Courtesy of BAA.org
BOSTON – With less than one week remaining until the 2013 Boston Marathon on Monday, April 15, 2013, the Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.) and principal sponsor John Hancock Financial are prepared for the 117th edition of the world’s oldest annual marathon. The top finishers will receive $806,000, a prize purse supplied by John Hancock.
Defending Champions Return: John Hancock Financial Services welcomes defending champions Wesley Korir and Sharon Cherop, both of Kenya, back to Boston as they pursue repeat victories in the Boston Marathon. Also returning are Josh Cassidy, of Canada, and Shirley Reilly, of Arizona, the defending push rim wheelchair division champions. Cassidy won in 2012 with a world best time of 1:18:25, while Reilly edged five-time defending champion Wakako Tsuchida, of Japan, by one second.
Americans Vie for Victory: 2008 Olympic bronze medalist and Marlbehead, MA native Shalane Flanagan, a member of the John Hancock Elite Athlete Team, seeks to become the first American female champion of the Boston Marathon since Lisa Larsen-Weidenbach’s 1985 victory. A runner-up in the 2010 New York City Marathon, Flanagan will make her Boston debut this year. She will be joined by her training partner American Kara Goucher, who placed third in the 2009 Boston Marathon.
25 Years of East African Dominance: The 2013 Boston Marathon marks the 25th anniversary of Kenyan Ibrahim Hussein’s 1988 Boston Marathon victory, which made him the event’s first African champion. Over the past 25 years, a Kenyan or Ethiopian man has won the Boston Marathon 23 times. Fatuma Roba, of Ethiopia, was the event’s first female African champion, winning in three consecutive years from 1997 to 1999. Kenyan and Ethiopian women have combined to capture 14 of 16 Boston Marathon titles since 1997.
Trans-Atlantic Contest with $35,000 Prize Purse Announced: The B.A.A. and the London Marathon Charitable Trust, Ltd., organizers of the London Marathon, announced that for the first time in 2013 a combined prize purse of $35,000 will be awarded for push rim wheelchair division competitors participating in the Boston and London marathons. The two-race contest, known as the Boston-London Wheelchair Challenge, will bring many of the world’s best push rim wheelchair competitors to Boston for this year’s event. Athletes will earn points based on their finish place at both the Boston and London marathons, held just six days apart in 2013. (London will be held on April 21.) The male and female athlete with the highest point total at the conclusion of the two-race contest will each win $10,000.
25th Year of Official Charity Program: 2013 marks the 25th year of the Boston Marathon Official Charity Program. Through this program and John Hancock’s Non-Profit Bib Program for the Boston Marathon, the selected charities of the Boston Marathon Official Charity Program raise more than $16 million each year to serve areas of need in the Greater Boston area. The American Liver Foundation was the first formal organization to raise funds at the Boston Marathon, in 1989. Dana-Farber Cancer Institute was added by the B.A.A. in 1990.
B.A.A. to Provide $2.7 Million from 2013-2015 for Marathon Communities: The B.A.A. has renewed its financial support of the eight cities and towns along the Boston Marathon course, providing $2.7 million over a three-year term from 2013 through 2015, with contributions increasing annually. Through the support of principal sponsor John Hancock Financial, the B.A.A. makes this contribution in recognition and appreciation of successful cooperation with the Marathon communities in hosting the world’s most prestigious annual marathon. The financial commitment recognizes the expenses for logistical, operational and administrative course support provided for the towns of Hopkinton, Ashland, Framingham, Natick, Wellesley, and Brookline, the cities of Newton and Boston, and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Introducing the Runner Passport™: For the first time this year, the B.A.A. has distributed a Runner Passport™ to help officially registered participants maximize their Boston Marathon experience. The booklet includes city maps, visitor suggestions, a ticket to the pre-race dinner, and key race information. Most importantly, the booklet includes the number pick-up card, to be submitted at the John Hancock Sports & Fitness Expo. To help all runners maximize their time in Boston, the booklet includes tips for getting around town and a guide to local restaurants and attractions.
The B.A.A. at 125 in Stores Now: As part of the B.A.A.’s celebration of its 125th anniversary year, a special commemorative book was released on April 1 by Skyhorse Publishing. The B.A.A. at 125: The Official History of the Boston Athletic Association, 1887-2012 is an illustrated history of the B.A.A. written by John Hanc, a longtime writer for Newsday and a regular contributor to Runner’s World. Featuring over 100 rare photos from the B.A.A. archives, the book offers an insider view of the organization that created the Boston Marathon, fielded half of the first U.S. Olympic Team, and helped spark the modern fitness movement. The B.A.A. at 125 is on sale now on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and at select bookstores everywhere. It will also be available at the John Hancock Sports & Fitness Expo from April 12 through April 14.
More Stringent Qualifying Standards for 2013: The 2013 Boston Marathon marks the first year of the Boston Athletic Association’s new, more stringent qualifying standards for the world’s most prestigious marathon. The qualifying standards were made five minutes faster across all age groups and both genders, representing the first time since 1990 that the Boston Marathon’s qualifying standards have been made more stringent. Held in the fall of 2012, registration for the 2013 Boston Marathon once again utilized a “rolling admission” schedule, allowing the fastest runners to register first. The qualification window for the 118th Boston Marathon, to be held on Monday, April 21, 2014, began on Saturday, September 22, 2012. Registration dates for the 2014 Boston Marathon have not yet been announced.