Boston Marathon race updates by

Boston Marathon race updates by

Stride-by-stride coverage of the elite field of male and female runners as well as the wheelchair racers, from Hopkinton to the finish line on Boylston Street.

  • Eric Bauer, 4/21/2014 12:11:01 PM
    Today's weather promises to be good for the runners, and not too bad for the spectators. Temperatures will be in the 40s at the start in Hopkinton, rising into the 50s by the time most runners get to the finish line in Boston, according to meteorologist David Epstein. Winds will be light, and give runners a bit of a head wind as they approach Boston.
  • Teresa Hanafin 4/21/2014 12:12:21 PM
    What is the optimal temperature for running a marathon? For elite runners, it’s 41 to 50 degrees, according to an exhaustive study by the Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine in Natick several years ago. Today is expected to be in the low 50s - not optimal, but still nice.
  • Eric Bauer, 4/21/2014 12:14:43 PM
    The Boston Marathon is first and foremost an athletic event. But it has also become an important way for local charities to raise money. Last year, the Boston Marathon Non-Profit Program raised a record $7.9 million for 146 charities, according to the BAA. In the 28 years of the program, more than $170 million has been raised.

    Each year, thousands of official entries are given to runners who solicit pledges for charitable causes, but do not have to meet the otherwise stringent qualification standards.

    This year, the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge program alone includes more than 700 runners from around the country, among them cancer survivors, and the families and friends of cancer patients. They will be wearing a special blue and lime green singlet featuring the skyline of Boston.
  • Eric Bauer, 4/21/2014 12:16:00 PM
    Here is this morning's schedule of race start times:

    8:50 a.m.: Mobility impaired participants
    9:17 a.m.: Wheelchair division
    9:22 a.m.: Handcycle participants
    9:32 a.m.: Elite women runners (whose bib numbers have their names on them)
    10 a.m.: Elite men runners (whose bib numbers have their names on them) and Wave One of the main race (bib numbers 101-8,999, with a red background)
    10:25 a.m.: Wave Two of the main race (bib numbers 9,000-17,999, with a white background)
    11 a.m.: Wave Three of the main race (bib numbers 18,000-26,999, with a blue background)
    11:25 a.m.: Wave Four of the main race (bib numbers 27,000-36,450, with a yellow background)
  • Eric Bauer, 4/21/2014 12:19:42 PM
    It's a little hard to believe that no one has ever shot a full-length movie about the Boston Marathon, but that's about to change. This year, filmmaker Jon Dunham, who has already chronicled the Chicago and Rome marathons in "Spirit of the Marathon" and "Spirit of the Marathon II", is bringing his cameras to Boston.

    The documentary, to be called simply "Boston", will highlight many of the historic moments of the Boston Marathon from its founding through today, including last year's terror bombings. It is "an in-depth, behind-the-scenes look at the major organizational efforts to prepare for the race, dramatic moments from past Boston Marathons as told by former champions and competitors, and contemporary stories of runners and spectators who have unique relationships with the race," according to the BAA. The film is expected to be released in 2015.

    Dunham is an accomplished runner himself, having finished more than two dozen marathons.
  • Teresa Hanafin 4/21/2014 12:25:34 PM
    There will be a moment of silence at the starting line in Hopkinton at 8:45 a.m. in remembrance of the four people killed in the bombings last year: 8-year-old Martin W. Richard of Dorchester, Krystle M. Campbell of Arlington, Boston University grad student Lingzi Lu of China, and MIT police officer Sean A. Collier.

