Thursday, April 12, 2012

Countdown to Boston: Patriots' Day

With Boston only days away (4 to be precise), I'm going to begin a countdown to Boston series of posts. In the final days of the taper, it's hard to get my brain to focus on much other than the upcoming race, but with plenty of Boston-related topics, hopefully I can at least keep the blog interesting.

One of the oddities about the Boston Marathon is that it's run on a Monday, whereas nearly every other major marathon is run on a Saturday or Sunday. Actually, the race is tied to Patriots' Day, a holiday in Massachusetts and Maine that commemorates the Battles of Lexington and Concord, the first battles of the American Revolution back in 1775.

The holiday was first celebrated back in 1894, only three years before the BAA first held its annual marathon. Initially there was a spat between the towns of Lexington and Concord, with the citizenry wanting to call it "Lexington Day" and "Concord Day" respectively. Cooler heads prevailed at the state house and the Patriots' Day moniker was chosen as a compromise.

Here's another bit of running trivia: The BAA Marathon isn't the only longstanding race to be held on Patriot's Day in the Greater Boston area. Since 1914, the town of Lexington has held it's own race to mark the holiday. Although the 98-year-old race was originally dubbed the "Paul Revere Marathon Race," in its early years it was simply a 3-mile race. Today, it's a little longer and is now known as the Patriots' Day 5 Mile Road Race.

After running, the sport Bay Staters most associate with the holiday is baseball. The Red Sox first began the tradition of playing a morning baseball game on Patriots' Day in 1903 with a 10 am game. During many of the years when Boston was a two-team town (the Atlanta Braves got their start on Comm Ave), the Red Sox played Patriots' Day home games only in even numbered years. Since 1960, however, the team has played a home game ever year except two. To this day the morning start time remains a tradition with the first pitch at 11:05 am.

And just in case you thought Patriot's Day was always a Monday, it wasn't! Originally the holiday was celebrated on April 19th, no matter what the day of the week, and so for years the day of the marathon changed as well. It was only in 1969 that the Commonwealth declared Patriots' Day to be the third Monday in April.

Today's Run: 5.4 miles at 7:50 pace.


  1. Hey, good luck in Boston. I hope you have a great race!

    Dan Moriarity. (Full Stride Running)