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Boston Marathon Fast Facts


Here’s a look at the Boston Marathon, run from Hopkinton to Boston. The finish line is in front of the Boston Public Library on Boylston Street.

October 11, 2021 The 125th Boston Marathon is scheduled to take place.

The 2020 Boston Marathon is canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.


The race is organized by the Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.), and the principal sponsor is John Hancock Financial Services.

Runners are categorized by gender, then by age. Qualifying times depend on the age of the participant on the day of the race.

Participants must be 18 years of age on the day of the race and must meet certain time standards to qualify for their age group.

Visually impaired runners are allowed to participate, but they must have a five hour qualifying time. There are also categories for wheelchairs and handcycles.

Runners come from all over the world to participate.


Best Men’s Open time – 2:03:02 – Geoffrey Mutai, Kenya – (2011)
Best Women’s Open time – 2:19:59 – Buzunesh Deba, Ethiopia – (2014)
Best Men’s Wheelchair time – Marcel Hug, Switzerland, 1:18:04 (2017)
Best Women’s Wheelchair time – Manuela Schar, Switzerland – 1:28:17 (2017)


April 19, 1897 – The first marathon is run and is 24.8 miles. The winner is John J. McDermott of New York, with a time of 2:55:10. There are 18 entrants, 15 starters and 10 finishers.

1897-1968 – The race is run on April 19, Patriots’ Day, a holiday commemorating the start of the Revolutionary War only recognized in Massachusetts and Maine. In those years that April 19 falls on a Sunday, the race is held the next day, Monday the 20th.

1918 – A military relay is held instead of the marathon due to the United States’ involvement in World War I.

April 19, 1924 – The race is lengthened to 26.2 miles to conform to Olympic standards.

April 17, 1967 – Kathrine Switzer becomes the first woman to receive a number to run in the Boston Marathon. She enters the race under the name K.V. Switzer and wears baggy clothes to disguise herself. Females are not officially allowed to enter until 1972.

1969 – Patriots’ Day is changed to the third Monday in April, so the date of the race is also changed..

1975 – A wheelchair division is added to the marathon. Bob Hall finishes the race in two hours and 58 minutes in a wheelchair.

April 15, 1996 – The 100th Boston Marathon is run. There are a record 35,868 finishers.

April 15, 2013 – Two bombs explode near the finish line of the 117th Boston Marathon, killing three people and injuring at least 264 others.

May 15, 2015 – Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is sentenced to death for his role in the 2013 marathon bombings. In July 2020, an appeals court vacates Tsarnaev’s death sentence and rules he should be given a new penalty trial. In March 2021, the Supreme Court agrees to review the lower court opinion that vacated Tsarnaev’s death sentence.

October 26, 2016 – Three-time winner Rita Jeptoo, of Kenya, loses her 2014 title and record for the fastest women’s finish ever (2:18:57), as part of a ruling on her two-year ban for doping.

March 13, 2020 – It is announced that the marathon is being rescheduled to September 14, 2020 due to the coronavirus outbreak.

May 28, 2020 – Boston Mayor Marty Walsh announces that the 2020 marathon is canceled because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. A virtual event, in which participants can earn their finisher’s medal by verifying that they ran 26.2 miles on their own within a six-hour time period, will take place September 7-14.

October 28, 2020 – The B.A.A. announces that the 2021 marathon will be postponed until at least the fall of 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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