Boston Marathon Runners Now Required to Carry Sponsors on Their Backs for the Entire Race


The Boston Marathon, traditionally a test of human endurance and willpower, has jettisoned its esteemed history for a model that’s more akin to a two-legged horse race. Organizers have decreed a new rule requiring runners to literally shoulder their sponsorships by carrying representatives from their sponsoring companies on their backs for the full marathon stretch.

“Well isn’t this just the ultimate partnership?” exclaims Bartholomew Bigbucks, the freshly minted director of the race sponsored by, coincidentally, a portfolio of investment firms. “Our valiant runners can now bond with their sponsors in the most literal way possible — piggybacking their way to the finish line!”

Marathoners, however, are displaying less enthusiasm. The internet is rife with pictures of panting participants, representatives of fast-food chains or tech startups in tow, turning the marathon into a perverse buddy-carry drill. Complaints range from the practical (“I trained for a year, not to carry my coach, but to run!”) to the flabbergasted (“Next, what? Running while juggling company products?”).

Trending hashtags on social media, like “#CorporatePiggyback” and “#WhatsNextMarathonRelay?”, mingle with satirical renderings of historical marathon champions, now reimagined with suited executives aloft their shoulders. “Behold, Phidippides sponsored by ancient chariot makers,” quips one viral meme.

Defying public outcry, the organizers are amping up the commercial fanfare. This year’s starting line is set to mirror that of a blockbuster premiere. Each runner’s send-off includes not just their sponsor’s rep on their back but a flurry of branded confetti and an entourage of costumed mascots like you’d find at a theme park parade — because nothing says “peak physical challenge” quite like jogging with a corporate exec while being cheered on by life-sized chip packets.

In response, a resistance of crafty marathoners has emerged. Cloaked in the pre-dawn light, they strategize ways to mock the absurdity. They’ve retooled harnesses to make the ride awkward for their involuntary jockeys, and some have even trained in stealthy maneuvers to dump their burdens unseen halfway through the event. Another audacious athlete has vowed to don a Herculean costume, turning their sponsor into a prop in a tableau of Greek mythology.

Is the venerated spirit of the Boston Marathon at stake amidst this farcical commercial parade? That remains to be seen. However, as the day approaches, prepare for a bizarre spectacle of fortitude and satire, where the ultimate victory lap might just be shaking off the literal and figurative weight of commercialism, leaving sponsors in the dust.

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