    The moment will also honor the injured, first responders, two firefighters who died battling a Back Bay blaze last month: Lt. Edward J. Walsh Jr. and Michael R. Kennedy, and fallen officers Gregory T. Maloney of the Plymouth police department and Dennis O. Simmonds of the Boston Police Department.
  • Eric Bauer, 4/21/2014 12:28:34 PM
    Just before the main race steps off in Hopkinton, four HH-60M Air Ambulance Helicopters from the Massachusetts Army National Guard will conduct a flyover of the course, beginning at the starting line at 9:51 and finishing 15 minutes later in Boston. Guard members were part of the emergency response after the bombing last year.
  • Teresa Hanafin 4/21/2014 12:31:08 PM
    Opening the 2014 Boston Marathon with the singing of the U.S. National Anthem will be Sgt. Daniel M. Clark, "The Singing Trooper." Clark has been opening the Boston Marathon since 1990, and also ran the Boston Marathon, after singing, in 2002 and 2009.
  • Teresa Hanafin 4/21/2014 12:34:58 PM
    If you yell "Go, Jennifer" to any of the 16,081 women officially running today, you might hit the mark: There are 396 of them, the most common women’s name on the course. They’re joined by 238 Sarahs, 235 Lisas, and 203 Elizabeths.
  • Teresa Hanafin 4/21/2014 12:35:02 PM
    By the way, the most common men’s names list reads like the Bible: David, John, James, Mark, Daniel, Matthew, and Paul are all in the Top 10.
  • Eric Bauer, 4/21/2014 12:35:47 PM
    This year's list of marathon entries reads like a cross between the London and Dublin phone directories. There are 207 Smiths, 146 Johnsons, 110 Browns, 110 Millers, 106 Joneses, and more than 60 Davises, Taylors, Whites, Martins, Campbells, Sullivans, Murphys, and Andersons. The most popular non-English, non-Irish name is Kim, with 51, followed by Gonzalez, with 35. The field includes three runners named Michael Kennedy, and three named Michael J. Sullivan.
  • Eric Bauer, 4/21/2014 12:37:01 PM
    One of the last entries added to the field is well known to Boston sports fans. Doug Flutie tweeted Saturday that he "woke up today and decided to run the Boston Marathon." The former Boston College and New England Patriots star, and Heisman Trophy winner, will run in support of the Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism. 

    The course passes through his hometown of Natick for four miles late in the first half of the race. Flutie, now 51, lives in Melbourne Beach, Fla., and will be wearing bib 25,500.

    Sooo...woke up today & decided to run the @bostonmarathon just picked up my number & heading to the sox game #yup

    — DOUG FLUTIE (@DougFlutie) April 19, 2014

  • Eric Bauer, 4/21/2014 12:39:01 PM
    This year's field of slightly more than 35,600 entries is the second biggest ever, surpassed only by the 100th running in 1996, which had 38,708. It was supersized to make good on the BAA's promise that runners who were unable to finish last year because of the terror attacks could run again this year, whether they qualified or not. In all, a special invitation was extended to 5,633 official entrants who reached the halfway mark in Wellesley but were unable to cross the finish line before the race was stopped. Some 4,500 of them choose to return.
  • Eric Bauer, 4/21/2014 12:39:13 PM
    The BAA also issued special invitations to the non-runners who were most affected by the tragedy, including victims and their families, and first responders. The Watertown Police Department, for example, is sending a team of 12 officers, including Chief Edward Deveau.
  • Eric Bauer, 4/21/2014 12:39:21 PM
    A further 450 slots were offered as prizes in an essay contest. The winners were the writers who could best explain why running Boston was important to them. Race officials say the increase in field size is a one-year thing. Beginning next year the marathon will return to the approximately 27,000-runner level it had been at since 2008.
  • Eric Bauer, 4/21/2014 12:41:32 PM
    It will take more than two hours for the entire field of 36,000 plus to cross the starting line. The last official runners are expected to begin the 26.2 mile race in Hopkinton only minutes before the women's winner crosses the finish line in Boston.

    It would be physically impossible for all the runners to start at the same time, given the narrowness of the streets in Hopkinton, but runners are not penalized for being at the back of the pack. The BAA uses an electronic timing chip that official runners must wear on the back of their bibs to calculate "net" time for each runner -- the difference between when the chip records them crossing the start line, and when it records them crossing the finish line.

    Digital clocks displaying elapsed time from the 10 a.m. official start are located at every mile and five-kilometer marker, and times for each runner are recorded at each checkpoint along the way, to make sure no one jumps in the race near the finish line, as Rosie Ruiz famously did in 1980.

