All domestic eyes may be on the Virgin Money London Marathon and Olympic Trials in the capital on Sunday (April 24) but the daddy of all big city marathons also takes place next week. The 120th Boston Marathon will be held on Patriot’s Day on Monday (April 18) just six days before London.
Boston Marathon has survived temperature extremes that have melted the road surface and runners’ shoes and freezing conditions with sleet and snowfall. Participation has grown from 18 runners in 1897 to 30,333 finishers last year. The only British winners are Ron Hill in 1970 (2:10:30) and Geoff Smith in 1984 (2:10:34) and1985 (2:14:05).
Boston is almost unique for a big city marathon in that mandatory age-related qualifying standards are stipulated for entry. Men and women under-35 years have to have run 3:05 or 3:35 respectively to be considered. Your correspondent has the men’s over-80 standard of 4:55 on his bucket list!
One of the many stories that make Boston so special relates to the appearance of Roberta Gibb in 1966. “Bobbi” Gibb was the unofficial women’s winner after her entry had been refused because it was believed at the time that women were not physiologically capable of running such distances.
Having trained for two years, reportedly running up to 40 miles a day, Gibb hid her gender under her brother’s Bermuda shorts and hoody and proceeded to complete the distance in 3:21:40 - ahead of two thirds of the field of 540 finishers - to great acclaim from the press!
If you are inspired to compete next year and can achieve the qualifying time then Sports Tours International can look after all your travel needs.
Full details of the Boston Marathon are here