Boston Marathon Fact Sheet

This fact sheet is full of interesting information on the Boston Marathon, the world's most celebrated road race.
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Boston Marathon is the oldest and most prestigious annual marathon in the world, beginning in 1897 and currently in its 118th year


From Hopkinton, MA, to Boston (26.2 miles)

Photo Credit: Meghan Toczko


Third Monday in April. Usually the race begins at 10:00 A.M., with earlier starts for the mobility impaired (9:00 A.M.), wheelchair (9:17 A.M.), handcycle (9:22 A.M.), and elite women (9:32 A.M.). There are usually three waves releasing the rest of the field, at 10:00 A.M., 10:20 A.M., and 10:40 A.M.


Organizers are expecting 36,000 runners in 2014, 9,000 more than usual. One reason for the increase is that the 5,633 runners who were not able to finish the 2013 marathon because of the bombings have been guaranteed entry. Also, several runners are participating as part of fundraising efforts for victims in last year's bombing. With the increase in runners, the 2014 marathon may come close to the current race record of 38,708 runners, set in 1996 for Boston Marathon's 100th anniversary. In 2014, athletes will be representing every state in the nation and over 90 countries. The race record was 38,708 for the 100th anniversary in 1996. There will also be well over a half-million spectators lining the course.

Marathon Facts

The Boston Marathon, organized by the Boston Athletic Association, is the world's oldest marathon. It takes place on the third Monday in April, also known as Patriot's Day, which is a holiday (in Maine and Massachusetts) that commemorates the famous battles of Lexington and Concord.

The unicorn was chosen as the symbol of the Boston Marathon in 1887 by the Boston Athletic Association because the unicorn was on the coat of arms from one of the B.A.A.'s first families. But many believe that the unicorn was chosen for its place in mythology as something to be pursued but which can never be caught.

In 2014, spectatorship for the marathon increased dramatically. Security was strengthened in response with more patrolling officers, and public safety officials have asked that all personal items be carried in clear plastic bags. Unregistered runners, known as bandits, are no longer allowed to run the course.

Of the 26,655 runners who entered the race in 2012, 22,485 actually ran, and 21,616 finished. That is 96.1%.

In terms of media coverage, the Boston Marathon is the second biggest single-day sporting event in the U.S., just behind the Super Bowl. with an expected 500,000 spectators to line the course.

New in 2013, supporters could register for the marathon's Athlete Alerts to receive an alert as your runner reached the 10K, 13.1-mile, 30K, and the finish line!

In 1988, Ibrahim Hussein became the first black male to win at Boston.

Former Massachusetts Governor and presidential candidate Mike Dukakis finished 57th (3:31) as a high school student in 1951.

In 1975, Boston became the first major marathon to include a wheelchair division.

In 2007, the marathon initiated a wave start, with one group of runners going off at 10:00 A.M. and a second group starting a half an hour later.

In total, the last five years of the women’s open division was separated by only a combined ten seconds.

In 2012, due to the warm weather (almost 90 degrees), anyone who decided to pick up their bib, but chose not to run the race, would be given automatic deferment to the 2013 Boston Marathon. After timing adjudication post-race, 2,160 runners became eligible for this offer.

In 2013, two bombs exploded near the finish line during the marathon. The bombs went off at 2:50 in the afternoon as runners finished the race. Three people were killed. One was an eight-year-old boy. More than 260 people were injured. The first explosion happened on Boylston Street close to the finish line. The second blast came just over ten seconds later, 50 to 100 yards away.

