Next Monday, April 21, 2014 the Boston Marathon will be held. In the 2013 marathon, over 23,000 runners participated. Lelisa Desisa won the men's division with a time of 2:10:22. Rita Jeptoo won the women's division with a time of 2:26:25. More than $800,000 of prize money was awarded.
On April 19, 1897, John J. McDermott of New York won the first
Boston Marathon with a time of 2:55:10. (During the past 117
years, winners have shaved 45 minutes off his original time.)
The Boston Marathon was created by Boston Athletic Association
member and inaugural U.S. Olympic team manager John Graham, who was
inspired by the marathon at the first modern Olympic Games in Athens
the year before, 1896. A measured distance of 24.5 miles from the
Irvington Oval in Boston to Metcalf's Mill in Ashland was eventually
selected. Fifteen runners started the race but only ten finished.
The marathon's distance was changed in 1908 in accordance with
Olympic standards to its current length of 26 miles 385 yards.
The Boston Marathon was originally held on Patriot's Day, April 19,
a regional holiday that commemorates the beginning of the
Revolutionary War. In 1969, Patriots Day was officially moved to the
third Monday in April and the race has been held on that Monday ever
Women were not allowed to enter the Boston race officially until
1972, but Roberta "Bobbi" Gibb couldn't wait: In 1966, she became
the first woman to run the entire Boston Marathon, but had to hide
in the bushes near the start until the race began. In 1967, Kathrine
Switzer, who had registered as "K. V. Switzer", was the first woman
to run with a race number. Switzer finished even though officials
tried to physically remove her from the race after she was
identified as a woman.
In 1975, the Boston Marathon became the first major marathon to
include a wheelchair division competition. Bob Hall won it in two
hours, 58 minutes.