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The Boston Marathon: The Ultimate Guide

April 15, 2023

The Boston Marathon is one of the oldest and most prestigious marathons in the world, with a rich history that spans over a century. In this blog post, we'll take a look at the history of the Boston Marathon, its significance, and provide some tips on how to best train for the race.

History of the Boston Marathon

The Boston Marathon was first run on April 19, 1897, making it the oldest annual marathon in the world. The race was inspired by the first modern marathon at the 1896 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. John Graham, the Boston Athletic Association (BAA) member and the first American to complete the Athens marathon, proposed the idea of a marathon race in Boston. His idea was embraced by the BAA and the first race attracted 15 runners.

The initial course of the Boston Marathon was a point-to-point race from Ashland to Boston. However, in 1924, the start of the race was moved to Hopkinton, a town located 26.2 miles west of Boston, and the course was modified to end at Copley Square in Boston. This new course became the official course of the Boston Marathon and has remained largely unchanged ever since.

The Boston Marathon has grown in popularity over the years, and today it is one of the most prestigious marathons in the world. Every year, thousands of runners from around the world come to Boston to compete in the race, making it a truly international event.

Significance of the Boston Marathon

Then 20-year old Katherine Switzer, the first ever woman in Boston Marathon (1967), trying to be stopped by other runners

The Boston Marathon is more than just a race. It is a symbol of endurance, perseverance, and the human spirit. The marathon has a storied history and has seen many incredible performances and dramatic moments over the years.

One of the most significant moments in the history of the Boston Marathon came in 1967 when Kathrine Switzer became the first woman to officially run the race. Switzer registered for the race under the name "K.V. Switzer" and managed to run more than half of the race before race officials realized she was a woman and tried to remove her from the course. Switzer's determination and refusal to quit inspired countless women to take up running and helped pave the way for women's running to become a recognized sport.

Katherine Switzer, 50 years later, finishes the Boston Marathon again

Another historic moment came in 2013 when two bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three people and injuring hundreds. The city of Boston and the running community came together in the aftermath of the attack, showing the world that they would not be deterred by acts of terrorism. The following year, the Boston Marathon saw a record number of participants, with more than 32,000 runners taking part in the race.

Training for the Boston Marathon

Training for the Boston Marathon requires a significant commitment of time and effort. Here are some tips to help you prepare for the race:

  1. Give yourself enough time to train: The Boston Marathon is a challenging race, and you will need to give yourself enough time to prepare properly. Most training plans recommend a minimum of 16 weeks of training leading up to the race.
  2. Build up your mileage gradually: It's important to build up your mileage gradually during your training. This will help you avoid injury and improve your endurance. Your training plan should include a mix of long runs, tempo runs, and speed work.
  3. Incorporate strength training: Strength training can help improve your running form and prevent injury. Include exercises like lunges, squats, and core work in your training plan.
  4. Practice running on hills: The Boston Marathon course is notoriously hilly, so it's important to incorporate hill training into your workouts. Find hills in your area and practice running up and down them.
  5. Get the right gear: Make sure you have the right gear for the race, including good running shoes, comfortable clothing, and appropriate layers for the weather conditions.
  6. Fuel your body properly: Proper nutrition is essential for marathon training. Make sure you are eating a balanced diet that includes plenty of carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats. Also, practice fueling during your long runs to figure out what works best for you.
  7. Rest and recover: Rest and recovery are just as important as training. Make sure you are getting enough sleep, taking rest days, and stretching or foam rolling to prevent injury.

The Elite Race

The Boston Marathon is one of the most prestigious marathons in the world, and the 2022 men's and women’s professional races promise to be some of the most competitive in history.

The Men

The elite men's field for this year's race includes some of the world's top distance runners, all of whom will be vying for the coveted title of Boston Marathon champion.

Eliud Kipchoge winning the Berlin Marathon 2022

The big name in the men's race is Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya, who is widely considered to be the greatest marathon runners of all time. Kipchoge has won numerous major marathons, including the Olympics (2016 and 2021), the London Marathon, and the Berlin Marathon, and he is the current world record holder in the marathon with a time of 2:01:39. He will be looking to add a Boston Marathon victory to his already impressive resume.

