Boston marathon

The iconic 26.2-miler is back and bigger than ever

On Monday, 36,000 runners will occupy Main Street, Hopkinton, the start line of the world’s oldest annual marathon and scene of the 2013 bombings, which saw three people killed, and over 260 injured.

As the world watches, the competitors will fight it out over 26 miles and 385 yards, taking in eight towns and cities, in a bid to break PBs and course records to make this year’s event memorable for positive reasons.

Huge numbers expected 

With 9,000 more runners than in 2013 and the second-largest entrants list in its history – falling short of the 38,000 who ran in 1996 for the 100th race – interest in the race certainly hasn’t waned. Around half a million spectators will line the route. As a precaution, there’ll be 3,500 police officers in the crowd and 100 additional security cameras.

The historic course once again winds through the roads and streets of Hopkinton, Ashland, Framingham, Natick, Wellesley, Newton, Brookline and Boston, finishing next the Boston Public Library. The infamous Heartbreak Hill lies in wait between mile 20 and 21, challenging runners hitting the wall.

Taking on this year’s race will be Shalane Flanagan, who grew up in Massachusetts and finished fourth in 2013, along with American Ryan Hall, who holds the US record of two hours, four minutes and 58 seconds. Male competitors looking to beat the course record will have to come in under the two hours, three minutes and two seconds set by Kenya’s Geoffrey Mutai of Kenya in 2011, while women have Kenya’s Margaret Okayo record of two hours, 20 minutes and 43 seconds to best.

On what’s due to be a warm, sunny Monday, here’s wishing good luck to everyone taking part.

Photo: Marcio Jose Bastos Silva/

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