chance to enjoy the day and celebrate their friends, families and all participants as they approached Heartbreak Hill. That is on us. It is our job, and we need to do better to create an environment that is welcoming and supportive of the BIPOC communities at the marathon.”
Runners arrive at the top of Heartbreak Hill during the 127th Boston Marathon. (Craig F. Walker/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
A YouTube user, Winston Vaughan, said on Remy’s video that the Pioneers/TrailblazHers cheer zone “was the highlight of my whole race and absolutely powered me up that hill.”
When @diversewerun posted Reel’s video, the user of the account claimed to see “groups of [not Black] inebriated college students who were throwing up onto the racecourse and running in and out of the course freely” just a half-mile up the course.