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On April 17, the annual Boston Marathon drew skilled and amateur runners from all over the world for the 121st race. The 26.2 mile long race has taken place on Patriot’s Day since 1897, but now is the third Monday of the April.
The winner of the Boston Marathon, Geoffrey Kirui of Kenya, won the event with a time of 2 hours 9 minutes 37 seconds. American three time Olympian Galen Rupp came in second, only 21 seconds behind Kirui. Kenya’s Edna Kiplagat won her first marathon in the women’s elite race in 2 hours 21 minutes 52 seconds.
Marcel Hug from Switzerland won first place and set a new record for the Boston Marathon men’s wheelchair division. His time was 1 hour 18 minutes 4 seconds. This is his third consecutive marathon win. Another Swiss native, Manuela Schar, won the women’s wheelchair race, also creating a new record with a time of 1 hour 28 minutes 16 seconds.
This year’s race entertained some heartwarming events and stories, including an 80-year-old man, Tony Cerminaro, who broke the record for the 80 and above age group, finishing the race in 4 hours 14 minutes 10 seconds. Cerminaro, who has run 107 races, competed in his 25th Boston Marathon this year.
In addition, a veteran of the Pennsylvania Army National Guard with a prosthetic leg, Earl Granville, crossed the finish line carrying his guide and a large American flag. This prompted many cheers and applause at the finish line by competitors and viewers alike. During mile 16, spectators thanked him and hugged him, to which he responded through Facebook Live, “I don’t know what they’re inspired about. I’m walking.” Granville ran with the Achilles Freedom Team.
Another inspiring event was the story of Kathrine Switzer. In 1967, she registered for the Marathon under her initials to hide her gender, and became the first registered woman to compete in the race officially. After getting pushed off the course by an official, it took a team of her and her boyfriend to help her finish in 4 hours and 20 minutes. Women got to participate in the Massachusetts marathon five years later, in 1972. This year, Switzer took the opportunity to run the Boston Marathon for the first time since her debut. She finished the race only 24 minutes behind her previous time 50 years ago. Now, at seventy years old, she completed the race wearing the same number as in 1967, number 261. She also created a running community, 261 Fearless – based on her number from the 1967 Boston Marathon – which focuses on making a global community of empowered female runners.
Overall, the Boston Marathon competitors displayed hard work and endurance, while having a little fun and showing their city and country pride.
(Sources: ESPN, NY Times, NPR, Boston Marathon, WCVB, Boston Magazine)
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