When it comes to running, there really is no more prestigious race than the Boston Marathon. Held on Patriots’ Day, the third Monday of every April, the Boston Marathon is the oldest annual marathon dating back to its first race in 1897. It is one of six World Marathon Majors, pitting both amateur and professional runners alike against one another.
The field for the 123rd running of the race is stacked, with nine former champions competing. All four defending champions from 2018 — men’s champion Yuki Kawauchi of Japan, women’s champion Des Linden of the U.S., and wheelchair champions Marcel Hug of Switzerland and Tatyana McFadden of the U.S. — return, looking to improve on some of the slowest winning times in recent years due to poor weather conditions last year.
Since 2015, the Boston Marathon field has been capped at 30,000 entrants consisting of time qualifiers and charity runners. Eighty-two elite athletes including Olympians, Paralympians, world champions and marathon majors winners from 15 countries highlight this year’s group. Several celebrities, such as NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson, former New England Patriot Tedy Bruschi, the cast of “Supernatural” and Food Network chef Palak Patel, are also among the field.
Only one American male and one American female have won since 1988. Outside of defending champ Linden on the women’s side, Jordan Hasay provides the next best option for an American female to top the podium. In 2017 Hasay clocked the fastest-ever American marathon debut (2:23:00) for a woman.
For the men, the top American contender will likely be Shadrack Biwott. Biwot finished ninth at the 2018 New York City Marathon and was the highest finishing American (third) at last year’s Boston Marathon.
When is the Boston Marathon 2019?
This year’s Boston Marathon is set for Monday, April 15. The race begins at 9:02 a.m. ET with the men’s wheelchair division, followed two minutes later by the women.
Elite women racers begin at 9:32 a.m. ET followed by the elite men at 10 a.m. ET. The rest of the non-elite racers are then divided into four waves based on qualifying times and are staggered between 10:02 a.m. ET and 11:15 a.m. ET
Boston Marathon start times
|9:02 a.m. ET||Men’s wheelchair|
|9:04 a.m. ET||Women’s wheelchair|
|9:25 a.m. ET||Handcycles & duos|
|9:32 a.m. ET||Elite women|
|10 a.m. ET||Elite men|
|10:02 a.m. ET||Wave 1|
|10:25 a.m. ET||Wave 2|
|10:50 a.m. ET||Wave 3|
|11:15 a.m. ET||Wave 4|
Referred to as Patriots’ Day, the third Monday of April is an official Massachusetts state holiday, allowing for hundreds of thousands of spectators to make their way to cheer on runners. The Boston Red Sox also typically play a late morning game. This year, the defending World Series champions host the Orioles at 11:05 a.m. ET.
Route for the 2019 Boston Marathon
The 26.2-mile course passes through eight towns and has long been revered as one of the more challenging courses on the marathon circuit.
The point-to-point course begins in the rural town of Hopkinton and follows winding roads along Route 135, Route 16, Route 30 and city streets into the center of Boston. While the first 13.1 miles are generally forgiving and downhill, miles 16-21 present runners with four difficult hills culminating in “Heartbreak Hill” near Boston College.
The finish line is located on Bolyston Street in Copley Square, just outside the Boston Public Library.
Boston Marathon weather forecast
If runners thought last year’s weather conditions, consisting of mid-30s temperatures and downpouring rain was bad, 2019 may prove to be just as poor.
According to the National Weather Service Boston, there is a 90 percent chance of soaking rain with a possibility of thunderstorms. Temperatures will also be relatively chilly, with lows to start the morning in the 40s. The starting times for different waves have been condensed in order to reduce the time runners are waiting in the weather.
Last year, more than 2,500 runners received medical attention for hypothermia and other conditions related to the cold.
What the weather was like at Boston Marathon 2018 . . . pic.twitter.com/pYmoNCuPcx
— Marathon Training (@MarathonAcademy) April 24, 2018
Boston Marathon qualifying times
Boston is one of the few marathons that requires runners to qualify with a specific time in the preceding year in order to participate. Roughly 24,000 runners are accepted each year based on qualifying times, with the other 6,000 reserved for those running for charities. For this year’s race, prospective male runners in the age range of 18-34 had to run a time of no more than 3:05:00, or 3:35:00 (3 hours, 35 minutes) if female. The qualifying time is adjusted upward as age increases.
Due to too many runners meeting the qualifying times this year, 7,384 runners with the initial qualification standards were turned away. Runners needed to better the qualifying times by 4:52 in order to meet this year’s amended requirement. The Boston Athletic Association lowered the qualifying standards for the 2020 race by five minutes.
2020 Boston Marathon qualifying times
List of past Boston Marathon winners
|2018||Yuki Kawauchi (Japan)||2:15:58|
|2017||Geoffrey Kirui (Kenya)||2:09:37|
|2016||Lemi Berhanu (Ethiopia)||2:12:45|
|2015||Lelisa Desisa (Ethiopia)||2:09:17|
|2014||Meb Keflezighi (United States)||2:08:37|
|2013||Lelisa Desisa (Ethiopia)||2:10:22|
|2012||Wesley Korir (Kenya)||2:12:40|
|2011||Geoffrey Mutai (Kenya)||2:03:02|
|2010||Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot (Kenya)||2:05:52|
|2009||Deriba Merga (Ethiopia)||2:08:42|
|2018||Desiree Linden (United States)||2:39:54|
|2017||Edna Kiplagat (Kenya)||2:21:52|
|2016||Atsede Baysa (Ethiopia)||2:29:19|
|2015||Caroline Rotich (Kenya)||2:24:55|
|2014||Buzunesh Deba (Ethiopia)||2:19:59|
|2013||Rita Jeptoo (Kenya)||2:26:25|
|2012||Sharon Cherop (Kenya)||2:31:50|
|2011||Caroline Kilel (Kenya)||2:22:36|
|2010||Teyba Erkesso (Ethiopia)||2:26:11|
|2009||Salina Kosgei (Kenya)||2:32:16|