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Astonishing Boston Marathon Trivia – The “First” Edition

Boston Marathon Trivia - Finish Line

Boston Marathon Trivia - Facts and History - The "First" Edition

The 121st running of the Boston Marathon is scheduled for Monday April 17th, 2017. We felt it appropriate to share some fun and interesting trivia facts about the Boston Marathon. We have complled a long list of Boston Marathon trivia so today we will start off with a list of Boston Marathon trivia “firsts”

The first running of the Boston Marathon was held on April 19th, 1897.

MThe Boston Marathon is the oldest continually run marathon in the world with the “First Edition: of the classic race occurring in 1897 and organized by the Boston Athletic Association. The original Boston Marathon was only 24.5 miles long and held the year after the marathon was introduced as part of the 1896 Athens Olympic Games.

The first male winner of the Boston Marathon that year was John J. McDermont.

McDermott broke the finish line tape in Boston with a winning time of 2:55:10, the top time for the 15 runners that started the first Boston Marathon.

The first unofficial female winner of the Boston Marathon was Roberta “Bobbi” Gibbs

Back in 1966. women were not allowed to register for the race. Bobbi Gibbs had to hide in the bushes at the starting line since she didn’t have a race number, but she still managed to finish the marathon in an unofficial time of 3:21:40.  

Katherine Switzer was the first female to register and run the Boston Marathon.

Switzer was able to start the Boston Marathon wearing an official race bib the following year in 1967. She used her initials on the race application since women still were not allowed to run marathons under AAU rules. Jock Semple, the Boston Marathon race director tried to stop her during the race. The unsuccessful attempt by Semple was immortalized in this photo.

The first official female winner of the Boston Marathon was Nina Kuscsik.

It took until 1972, and only after the AAU changed their rules that allowed women to officially register for the marathon that the women’s marathon winner was officially recognized 

The Boston Marathon was the first marathon to have an official wheelchair division.

The wheelchair division started in 1975 for men and in 1977 for women. 

The first repeat male winner of the Boston Marathon was John “Jack” Coffery.

Jack Coffey crossed the finish line first in both in 1900 and 1901. 

There are two “first” repeat female winners of the Boston Marathon.

Roberta “Bobbi” Gibbs was the first unsanctioned female in 1966 and 1967 while Miki Gorman was the first official two-time Boston Marathon winner with marathon victories in 1974 and 1977.  

Joan Benoit Samuelson was the first marathoner to win an Olympic gold medal in the marathon (Los Angeles 1984) and the Boston Marathon (1979 and 1983).

Other Boston Marathon Trivia…


The current women’s Boston Marathon course record of 2:19:59 was set in 2014 by Buzunesh Deba from Ethiopia. She was originally the second-place finisher behind Rita Jeptoo’s 2:18:57 marathon finish, but Jeptoo was later disqualified after testing positive for the banned substance EPO in an out-of-competition drug test in Sept 2014. 

The closest finishes in the Boston Marathon in the women’s marathon was between Kosgei, who won the women’s marathon with a time of 2:32:16, finishing just in front of Dire Tune from Ethiopia with a time of  2:32:17.

The closest men’s Boston Marathon finish occurred in 2000 where Elijah Lagat from Kenya and Gezahegne Abera from Ethiopia  finished with an identical 2:09:47 time but Lagat leading by about 5 feet at the finish of the 26.2 mile race. Kenyan Moses Tanui finished just behind the pair in 2:09:50.

The Boston Marathon crosses through eight Massachussets towns from its start in Hopkinton  (including Ashland, Framingham, Natick, Wellsley, Newton and Brookline) until its finish in Boston.

Read more about the hostory of the Boston Marathon at Wikipedia

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