2015 Winners

Men's Elite: Lelisa Desisa (Ethopia), 2:09:17
Women's Elite: Caroline Rotich (Kenya), 2:24:55
Men's Wheelchair Elite: Marcel Hug (Switzerland), 1:29:53
Women's Wheelchair Elite: Tatyana McFadden (United States), 1:52:54

2014 Winners

Men's Open: Meb Keflezighi (United States), 2:08:37
Women's Open: Rita Jeptoo (Kenya), 2:18:57
Men's Push Rim Wheelchair: Ernst Van Dyk (South Africa), 1:20:36
Women's Push Rim Wheelchair: Tatyana McFadden (United States), 1:35:06

2013 Winners

Men's Open: Lelisa Desisa (Ethiopia), 2:10:11
Women's Open: Rita Jeptoo (Kenya), 2:26:25
Men's Push Rim Wheelchair: Hiroyuki Yamamoto (Japan), 1:25:33
Women's Push Rim Wheelchair: Tatyana McFadden (United States), 1:45:25

2012 Winners

Men's Open: Wesley Korir (Kenya), 2:12:40
Women's Open: Sharon Cherop (Kenya), 2:31:50
Men's Masters: Uli Steidl (American), 2:23:08
Women's Masters: Svetlana Pretot (France), 2:40:50
Men's Push Rim Wheelchair: Joshua Cassidy (Canada), 1:18:25
Women's Push Rim Wheelchair: Shirley Reilly (American), 1:37:36

2011 Winners

Men's Open: Geoffrey Mutai (Kenya), 2:03:02
Women's Open: Caroline Kilel (Kenya), 2:22:36
Men's Masters: Migidio Bourifa (Italy), 2:13:45
Women's Masters: Larisa Zyusko (Russian Federation), 2:34:22
Men's Push Rim Wheelchair: Masazumi Soejima (Japan), 1:18:50
Women's Push Rim Wheelchair: Wakako Tsuchida (Japan), 1:34:06

2010 Winners

Men's Open: Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot (Kenya), 2:05:52
Women's Open: Teyba Erkesso (Ethiopia), 2:26:11
Men's Masters: James Koskei (Kenya), 2:17:28
Women's Masters: Denise C. Robson (Canada), 2:43:16
Men's Push Rim Wheelchair: Ernst Van Dyk (South Africa), 1:26:53
Women's Push Rim Wheelchair: Wakako Tsuchida (Japan), 1:43:32

2009 Winners

Men's Open: Deriba Merga (Ethiopia), 2:08:42
Women's Open: Salina Kosgei (Kenya), 2:32:16
Men's Masters: James Koskei (Kenya), 2:14:52
Women's Masters: Colleen De Reuck (USA), 2:35:37
Men's Push Rim Wheelchair: Ernst Van Dyk (South Africa), 1:33:29
Women's Push Rim Wheelchair: Wakako Tsuchida (Japan), 1:54:37

2008 Winners

Men's Open: Robert K. Cheruiyot (Kenya), 2:07:46
Women's Open: Dire Tune (Ethiopia), 2:25:25
Men's Masters: Gino S. Van Geyte (Belgium), 2:23:36
Women's Masters: Firaya Sultanova-Zhdanova (United States), 2:47:17
Men's Push Rim Wheelchair: Ernst F. Van Dyk (RSA), 1:26:49
Women's Push Rim Wheelchair: Wakako Tsuchida (Japan), 1:48:32

2007 Winners

Men's Open: Robert K. Cheruiyot (Kenya), 2:14:13
Women's Open: Lidiya Grigoryeva (Russia), 2:29:18
Men's Masters: Oleg Strizhakov (Russia), 2:28:55
Women's Masters: Heidy Lozano (United States), 2:56:03
Men's Push Rim Wheelchair: Masazumi Soejima (Japan), 1:29:16
Women's Push Rim Wheelchair: Wakako Tsuchida (Japan), 1:53:30

Course Records

Men's Open: Geoffrey Mutai (Kenya), 2:03:02, 2011
Women's Open: Margaret Okayo (Kenya), 2:20:43, 2002
Men's Masters: John Campbell (New Zealand), 2:11:04, 1990
Women's Masters: Firaya Sultanova-Zhdanova (Russia), 2:27:58, 2002
Men's Wheelchair: Joshua Cassidy (Canada), 1:18:25, 2012
Women's Wheelchair: Wakako Tsuchida (United States), 1:34:06, 2011
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