Hey, hey it’s Friday! I’m about to head up a mountain for a day full of skiing and adventure in Steamboat… stay updated with the gorgeous views by following me on Instagram.
In the meantime, I am getting so amped up to run my fifth Boston Marathon in just a few months. INSANE. As I get more hyped about it, I love to read more and more about the amazing race… and today, in light of Friday Five with Rachel at Running on Happy, I want to share some of my favorite Boston Marathon facts!
1. The real distance of a marathon wasn’t 26.2 miles.
OK, this really isn’t a true Boston Marathon fact, but rather, a marathon fact… but it impacts the Boston Marathon. So here we go! In 1897, the first Boston Marathon was run… and it was 24.5 miles. In 1924, the course was lengthened to the official 26.2 miles to meet the Olympic standard, which was established in the 1908 Olympics in London.
Why? Because the distance from Windsor Castle to the Olympic Stadium was about 26 miles, and the organizers wanted the Queen to have the best view from the Royal Box, so they ran about 385ish yards to round it out to 26.2 years. It’s not even clear why this ended up being the distance, but this article talks about all the myths.
2. The greatest race (IMO) was the 1982 one between Alberto Salazar and Dick Beardsley
If you haven’t read “Duel in the Sun,” add it to your list right now. It’s one of the most inspirational books I’ve ever read and I love to read it over and over again. Basically, after 26.2 miles in the grueling sun, it was TWO seconds that determined first and second place between the two. I will never understand how a race of such a long distance can come down to just a few seconds.
3. The unicorn symbol is not from mythology
Many people think that the unicorn is associated with the Boston Marathon because it often represents something that you can never catch (aka your Boston Marathon qualifying time), but experts say that it most likely came from one of the first families of the Boston Marathon, who had a unicorn in its coat of arms.
4. Women had to run without “official” bibs until 1972
Back in the day, women were not allowed to run marathons — mostly because they thought that if they run that far their uteruses would fall out. *insert eye roll* In 1966, the first woman — Roberta Gibb — ran the race without an official bib. In 1967, Katherine Switzer was issued a bib number, but didn’t clarify her gender. It wasn’t until 1972 when women were finally given bibs.
5. Qualification times
It was in 1970 when qualifying standards were first introduced… and at that time, runners had to prove that they could run a marathon under four hours. Since then, they have been tightened quite a bit… and with the influx of runners trying to enter the race, many fear that the times will be tightened once more. The idea behind it is to ensure that the most competitive field toes the line, and it’s one of the only races in the world that requires qualification times from nearly the entire field (minus charity).
Have you ever run the Boston Marathon? What did you think about it?
What’s a favorite random fact of yours?
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