Thursday, April 16, 2015

Countdown to Boston: 26.2 Random Facts About the Boston Marthon: Part 2

For those of you who are counting, it's 4 days until the 119th Boston Marathon. My brain is currently all over the place as I try to wrap it around the fact that in roughly 96 hours, I will be toeing the line in Hopkinton. Since I'm a little scatterbrained right now, rather than providing you with a perfectly coherent post--though let's be honest, I almost never do that--I thought I would just share some random trivia about the oldest marathon in the U.S.

I present you part two of my 26.2 Random Facts About the Boston Marathon. If you missed Part 1, check it out here.
14. Technically, the Boston Marathon is only on its fourth race director. Will Cloney became the first official race director in 1946. Prior to that, the marathon was organized by a committee. Cloney served as race director until 1982, simultaneously serving as director of the B.A.A.'s annual indoor track meet. Tim Kilduff took on the role briefly, from 1983 to 1984, followed by Guy Morse from 1985 to 2000. Current director Dave McGillivray took over in 2001. 

15. In the 1950s it cost race organizers less than $2,500 a year to put on the marathon. Today its annual budget is in the millions of dollars. Talk about inflation!

16. Each year the Red Sox hold a day game on Patriots' Day starting at 11:05 a.m. Up until 1953 when the National League Boston Braves left for Atlanta, the two teams alternated the Patriots' Day game every other year.

17. John Hancock became the race's title sponsor in 1986, necessitating a move of the finish line which had been in front of the Prudential Center, home of one of John Hancock's main competitors.

18. Only one B.A.A. member has ever won the Boston Marathon. John J. Kelley (John "The Younger") won the race in 1957, the first, last, and only member of the Boston Athletic Association to do so.

19. In 1897, the B.A.A. awarded finisher medals to everyone who completed the race--all ten of them.

20. The B.A.A. began awarding medals to all finishers again in 1983. Prior to that, only the top runners received medals, although the number of medals awarded ranged from 25 to more than 100.

21. In earlier years, when the field was much smaller, all finishers received a bowl of beef stew.

22. Since 1987, the wreath placed on the winner's head has been made from leaves picked from a wild olive tree located just outside of the town of Marathon in Greece. And you though you traveled a long way for the race!

23. Although John "The Younger" only won the race once, he finished second on five occasions. John A. Kelley (John "The Elder") managed to top that--he finished as runner-up a record seven times. 

24. John A. Kelley holds another Boston Marathon record--he completed the race a record 58 times with a total of 61 starts.

25. Clarence DeMar won the marathon a total of seven times, more times than any other runner in the races 119 year history. He won his first Boston in 1911 and his last in 1930 at the age of 41.

26. Prior to its closure in 1996, the Elliot Lounge used to host the post race party. All runners who came in and showed their bibs got a free beer.  Everyone from the winners to the Hoyts used to stop by to enjoy the celebratory atmosphere.

26.2 The Boston Marathon is simply the world's best marathon. And that's a fact.

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