The History of the Boston Marathon

Posted on April 17, 2023

The Boston Marathon is one of the most historic and oldest marathon in the world. The race goes all the way back to 1897.

The first Boston Marathon was held on April 19, 1897, and had a total of 15 participants. The race was inspired by the success of the first modern Olympic marathon, which was held in Athens, Greece, in 1896. The Boston Athletic Association (BAA) organized the race, and it was run from the town of Ashland to the BAA headquarters in Boston.

The early years of the Boston Marathon were marked by a small field of runners and relatively low interest from the public. However, in 1908, the race gained significant attention when John J. “Johnny” Hayes, an American runner, won the event. Hayes’ victory was controversial, as he was accused of receiving help from his trainers during the race.

The Boston Marathon continued to grow in popularity throughout the early 20th century. In 1918, the race was canceled due to World War I, but it resumed in 1919 with a record number of participants. In 1924, the BAA established a qualifying time for the race, making it one of the first marathons to require a qualifying standard.

In 1966, Roberta “Bobbi” Gibb became the first woman to complete the Boston Marathon, even though women were not officially allowed to run the race at the time. The BAA did not allow women to run the marathon until 1972.

The Boston Marathon was tragically targeted in 2013 when two bombs exploded near the finish line, killing three people and injuring more than 260 others. This led to the slogan of “Boston Strong” that is still used today.

Today, the Boston Marathon is one of the most prestigious marathons in the world, attracting elite runners and thousands of participants from around the globe. The race is always held on Patriots’ Day, a holiday in Massachusetts that commemorates the start of the Revolutionary War.

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