I think deep down every runner wants to make it to Boston. The Boston Marathon, even before the horrific turn of events last year, was one of the biggest and brightest days in the running world. The first Boston Marathon was in 1897 when the distance was only 24 miles. In 1908 the distance for the marathon was officially changed to 26.2 miles and in 1967, Katherine Switzer became the first woman to complete the race. Now, more than 36,000 runners compete in the annual race.
Now, not everyone can run Boston. For those non-runners out there, you must meet qualifying times before running the Boston Marathon. You have to run the qualifying time at a Boston Marathon certified race. Once you meet the time requirement, you must be entered in to the race before all of the race spots are filled.
So let’s bring it back to 2014. 371 days after the Boston Marathon bombings in 2013, people returned to East Massachusetts to run in honor and in memory of those who died and survived last year’s attacks.
Boston Strong became a commitment.
Runners who finished at least half of the course in 2013 were given automatic entrance into the 2014 race. Sports Illustrated made the cover of its April magazine filled with survivors of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings.
An estimated 1 million came to watch the race take back its pride and honor.
Seventy-three year-old Joan Hill finished dead last in this year’s marathon. She said what kept her going was running to honor those who were injured during the 2013 bombing. You can read more about Joan here.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, 32-year-old Shalane Flanagan led the women’s race for 20 miles. Despite running a personal best by 3 minutes and being the fastest any American woman who has run the course, her race was not good enough to land her in the top five. Shalane finished 7th overall in the women’s race. Read more about Shalane here.
Kenyan marathoner Rita Jeptoo defended her title, winning her third Boston Marathon with a course record time of 2:18:57. Her first title came in 2006 and her second in 2013. While last year’s title was not as highly remembered as the series of unfortunate events that occurred, she will be known for her 2014 win and new course record of 2:18.57.
Boston and its runners came back to reclaim their day in running history.
As the event changes every year and the field gets faster, I cannot wait to see what’s in store for Boston in 2015.
Have any of you all run Boston? Were you or loved ones affected by the bombings?
Run Happy, Meghann