Lawrence Cherono winning the Boston Marathon in 2019

Other elite men's runners to watch include Lawrence Cherono of Kenya, who won the Boston Marathon in 2019, and Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia, who has won the Boston Marathon twice before. Both runners have proven themselves to be capable of running fast times on challenging courses, and they will likely be in contention for the win.

The Women

Brigid Kosgei as she breaks her marathon world record

One of the top contenders for the women's race is Brigid Kosgei of Kenya, who is the current women's world record holder in the marathon with a time of 2:14:04. Kosgei has won major marathons around the world, including the Chicago Marathon and the London Marathon, and she will be looking to add a Boston Marathon victory to her impressive resume.

Joyciline Jepkosgei wins the NYC Marathon in 2019

Another top contender for the women's race is Joyciline Jepkosgei of Kenya, who has set world records in the half marathon and is also a successful marathon runner. Jepkosgei has a personal best time of 2:18:40 in the marathon, and she will be looking to use her speed and endurance to claim victory in Boston.

Other elite women's runners to watch include Worknesh Degefa of Ethiopia, who won the Boston Marathon in 2019, and Edna Kiplagat of Kenya, who has won major marathons in London, New York, and Boston. Both runners have proven themselves to be capable of running fast times on challenging courses, and they will likely be in contention for the win.

The unpredictable weather is always a factor at the Boston Marathon, and this year's race is expected to be no exception. Current forecasts (5 days out) predict cooler temperatures (in the 50s F) with some rain and wind.

Overall, the 2022 Boston Marathon elite races promise to be competitive and thrilling. Fans of the sport will be watching eagerly to see who emerges victorious on this iconic and challenging course.

How to Watch the 2023 Boston Marathon?

The Boston Marathon can be watched live in a few different ways, depending on your location and preferences. Here are a few options:

  1. Television: In the United States, the Boston Marathon will be broadcast live on ESPN from 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. or, for local New England viewers, on WCVB beginning at 4:00 a.m. ET through 8:00 p.m. ET.
  2. Streaming: WCVB will also provide coverage on their digital streaming apps and via “Very Local Boston”. We’ll add a link when we’ve got one! Many broadcasters also offer live streaming options for the Boston Marathon.
  3. International Viewing: Check out this link for a full list of international streaming programs
  4. Spectating: If you're lucky enough to be in Boston Marathon on Monday, you can watch the race in person from various locations along the course. The most popular viewing spots are near the start in Hopkinton, along the famous Heartbreak Hill in Newton, and near the finish line in Boston's Back Bay.
  5. Watch Party: Join your Chaski friends and coaches on Slack to talk about, watch, and hear updates on the race from those of us out on the course or watching together from around the world!

10 Years Later: Remembering The 2013 Boston Marathon Attack

Lastly, this year marks 10 years since a tragic attack on this race that we all love. One of your faithful authors was there on that day (and the resulting week of chaos in the Boston-area) and remembers it all too well. It was an awful day for the victims of that horrendous attack, the runners in the marathon, and the entire city and greater running community. That said, we’ve also seen some incredible stories of resilience, including one of the victims of the attack returning to run the marathon on prosthesis.

Here’s to many years of grit and resilience.

Conclusion

The Boston Marathon is more than just a race. It is a symbol of endurance, perseverance, and the human spirit. With proper training, anyone can participate in this historic event and be part of its rich history.

If you're thinking about running the Boston Marathon, make sure you give yourself enough time to train, build up your mileage gradually, incorporate strength training and hill work, get the right gear, fuel your body properly, and prioritize rest and recovery. Good luck!

#TeamChaski during the Boston Marathon Supported Long Run happened on March 5th, 2023 joined by Coach Carolyn Stocker (5th from the left) and Coach Maggie Fox (1st from the right)

Looking to run your best at Boston? Or want to try to qualify? There’s no better way to prepare than to work with a coach!

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