    Official timing stops six and a half hours after the last runner crosses the starting line, or about 6:10 this evening.
  • Eric Bauer, 4/21/2014 12:43:27 PM
    Hydration is key when you're running 26.2 miles, and the BAA has set up stations roughly once every mile along the course where runners can partake of the "official fluids" of the Boston Marathon -- Poland Spring water and Gatorade Endurance Formula (lemon/lime flavor).
  • Eric Bauer, 4/21/2014 12:47:38 PM
    The Boston Marathon starts on Main Street in Hopkinton, two thirds of the way between Boston and Worcester, and follows Route 135 for more than 13 miles through Ashland, Framingham, and Natick to where it joins Route 16 in Wellesley. It continues along Route 16 through Newton Lower Falls, turning right at the red-brick fire station onto Commonwealth Avenue.

    From there runners follow Commonwealth Avenue through the Newton hills, bearing right at the Chestnut Hill Reservoir onto Chestnut Hill Avenue to Cleveland Circle. The route then turns left onto Beacon Street in Brookline, and enters Boston with about two miles remaining.

    Runners continue through Kenmore Square, near Fenway Park, and under Massachusetts Avenue. They turn right onto Hereford Street, then left onto Boylston Street for the sprint to the finish alongside the Boston Public Library, near Copley Square. The official distance is 26 miles, 385 yards, or 42.195 kilometers.
  • Eric Bauer, 4/21/2014 12:50:06 PM
    The first of today's many starts has just taken place in Hopkinton. The group of mobility-impaired runners is off and on their way to Boston after the official starter, Gov. Deval Patrick, waved his hand. There are about 20 mobility impaired entrants, many of whom are running with guides. Their appearance will be the first indication for spectators lining the course that today's events have begun.
  • Eric Bauer, 4/21/2014 12:52:05 PM
    This year's field includes runners from all 50 US states and all the Canadian provinces and territories except Nunavut. As expected, Massachusetts leads with 8,088 entries, or 23 percent of the field. California is next, with 2,625 entries, followed by New York (1,775), Texas (1,142), Pennsylvania (1,132), and Illinois (1,027). The mad-for-running Canadian province of Ontario has 1,175 entries.
  • Eric Bauer, 4/21/2014 12:53:19 PM
    Boston has 1,914 runners in today's field, more than any other city. That's to be expected. It is, after all, Boston's marathon. Second place New York City has 772, followed by Chicago at 346. Cambridge, Mass., is fourth at 323, and Toronto fifth at 266. London sent 97 runners, most of any city outside of North America, followed by Tokyo, Seoul, and Dublin.
  • Eric Bauer, 4/21/2014 12:54:43 PM
    Although 83 percent of runners are from the US, 95 countries are represented in the field. The US has 29,482 entries. Canada is solidly second, with 2,485 runners, followed by the United Kingdom with 508. But Mexico, Japan, Italy, Germany, Ireland, Australia, France, Brazil, and Spain all have more than 100 entries.

    Among the 21 countries with a lone participant are Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Liechtenstein, and the Cape Verde islands.
  • Teresa Hanafin 4/21/2014 12:57:45 PM
    The Boston Globe covered the very first Boston Marathon, held on April 19, 1897. This was its run-on lead the next day: “The ‘Marathon’ race from Ashland to this city, held under the auspices of the Boston athletic association, yesterday afternoon, in conjunction with open handicap games on Irvington oval, in emulation of the Olympic games held in Athens last spring, proved a great success and is an assurance of an annual fixture of the same kind.”
  • Teresa Hanafin 4/21/2014 12:58:13 PM
    Unfortunately, a New Yorker won that first Marathon: John J. McDermott of the Pastime Athletic Club. He ran the then-25-mile course in 2:55:10, and won despite stopping and walking several times because of cramps. It helped that the field was only 15 men.
  • Teresa Hanafin 4/21/2014 12:58:24 PM
    The starting line at that first Boston Marathon in 1897 consisted of a line across a dirt road in Ashland scraped by a race organizer using his foot. And there was no starter’s gun; he simply yelled, “Go!”
  • Eric Bauer, 4/21/2014 12:59:26 PM
    Here are the Boston Marathon course records. Only one, the women's wheelchair record, is currently held by an American. The men's record by Kenyan Geoffrey Mutai is the fastest marathon ever run.

