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Boston Marathon attracts 22,000 runners

By Carmen Beatriz Angueira
On April 20, 2012


The Boston Marathon began in 1897, where it originated from the newly added event in the 1896 Olympics.  This event started out localally, but has grown into one of the most famous and prestigious marathons in the world, attracting runners from around the globe.  Everyone from amateurs to professional runners compete each year to brave the hilly and unpredictable weather of New England.  The first time the race occurred, 115 years ago, there were 18 participants; this year, there were 22,000 runners, of which 4,000 decided to not run due to the unexpected hot temperatures.

The race has traditionally been held on Patriots' Day, a state holiday in Massachusetts, and until 1969 that was every April 19, no matter the day of the week. Starting in 1969, the holiday began to be observed on the third Monday in April, and so the marathon date was correspondingly moved to that Monday, which is often referred to by local residents as "Marathon Monday."  

The event attracts 500,000 spectators each year, making it New England's most widely viewed sporting event. The Centennial Boston Marathon in 1996 established a record as the world's largest marathon with 38,708 entrants and 35,868 finishers.

Last year's winner, Geoffrey Mutai, won the Marathon in a time of 2:03:02; it was marked as "the fastest Marathon ever ran," yet it was not eligible for world record status because the course does not satisfy rules regarding elevation drop and start/finish separation. The strong tailwind was also seen as giving him an unfair advantage. 

Wesley Korir was the first of all the runners to cross the finish line of the 116th edition of the Boston Marathon, posting a time of 2:12:40; he fell to the 2011 Mutai record of 2:03:02 due to the heat. "It's hot out there, in case you didn't know. I knew I had to hydrate to survive.  I was more concerned about my hydration than my positioning," Korir said, after winning this year's Marathon Kenyans have been running this prominent marathon for the past 22 years, and Korir's win marked the 19th win by a Kenyan.

The Boston Marathon is open to runners aged 18 and older from all nations, yet there are certain requirements due to the pool of participants that want to run in this race.  To qualify, a runner must complete a standard marathon course certified by a national governing body affiliated with the International Associated of Athletics Federations 18 months before the date of the Boston Marathon.

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