The 125th Anniversary of the Boston Marathon

photo courtesy of Miguel A. Amutio on

Serena Carpino, Staff Writer

On October 11, 2021, 18,000 runners participated in the 125th Boston Marathon, the city’s first in-person race since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Originally beginning in 1897 as a 24.5-mile race, the Boston Marathon has gained great popularity and become a major international race since it was founded. The race has been held in person every year, including during the 1918 flu pandemic and throughout World War II. However, it was canceled last year and held virtually for the first time ever due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

This year, both in-person and virtual races were offered. The in-person race was much smaller than previous years, meaning that qualifying times were stricter. This upset runners who qualified for the Marathon in 2019, but were unable to run in 2020 due to the pandemic, and because of the stricter qualifying times, were also unable to run this year.  However, one of these runners, Dahlin Howe, claims that this was not the worst part of this year’s marathon. She said, “I don’t care about the qualification process, making it harder and all that, because that’s part of it. I’m fine with the smaller field size. It was that anybody could sign up to do this virtual race along with all the people who qualified and worked to get in. That’s what really felt like a gut punch.” Howe’s feelings were shared by others, as the Boston Marathon offered 70,000 spots in the virtual race to runners who did not meet qualifying times for a normal year. 

Although some challenges were presented to runners this year, the winners of the men’s and women’s races made history by marking the eighth time since 2000 that Kenyans have finished first in both races. Benson Kipruto won the men’s race with a time of 2:09:51, while Diana Chemtai placed first in the women’s race, running a time of 2:24:45. In the men’s wheelchair race, Marcel Hug of Switzerland finished first with a time of 1:18:11, just a few seconds shy of his previous record. Manuela Schar, also a Swiss athlete, won the women’s race in 1:35:21, achieving her third win in the Boston Marathon. 

The date for the 126th Boston Marathon has already been scheduled for April 18, 2022, which will be the first race on Patriot’s Day since 2019. The number of runners will still be smaller than usual, but the scheduling of the race on its traditional date marks a return to normalcy for participating runners.