One hundred years since the race of 1918 when the United States was in the trenches of World War I and the race was a military relay to the five year anniversary of the 2013 bombing of one of the world’s most famous, and oldest annual marathon races, Monday’s Boston Marathon is much more than just a race.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The Boston Marathon, With a 122-Year History, Is a Story Defined by its Numbers
The Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.) has organized the Boston Marathon for 122 years. Running Monday’s Boston Marathon will be an estimated 30,000 athletes from the U.S. and 96 counties around the globe. The race’s 26.2 mile (42K) course route winds from rural Hopkinton, Massachusetts through eight cities and towns to Boston. The terrain is often hilly, and the weather for the 2018 race will be a cold, drenching rain. With winds east to northeast, participants will be running into those winds and says AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski, there’s “potential is there for runners to face a car wash effect with cold, drenching rain and stiff winds from the east and southeast at 15-30 mph.”
Competitors in wheelchairs, walking or running First officially run in Boston in 1897, the event was inspired by the 1896 Olympic marathon. Always held on the third Monday of April, Patriot’s Day, the first marathon had just 15 runners. The B.A.A. says in 2015, 30,251 people registered.
The event is the world’s oldest annual marathon race event and it is one of six World Marathon Majors races. The course record is two hours and three minutes for men and two hours and 19 minutes for women.
It’s anticipated that despite even less than ideal weather, the race which usually attracts 500,000 spectators, will see similar numbers Monday.
2. How to Watch the Boston Marathon From the Streets to Global Livestreams
For Boston-area residents, television and radio coverage will be omnipresent. Live national coverage of the Boston Marathon will be available on NBC Sports. A preview broadcast is scheduled for Sunday night at 8 p.m., but Marathon day coverage begins at 8:30 a.m. Monday. Radio coverage is also available through the iHeartRadio app.
Live-streaming of the race is tricky. According to Boston.com, CBSBoston.com will stream coverage beginning at 9 a.m. but the local media says, “if you are outside of New England or your company’s computer servers are outside of New England, you won’t be able to view the elite portion of the race, from about 9 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., because CBSBoston.com’s online streaming rights end at the New England border for that portion of the race.”
3. There Will be Tight Security With Thousands of Police Officers & There’s an Extensive List of Prohibited Items
Not surprisingly, since the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, security measures are tight but, as the B.A.A. says, are “reasonable and common sense” guidelines to keep people safe.
The B.A.A. says that at any point along the course, there will be a “significant presence,” some 8,000-strong, of plainclothes and unformined police and people “entering official B.A.A. event venues, approaching viewing areas on the course, or in viewing areas on the course, may be asked to pass through security checkpoints, and law enforcement officers or contracted private security personnel may ask to inspect bags and other items being carried.”
While not using the word banned, the B.A.A. discourages spectators anywhere near the course from having any of this list of these items and can expect “delays when passing through security checkpoints and enhanced screening:”
-Weapons or items of any kind that may be used as weapons, including firearms, knives, mace, etc.
-Backpacks or any similar item carried over the shoulder.
-Suitcases and rolling bags/rollers.
-Glass containers or cans.
-Flammable liquids, fuels, fireworks or explosives.
-Any container capable of carrying more than 1 liter of liquid.
-Handbags or packages or bulky items larger than 12 inches x 12 inches x 6 inches.
-Large blankets/comforters, duvets, sleeping bags.
-Costumes covering the face or any non-form fitting, bulky outfits extending beyond the perimeter of the body.
-Props (including sporting equipment and military and fire gear).
“In addition, public safety officials are asking the public to assist in creating a No-Drone Zone along the entire course at this year’s Boston Marathon. The use of drones (unmanned aerial vehicles) anywhere in the area of the course, including above runners and spectators, is strongly discouraged,” the B.A.A noted.
4. 100 Years Ago, the Boston Marathon Was a Military Relay. This Centennial Race is Being Celebrated as ‘The Year of Service’
This year’s marathon called the ‘Year of Service’ celebrates the “altruism that bonds country, mission, and community.”
“As a result of to America’s involvement in World War I, the 1918 Boston Marathon was held as a military relay race, unlike its traditional fashion. Ten-man teams representing various military branches ran from Ashland to Boston, passing a baton along the course. The relay served as a unifying moment for community and country. To commemorate the centennial anniversary of the 1918 relay, the Boston Marathon will incorporate a special Military Relay within this April’s race. Service members from the eight cities and towns along the race route and different branches of the military will be part of this ceremonial occurrence.
“Additionally, as part of the Year of Service, law enforcement personnel, firefighters, doctors, nurses, and EMTs will be recognized for their service to their communities. Also, event volunteers will be celebrated for their service towards the Boston Marathon and the B.A.A.’s mission of promoting a healthy lifestyle. With 2018 marking the five-year anniversary of the April 15, 2013 tragedy, first responders and volunteers who served that day will also be honored.
“Since the inaugural running 122 years ago, the Boston Marathon has come to represent not only the pinnacle of road racing, but the definition of community spirit,” said Tom Grilk, CEO of the B.A.A. “Some of the more meaningful stories that embody our event come from those who have served, whether they be military members; police, fire and EMT’s; or the dedicated volunteers that bring endless enthusiasm each year. Our Year of Service theme will help showcase and celebrate the spirit that these stories symbolize.”
5. Five Years Ago, Two Bombs Were Detonated Near the Finish Line
Five years ago, three hours had passed after the first runner had crossed the finish line of the Boston Marathon when, at 2:49, two bombs were detonated on Boylston Street, near the finish line and the last 200 yards of the race.
Three were killed and 265 people were injured many who lost limbs.
Brothers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev perpetrated the bombing, killed a police officer, kidnapped and carjacked a man, had a shootout with police that injured two police officers, one of whom would die a year later; Tamerlan was killed in the shootout but Dzhokhar got away and a manhunt that included the near shutdown of Watertown, Massachusetts as tens of thousands of police officers hunted Tsarnaev.
Tsarnaev was caught, tried, convicted and sentenced to death.
Sunday April 15 in Boston #OneBostonDay was the hashtag to honor those lost lives and celebrate the resiliency of Bostonian’s.
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh tweeted out a request for a moment of silence at 2:49 p.m.