Keen runner Heber Alonzo Meraz takes a closer look at the Boston Marathon, the world’s oldest annual marathon event.
Inspired by the first-ever marathon competition held during the 1896 Summer Olympics, the Boston Marathon, established in 1897, is the world’s oldest annual marathon. Also considered one of the world’s best-known road races, keen marathon runner Heber Alonzo Meraz offers a closer look at the 122-year-old event.
“Hosted by several cities across the greater Boston area of eastern Massachusetts, the Boston Marathon is an annual marathon race held on Patriots’ Day each year since 1897,” reveals Meraz.
Promptly taking inspiration from the Summer Olympics of 1896, the first-ever Boston Marathon was held the following year. The world’s oldest annual marathon, it also remains among the world’s best-known road racing events. “One of the six so-called ‘World Marathon Majors,’ the Boston Marathon’s course runs from Hopkinton to Copley Square,” Meraz explains.
The Boston Athletic Association has organized the event since its inception more than 120 years ago. “Runners-both amateur and professional-travel from across the world each year to compete in the marathon,” reveals Meraz, “wherein which they brave the hilly Massachusetts terrain and tackle the often varying and sometimes challenging New England weather in the process.”
Attracting more than 500,000 spectators each year, the Boston Marathon is New England’s most widely viewed sporting event. “Only 15 participants ran the inaugural marathon back in 1897,” adds Heber Meraz, “yet, today, the Boston Marathon now attracts around 30,000 registered runners every year.”
Over two decades after it was held, the 100th Boston Marathon still holds the record for the world’s largest-ever marathon event. “More than 38,000 people registered,” explains Meraz, “while precisely 36,748 started and 880 fewer-35,868 to be exact-finished the marathon’s centennial event.”
The Boston Marathon Memorial, close to the finish line in Copley Square, was installed to mark the one-hundredth running of the famous race. Incredibly, the race has never missed a single year, according to Heber Alonzo Meraz. “The event has been held every year since 1897,” reveals the experienced marathon runner, “including during the World War years.”
Recent men’s open Boston Marathon winners include Geoffrey Kirui of Kenya in 2017, Yuki Kawauchi of Japan in 2018, and Lawrence Cherono, again, of Kenya, in 2019. Recent women’s open winners, meanwhile, include Kenya’s Edna Kiplagat in 2017, the 2018 winner, American Desi Linden, and Worknesh Degefa, from Ethiopia, in 2019.
The 2020 Boston Marathon will take place on Monday, April 20, 2020. “Registration for next year’s event will open on Monday, September 9, at 10:00 am,” adds Heber Meraz, wrapping up.