Each year the Boston Marathon is held in several cities of the greater Boston, in the eastern part of Massachusetts. The Boston Marathon always takes place on the Patriot’s Day, which is celebrated on third Monday of the month of April. The Boston Marathon started in 1897. The first marathon that took place in the Summer Olympics of 1896, which took place in Athens was the inspiration behind the Boston Marathon. It has also been the oldest annual marathon in the world. It is one of the major events held in United States and is also a part of the World Marathon Majors.
The Boston Marathon has been managed by the Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.) since 1897. The B.A.A. is a non-profit sports association which has been organising various sport events. The B.A.A. after completing its ten years after its establishment, organised the 39.4 km (24.5 miles) marathon. John J. McDermott was the inaugural winner of the competition and ran the course in a recorded time of 2:55:10. The race then became popular as the Boston Marathon and since then it has been held annually. Each year the Boston Marathon attracts over 500,000 spectators and professional as well as amateur runners compete in the marathon. In 1897, the number of participants was only 18 but now the Boston Marathon attracts 30,000 participants on average each year. In 2015, the number of registered participants was 30,251.
Initially the Boston Marathon was just a local event but now its fame has been able to attract runner from across the globe. For most part of the history of Boston Marathon, it remained a free event. The winner was only awarded a wreath woven from the branches of olive trees. Later on in the 1980s due to its success as well as the runners refusing to run if there was not any cash award, the race started to get sponsored by corporations and there were cash prizes. In the 1986 Boston Marathon, the first cash prize was awarded. It is also worth mentioning that women were also not allowed entry in the marathon until 1972, but before that women used to run unofficially. In 1966, Roberta “Bobbi” Gibb was the first women to run the entire course of the Boston Marathon. In the 1967’s Boston Marathon, Katherine Sweitzer ran the race with a race number and completed it. Later on in 1966, the unofficial women’s winners of the marathon from 1966 to 1971, we recognised retroactively by B.A.A. In the Boston Marathon of 2015, the female runners in the race were almost 46 percent of the total participants.
These days the Boston Marathon is open to runners from all nations but must be 18 years old or above. But there are also some other standards which must be met before qualifying to compete in the marathon. The runners must have completed a standard marathon course which has to be certified by any national governing body which has to be affiliated with International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF), with in a specific time period before the commencement date of the Boston Marathon. Usually this time period is about 18 months prior. The qualifying standard have been tightened in terms of the age range and the corresponding recorded time limit which the prospective runners have to prove to B.A.A. for gaining an entry into the Boston Marathon.
Although there are some exceptions in the qualification times for the runners which are nominated by the partners. Usually 20 percent of the spots are reserved each year for sponsors, vendors, charities, licensees, municipal officials, consultants, marketers and local running clubs. In the Boston Marathon of 2010, about 5,470 additional entries were received through the partners and about 215 of the runners were running for charity. Currently the marathon has allocated spots to about 24 charities. These charities are in turn expected to raise an amount of more the 10 Million US Dollars.
It’s worth mentioning here that for the 2010 Boston Marathon, about 20,000 spots were reserved in a time of 8 hours and 3 minutes, which is a record.
Traditionally the Boston Marathon has been taking place on the Patriots’ Day, which is a declared state holiday in the state of Massachusetts. Until 1969, the marathon was held on April 19 of each year, no matter which day it fell on. From 1969, this public holiday started to be observed on third Monday of the month of April. The date of the marathon was also fixed to the respective Monday accordingly. The locals often refer it to as “Marathon Monday”.
The total course of the Boston Marathon is 26 miles and 385 yards (42.19 km). The course consists of winding roads which follow Route 16, Route 30 and Route 135 and the streets of Boston. The official finish line is at Copely Square, near the famous Boston Public Library. The marathon runs through Hopkinton, Framingham, Natick, Ashland, Wellesley, Brookline, Newton and Boston, in total eight cities and towns in Massachusetts. It is widely considered to be one of the most difficult marathons because of the terrain around Newton Hills. The course of the Boston Marathon drops to about 459 feet or 140 feet from its start to the finishing point.
Various records have also been set during the Boston Marathon. In 2011, Geoffrey Mutai, a Kenyan made the record of running the fastest marathon. His time was recorded at 2:03:02, which was later broken by Dennis Kipruto Kimetto in Berlin. Rita Jeptoo, another Kenyan, in 2014 Boston Marathon set the women’s record. She was timed at 2:18:57. In 2007, an astronaut named Sunita Williams participated and ran the Boston Marathon from the International Space Station. She was the first person to run any marathon from the space.
In short, The Boston Marathon is one of the most widely acclaimed events in United States and especially Massachusetts. With time its popularity is on the rise and it can be judged from the fact that runners from all across the globe come to compete in it. The marathon has also raised millions of dollars in charity since its inceptions and it hold an esteemed place in the World Marathon Majors.