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How the Boston Marathon First Started

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at BC chapter.

The Boston Marathon is an exciting event that athletes, family, friends, and students look forward to every year. Boston College students head down to some of the best spots to cheer on the runners, including Heartbreak Hill near mile 21, the finish line in Copley Square, and anywhere along Commonwealth Ave.

But how did it all start?

Inspired by the impressive 24.8-mile marathon that took place at the 1896 Olympics in Athens, John Graham, manager of the U.S. Olympics, established the first Boston Marathon. The distance of the race was based on the miles run by Greek soldier Pheidippides, who carried the news of the Greek army’s victory over Persia from the Marathon to Athens.

On April 19, 1897, John J. McDermott secured his place in sports history when he placed first at the very first Boston Marathon, with a winning time of 2 hours, 55 minutes, and 10 seconds over a 24.5 mile course.

First known as the American Marathon, the race took place on Patriots Day, celebrated in honor of the start of the Revolutionary War. Since 1969, the Boston Marathon has been held on every third Monday in April. The first course began in Ashland, Massachusetts, and ended near Copley Square in Boston. Today, the 26.2 mile course begins in Hopkinton and runs through Ashland, Framingham, Natick, Wellesley, Newton, Brookline, and Boston. It has become one of the most popular road races in the world, with participants of all ages and backgrounds, from amateurs to professionals.

Though the Boston Marathon began as an all-male event, it finally allowed females to participate in 1971, and since then, many women have made history. Nina Kuscsik became the first woman to officially win in 1972 (others have run the race and have won, without officially registering). Mood:

Good luck to all of the runners who will be participating, we can’t wait to cheer you on!






Judi is a sophomore at Boston College majoring in Biology. She loves music, traveling, food, and Netflix.