Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Wheelchair competitors, blind runners among 20,000 participants in Boston Marathon

Boston Marathon 2009 by Gabe Holm
Boston Marathon 2009, a photo by Gabe Holm on Flickr.

Begun in 1897, inspired by the success of the first modern-day marathon competition in the 1896 Summer Olympics,[1] the Boston Marathon is the world's oldest annual marathon, says Wikipedia. It ranks as one of the world's best-known road racing events.

Annual attendance: 500,000
Runners: 20,00

Though starting with 18 participants in 1897, the Centennial Boston Marathon in 1996 established a record as the world's largest marathon with 38,708 entrants, 36,748 starters, and 35,868 finishers.

26 miles, 385 yards length conforms to Olympic standard.[6] Marathons celebrate a messenger's dash from Marathon, Greece, to Athens to announce an unlikely Greek victory.

Women were not allowed to enter the Boston Marathon officially until 1972. In the 60's many women ran the course in defiance of the rules.

The Boston Marathon has a proud tradition of extending the challenge of the marathon to people with disabilities. In 1975, the Boston Marathon became the first major marathon to include a wheelchair division competition.

It also hosts a blind/visually impaired division and a mobility impaired program. In 2013, 40 blind runners participated.