Oldest annually run marathon on Earth—first held in 1897 with 15 entrants. William McKinley was president.
Second Boston Marathon was won by a man named Ronald MacDonald.
Current course record: 2 hours, 4 minutes, and 17 seconds, set in 2006 by four-time champion Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot, of Kenya.
Comedian Will Ferrell ran the Boston Marathon in 3:56:12. Mario Lopez (seriously) was far slower at 5:41:41. This year Valerie Bertinelli will run, less than a week before her fiftieth birthday. Fastest time set by a non-runner celebrity? Lance Armstrong at 2:50:58.
John Kelley, of “Heartbreak Hill” notoriety, holds the all-time record for most Boston Marathons completed: 60. He won twice, in 1935 and 1945.
In Men’s and Women’s divisions, the champions each win a gold medal, a laurel wreath, and $150,000.
Cuba almost had its first champion in 1980, when Rosie Ruiz was the first woman to cross the finish line. Almost for one simple reason: officials discovered Ruiz had merely jumped into the course near the finish line.
Ten hospitals along the route bulk up their staffs on race day. And for good reason: around 900 runners get treated for injuries and exhaustion every year. But in the history of the race, only two runners have died.
A zone of zero cell-phone reception follows the lead runner, as huge numbers of people simultaneously place calls when they see him.
Each year, runners are treated to a pre-race meal: four tons of pasta and 500 gallons of sauce.