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The Boston Marathon Fact Sheet

A guide to the world's most celebrated road race

by Erin Teare Martin, Mike Morrison, and Catherine McNiff

Shoes from the 2013 Boston Marathon Memorial Exhibit

The Boston Marathon Virtual Tour: A no-sweat guide to the world's most famous race

What: 119th Boston Marathon

Where: From Hopkinton, MA, to Boston (26.2 miles)

When: Monday, April 20, 2015 race begins at 10:00 A.M., with earlier starts for the mobility impaired (8:50 A.M.), wheelchair (9:17 A.M.), handcycle (9:22 A.M.), and elite women (9:32 A.M.). This year there is an added wave; there will be four waves releasing the rest of the field, at 10:00 A.M., 10:25 A.M., 10:50 A.M., and 11:15 A.M.

Who: Organizers set the field numbers at 30,000 and the race will be run at capacity.

New for 2015

About one million people are expected to show up to watch the race. There will be a "significant" presence of uniformed and plain clothed police officers patrolling the marathon and spectators are to expect security checkpoints and bag searches. Spectators are being asked to not bring large items, backpacks or coolers. Instead, public safety officials have asked that all personal items be carried in clear plastic bags. Both spectators and runners are subject to a strict list of "do not carry" items.

Marathon Facts

The Boston Marathon, organized by the Boston Athletic Association, is the world's oldest marathon. It takes place on the third Monday in April, also known as Patriot's Day, which is a holiday (in Maine and Massachusetts) that commemorates the famous battles of Lexington and Concord.

Two top finishers (male/female) each get $150,000.

Of the 26,655 runners who entered the race in 2012, 22,485 actually ran, and 21,616 finished. That is 96.1%.

New as of 2013, supporters can register for the marathon's Athlete Alerts. You will receive an alert as your runner reaches the 10K, 13.1-mile, 30K, and the finish line! You can also text a special message on race day to support your runner—your message will appear on three big screens along the race course.

In 1988, Ibrahim Hussein became the first black male to win at Boston.

Former Massachusetts Governor and presidential candidate Mike Dukakis finished 57th (3:31) as a high school student in 1951.

In 1975, Boston became the first major marathon to include a wheelchair division.

In 2007, the marathon initiated a wave start, with one group of runners going off at 10:00 A.M. and a second group starting a half an hour later.

On Monday, April 16, 2012, the 500,000th finisher in the 116-year history of the Boston Marathon crossed the finish line.

In 2013, two bombs exploded near the finish line during the marathon. The bombs went off at 2:50 in the afternoon as runners finished the race. Three people were killed. One was an eight-year-old boy. More than 260 people were injured. The first explosion happened on Boylston Street close to the finish line. The second blast came just over ten seconds later, 50 to 100 yards away.

Lelisa Desisa won not only the 2013 Boston Marathon, but also many hearts when he chose to give his medal back to the city of Boston to honor the victims of that year's bombing. In a quieter gesture, he also gifted his racing bib to a couple who were injured in the blast. A repeat winner in 2015, Desisa will probably keep his medal this time around.

2015 Winners

Men's Open:
Lelisa Desisa (Ethiopia), 2:09:17

Women's Open:
Caroline Rotich (Kenya), 2:24:55

Men's Push Rim Wheelchair:
Marcel Hug (Switzerland), 1:29:53

Women's Push Rim Wheelchair:
Tatyana McFadden (United States), 1:52:54

2014 Winners

Men's Open:
Meb Keflezighi (United States), 2:08:37

Women's Open:
Rita Jeptoo (Kenya), 2:18:57

Men's Push Rim Wheelchair:
Ernst Van Dyk (South Africa), 1:20:36

Women's Push Rim Wheelchair:
Tatyana McFadden (United States), 1:35:06

2013 Winners

Men's Open:
Lelisa Desisa (Ethiopia), 2:10:11

Women's Open:
Rita Jeptoo (Kenya), 2:26:25

Men's Push Rim Wheelchair:
Hiroyuki Yamamoto (Japan), 1:25:33

Women's Push Rim Wheelchair:
Tatyana McFadden (United States), 1:45:25

2012 Winners

Men's Open:
Wesley Korir (Kenya), 2:12:40

Women's Open:
Sharon Cherop (Kenya), 2:31:50

Men's Masters:
Uli Steidl (United States), 2:23:08

Women's Masters:
Svetlana Pretot (France), 2:40:50

Men's Push Rim Wheelchair:
Joshua Cassidy (Canada), 1:18:25

Women's Push Rim Wheelchair:
Shirley Reilly (United States), 1:37:36

2011 Winners

Men's Open:
Geoffrey Mutai (Kenya), 2:03:02

Women's Open:
Caroline Kilel (Kenya), 2:22:36

Men's Masters:
Migidio Bourifa (Italy), 2:13:45

Women's Masters:
Larisa Zyusko (Russian Federation), 2:34:22

Men's Push Rim Wheelchair:
Masazumi Soejima (Japan), 1:18:50

Women's Push Rim Wheelchair:
Wakako Tsuchida (Japan), 1:34:06

2010 Winners

Men's Open:
Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot (Kenya), 2:05:52

Women's Open:
Teyba Erkesso (Ethiopia), 2:26:11

Men's Masters:
James Koskei (Kenya), 2:17:28

Women's Masters:
Denise C. Robson (Canada), 2:43:16

Men's Push Rim Wheelchair:
Ernst Van Dyk (South Africa), 1:26:53

Women's Push Rim Wheelchair:
Wakako Tsuchida (Japan), 1:43:32

Course Records

Men's Open:
Geoffrey Mutai (Kenya), 2:03:02, 2011

Women's Open:
Rita Jeptoo (Kenya), 2:18:57, 2014

Men's Masters:
John Campbell (New Zealand), 2:11:04, 1990

Women's Masters:
Firaya Sultanova-Zhdanova (Russia), 2:27:58, 2002

Men's Wheelchair:
Joshua Cassidy (Canada), 1:18:25, 2012

Women's Wheelchair:
Wakako Tsuchida (United States), 1:34:06, 2011

Did you know?
According to the 2010 Census, Asians make up 4.8% of the U.S. population.