    Men's Open: Geoffrey Mutai (Kenya), 2:03:02, 2011
    Women's Open: Margaret Okayo (Kenya), 2:20:43, 2002
    Men's Masters (40 and over): John Campbell (New Zealand), 2:11:04, 1990
    Women's Masters (40 and over): 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
  • Eric Bauer, 4/21/2014 1:01:13 PM
    Boston was the first major marathon to include a wheelchair division. That was in 1975. Bob Hall of Massachusetts was the first officially recognized wheelchair participant. This year's wheelchair racers are assembling at the start. They will get the starting gun in 17 minutes, at 9:17 a.m.
  • Teresa Hanafin 4/21/2014 1:01:15 PM
    Weather at the starting line in Hopkinton is a cool 52.9 degrees Fahrenheit with virtually no wind.
  • Teresa Hanafin 4/21/2014 1:02:33 PM
    The starting line, the course, and especially the finish line today will be swarming with reporters. In a normal year, the marathon attracts more media coverage than any one-day sporting event in the US other than the Super Bowl, issuing 1,500 credentials to 250 outlets. Given the tragic events of last year, interest in today’s race is intense: 1,800 credentials have been issued to 300 media organizations.
  • Eric Bauer, 4/21/2014 1:03:05 PM
    The number of wheelchair entries has been rising in recent years after more than a decade of declining participation blamed on the sport's expense and a lack of sponsors. This year the men's and women's field totals a robust 62 entries, the largest number since 1997. More than 80 athletes participated in wheelchair division races in the mid-1990s, but by 2008 the number had fallen to a mere 16, before increasing to 29 in 2009 and 2010, 32 in 2011 and 2012, and 52 last year. This year there are 49 men and 13 women entered.
  • Teresa Hanafin 4/21/2014 1:03:14 PM
    For the first time, the average age of female runners has hit 40. Men are an average of 45 years old.
  • Eric Bauer, 4/21/2014 1:05:25 PM
    The oldest competitors in today's race are 81, and there are seven of them:

    Katherine Beiers of Santa Cruz, Calif.
    Claude Buisson of Vaujours, France
    Anthony Cellucci Jr. of Needham
    Jimmy F. Green of Marblehead
    George C Leslie Jr. of Chelmsford
    Thomas H Marrin of Fremont, Calif.
    Harold Wilson of Tyler, Texas
  • Eric Bauer, 4/21/2014 1:06:12 PM
    There are 32 competitors -- 20 men and 12 women -- who are 18 years old, the youngest age the BAA allows to participate these days. More than half of them are from Massachusetts.
  • Eric Bauer, 4/21/2014 1:07:04 PM
    In last year's men's wheelchair race, Hiroyuki Yamamoto of Japan, a Boston rookie, grabbed the lead early, between the 3- and 4-mile marks, in Ashland, and slowly pulled away for the rest of the race. His time of 1:25:32 was a minute and 40 seconds ahead of the second-place finisher, nine-time Boston winner Ernst Van Dyk of South Africa. Both men are in today's field. Today's two wheelchair winners will pocket $15,000 of sponsor John Hancock's money.
  • Eric Bauer, 4/21/2014 1:09:13 PM
    This is the second year of the Boston-London Wheelchair Challenge, which offers $35,000 in prize money to athletes who compete in both the London and Boston wheelchair marathons. The two races are eight days apart. Switzerland's Marcel Hug has a leg up on this year's men's prize, having won the men's race in London on April 13. Tatyana McFadden of Maryland, the defending champion in Boston, won the women's race. The prize purse is awarded to the top three men and woman according to a point system based on their finish place in both races. The winner of each race will get 20 points, second place 15, and third place 10, on down to 3 points for finishing 10th. When the points from both races are totaled, the top man and woman will get $10,000, the runner-up $5,000, and third place $2.500.

