The 2014 Boston Marathon began on Monday, making it the 118th running in the race’s history. While it’s one of the largest American sporting events, many people outside of New England know very little about the race.
Below are six fun facts about the Boston Marathon and Patriots’ Day, the holiday on which it takes place, each year.
Number of Spectators
A year after the Boston Marathon bombing, over a million spectators reportedly showed up to watch the race. The number is approximately two times that of the 2013 race, when an estimated 500,000 people were line up along the route.
Increase in Entrants
The 2014 race has seen a much larger field than that of years past. The 36,000 entrants is the second-most in the race’s history. The record was set in 1996, when over 38,000 people participated in the marathon’s 100th running.
It’s been over 30 years since an American finished in first place. In 1983, Greg Meyer won the race, becoming the last person born in the United States to do so. Two years later, Lis Larsen Weidenbach became the last American-born competitor to place first, among women. In the last three decades, the field has been dominated by Kenyans. Lelisa Desisa Benti of Ethopia finished in first in 2013.
While most people that run the marathon have no intention of winning, those that are trying to place first are looking to be rewarded for their efforts. The male and female winners will each be awarded $150,000. The top 15 finishers for each gender are set to get prize money, with the 15th place male and female runners making $1,500 each. The 30 runners will total $706,000 in prize money.
The majority of the race doesn’t even take place in Boston. The marathon begins in the Boston suburb of Hopkinton and remains out of the city for over 91 percent of the way. It concludes on Boylon Street, right by the Boston Public Library.
Baseball has become a fixture of Patriots’ Day. The Red Sox have been playing at Fenway Park on the holiday every year since 1960, though a few games have been postponed, due to rain. Each year, the contest is the earliest start time of the season, with a 11:05 scheduled first pitch.