The Boston Marathon has become a historic race for athletes across the world to attend and conquer. With 125 years’ worth of history, there are a lot of memorable moments. As we get ready to celebrate this year’s Boston Marathon on October 11, 2021, let’s look back at the most memorable Boston Marathon moments.
1897: Boston Athletic Association replicates the Olympic Marathon
The first Boston marathon took place in 1897 with only 15 starts and 10 finishers. Even though the marathon had a weak turnout, newspapers across Boston covered it (due to it being organized by the very powerful Boston Athletic Association). The gentlemen of the BAA deemed Boston the “Athens” of the United States, so they decided to host their very own marathon footrace a year after the first Olympic Marathon of April 1896.
1966: Bobbi Gibb becomes the first woman to finish the Boston Marathon
By 1966 a lot of amazing things had taken place for women across the US, such as women’s right to vote, and yet still no woman had attempted competing in the Boston marathon. That was until Bobbi Gibb requested a race application for the Boston Marathon and was met with a no. The reason? “Women aren’t allowed to run the marathon and aren’t capable of handling the distance anyway.” Gibb ignored the no and took a bus across the country, hid in bushes near the start line, and jogged into the middle of the all-male field. She beat three-fourths of the men in an impressive 3:21:30. Now, what was that about women not being able to handle the distance?
1980: Rosie Ruiz (sort of) wins the race
This tale is one for the ages, in 1980, Rosie Ruiz jumped into the Boston Marathon with one mile to go and crossed the finish line. Since she finished first, she received a great deal of media attention, which she probably was not expecting (or perhaps she was). When she replied to questions that showed her lack of knowledge of marathons and running, such as the famous “What are intervals?” question, her legitimacy came into question. After more than a week, the BAA disqualified Ruiz and the actual winner was named Canadian Jacqueline Gareau.
2014: The Boston Marathon proves to be Boston Strong
After tragedy struck when two bombs detonated near the finish line of the Boston Marathon which killed three people and injured hundreds, Boston came back in 2014 stronger than ever. About 36,000 runners participated and there were around one million spectators lining the streets. Numbers that the Boston Marathon hadn’t seen since 1996. Throughout one of the most tragic sporting events in American history, the Boston community proved themselves to be strong in spirit and grit. The words “Boston Strong” became the epitome of the city and the Boston Marathon.
2018: American woman wins the race for the first time in 33 years
Desiree Linden, a two-time Olympian, had done her fair share of competing when it came to marathons, and especially the Boston Marathon. The 2018 race was her sixth time competing, and it finally paid off. She became the first American woman to wear the laurel wreath on Boylston Street in 33 years!
The 125th Boston Marathon takes place on October 11th for in-person and virtual runners. And if we’re lucky, we’ll get another historical moment!