    Hug will win the challenge if he takes first or second place today. The women's race is more wide open since the second-place finisher in London, Manuela Schar of Switzerland, is also competing today.
  • Eric Bauer, 4/21/2014 1:10:21 PM
    The 62 wheelchair racers -- 49 men and 13 women -- are on the starting line. The men's wheelchair field is loaded again this year. It includes every champion since 2001, and 13 of the top 15 finishers from 2013. Hiroyuki Yamamoto of Japan set a record as the oldest Boston Marathon winner when he cruised to victory last year at age 46. His 1:25:32 was the fourth fastest wheelchair marathon in the world last year. He'll try to repeat today on a rolling course that plays to his strengths. Ernst Van Dyk, who has won more Boston Marathons than anyone ever, but was second last year, should challenge Yamamoto again.
  • Eric Bauer, 4/21/2014 1:11:50 PM
    Another top men's wheelchair contender is Marcel Hug of Switzerland, who has been practically unbeatable in the marathon since finishing fourth at Boston last year. At 28, he is a young man in a sport where the winners are often in their 30s or 40s. Just eight days ago he won an exciting four-way sprint to the finish in the London Marathon, beating six-time London champion David Weir, Ernst Van Dyk, and Kota Hokinoue of Japan. All four would have been in today's field, but Weir dropped out with a chest infection.

    In 2013, Hug won both the IPC World Championship marathon and the New York Marathon. He and Hokinoue (who finished third at Boston last year) shared the year's top marathon time, 1:20:52.
  • Eric Bauer, 4/21/2014 1:13:21 PM
    Lest we forget, the men's wheelchair field also includes Josh Cassidy, 29, of Port Elgin, Ontario, who won Boston in 2012. His time that year, 1:18:25, is not only a course record, it's the fastest wheelchair marathon of all time. Cassidy, using a new a new chair, went out fast in last week's London Marathon, but hurt his back and eased up to save himself for Boston. He's been training and recovering at home in Canada since. He recently tweeted that he is still sore, but "should be good to go" today.
  • Eric Bauer, 4/21/2014 1:17:05 PM
    They're off! The gun has sounded for the 62 wheelchair racers, who have begun their 26.2 mile journey to Boston's Copley Square. The athletes are held at a slow, controlled speed for the first quarter mile of the race, which is a sharp downhill. The controlled start was instituted in 1988, a year after nine wheelchair entrants crashed on the steep, wet pavement just after the start.
  • Teresa Hanafin 4/21/2014 1:17:40 PM
    Women's wheelchair defending champ Tatyana McFadden, nicknamed "The Beast" because of her extraordinary strength, is celebrating her 25th birthday today. A second consecutive victory would be icing on the cake, so to speak.
  • Eric Bauer, 4/21/2014 1:18:28 PM
    The wheelchair athletes are clear of the slowish controlled start, and are rolling down Route 135 towards Ashland.
  • Teresa Hanafin 4/21/2014 1:18:46 PM
    Marathon officials announced the official entrant count: 35,755 total competitors - 19,648 men and 16,107 women.
  • Teresa Hanafin 4/21/2014 1:19:05 PM
    Wakako Tuschida of Japan set the world record for women's wheelchair racers in Boston in 2011, crossing the finish line at 1:34:06. She returns this year after missing last year because of illness.
  • Eric Bauer, 4/21/2014 1:21:41 PM
    Next up at the starting line are the 22 handcycle racers, who are part of the BAA's mobility impaired program. Twenty of these participants are men; 2 are woman. Most of them will take well under two hours to travel the 26.2 miles to Copley Square.
  • Eric Bauer, 4/21/2014 1:22:07 PM
    The handcycle field is off. Next up, at 9:32, are the elite women runners, who have had their own start since 2004. The separate start better showcases the women's race, giving them a clear course and allowing the spectators to see them better. The elite men's start is 28 minutes later at 10 a.m.
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