A Viewers Guide to Boston 2019

In a week, over 30,000 runners take to the streets in Boston from Hopkinton to Copley Square. Over 500,000 spectators will watch runners affiliated with charities, Boston qualifiers and elite runners battle their way over 26.2 miles. The Boston marathon is a classic event that brings even the lightest of running fans, to their televisions or the streets of Boston on Patriots Day.

Elite Field

One of the most exciting things this year will be seeing the returning champions, Desiree Linden and Yuki Kawauchi come back to try and defend their titles. However, the defending champions are not the overwhelming favorites to win. Take a look at some of the big names in the dense elite field this year.

Elite Women

This year in a field of 22 elite women, 11 have personal bests under 2hr 23 minutes.

The field highlights 4 previous Boston Marathon Champions. Linden (USA) 2018, Edna Kiplagat (KEN) 2017, Caroline Rotich (KEN) 2015, and Sharon Cherop (KEN) 2012.

Be sure to watch out for a few other Americans: Jordan Hasay who is returning from a long battle with injury, but boasts the fastest time by an American in the field (2:20:57), Sarah Hall who has been setting many PRs on the roads in the past 12 months(2:26:20), Sally Kipyego the 2016 NYC Marathon runner-up.

Elite Men

The Elite men’s field has 5 previous Boston titles. Yuki Kawauchi (JPN) 2018, Lemi Berhanu (ETH) 2016, Lelisa Desisa (ETH) 2013 and 2015 Boston Marathon Champion and 2018 NYC Marathon Champion,  and Wesley Korir (KEN) 2012. Geoffrey Kirui (KEN) the 2017 Boston and World Marathon Champion is also a major contender.

Be sure to watch out for a few gentlemen from the United States: Dathan Ritzenhein, an Olympian who has the fastest marathon PR of the Americans, Abdi Abdirahman and Jared Ward who are also Olympians.

5 Fun Facts about Boston

  1. Women were not officially allowed to run Boston until 1972. That year 8 women entered and finished the race. However, in 1966 Katherine Switzer snuck into the race and became the first unofficial female finisher.

  2. The wheel-chair division was created in 1977, when Bob Hall petitioned to be in the race. He was told it would only counted if he completed the race under 3 hours. He came under three hours and paved the way for many athletes since.

  3. The route has always been meant to follow Paul Revere’s ride, but it hasn’t always been 26.2 miles. Until 1924, the course was about 25 miles long. Even after this change the course was still about 200 yards short till 1927. In the mid 1950s, the course was up to 1200 yards short at times due to construction and straightening of Boston streets.

  4. Boston is not a world record eligible course. Because the race is point-to-point and 459 ft net downhill, the course is not world record certified. Though it is not known as an easy course (Hello, Heartbreak Hill) , the possibility of a tailwind gives it the opportunity to be “very fast.”

  5. Net downhill indeed, but many runners would love to protest the idea of the course being a “fast” course. Heartbreak Hill, the fourth of the Newton hills, sits at mile 21. Heartbreak Hill marks its name day origin back in 1936 when John A. Kelley attempted to defend his Boston title. Kelly showboated his potential win a bit when passing Ellison Brown, however; on that hill Ellison came back and hammered home for the win. Thus this was the hill where Ellison “broke Kelley’s heart.”  There is a statue of Kelley at the base of this Newton Hill.

How to watch

Monday April 15, NBCSN @ 7:30am-Noon  Central time

Stay tuned in the Boston series

Next week, we will be posting the Blueprint to qualifying for Boston in 2020. Check out last year’s post on Boston Qualification. Stay tuned in on our Boston series.


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