There may never be another “normal” Boston Marathon again, not after the 2013 bombings at the finish line, and this year’s version, when around 30,000 runners step to the starting line, will be no exception.
This year’s race on Monday morning, Patriots Day in Massachusetts, will be especially somber, marking the fifth anniversary of the bombings, a milestone of survival of one type or another, five years of taking one step followed by another for all the runners.
The race will begin at 8:40 a.m. Eastern time in Hopkinton, Mass., and will end at the Boylston Street finish line where the bombings occurred in Boston, with the usual Red Sox game going on at Fenway Park.
The man who captured the explosions looks back
Five years later, Steve Silva recalled being at the finish line and shooting video of the explosions that was shared globally. “It wasn’t a bone-rattling explosion like you might imagine — more of a muffled thud with a large plume of smoke that ran straight up the mid-level buildings on that block of Boylston,” Silva writes.
“My first thought was that it might have been a fireworks celebration that perhaps went awry for the Hoyts’s finish. But 13 seconds later, the second explosion went off just over a block away. ‘We’ve had an attack,’ I said into the camera’s microphone.
“In a split-second, I went from sports video producer to accidental war correspondent.”
Read more about his experience here.
How to watch on TV and online (all times Eastern)
Nationally, NBC Sports Network will provide coverage from 8:30 a.m. until 1 p.m.
In the Boston area, WBZ (the CBS affiliate) will have coverage from 7 a.m. until 5 p.m. with the live stream on its website.
Looking for a specific runner or time?
Search the field at BAA.org.
The first wave of mobility=impaired participants will set out at 8:40 a.m. Professional women runners go at 9:32, followed by professional male runners at 10 a.m. Waves of runners will follow, with the last leaving Hopkinton at 11:15. See all the starting times here.
The weather forecast
It’s not good. Patriots Day is expected to be windy, chilly and rainy.
Top runners include a strong American women’s field
The women’s field includes five of the all-time fastest marathoners in the U.S.: Shalane Flanagan, the 2017 New York City Marathon champion; Desiree Linden, a two-time Olympian; Jordan Hasay, who placed third in Boston and Chicago last year; 45-year-old Deena Kastor, holder of the American record in the marathon; and Molly Huddle, the American record holder in the 10,000-meter and half-marathon. Last year’s champion, Edna Kiplagat of Kenya, also returns.
The men’s field features Americans Galen Rupp, winner of the 2017 Chicago Marathon; Dathan Ritzenhein, a three-time Olympian; Abdi Abdirahman, a four-time Olympian; and Shadrack Biwott, who was fourth in 2017 in the Boston race. Nine Kenyan and Ethiopian male runners with personal bests of under 2:07 will compete, including Geoffrey Kirui, who won the 2017 Boston and IAAF World Championships marathons.
A physician comes full circle, running Monday
If you’re going …
Security for the 26.2-mile race has been tightened since 2013 and spectators, who are expected to number more than 50,000, are reminded of what is and is not allowed, particularly close to the finish line.
At least five transgender runners will compete
Marathon organizers are not concerned about gender boundaries, saying that transgender runners can compete using the gender they qualified with.
At least five openly transgender women have signed up to run the race, and a BAA official told Runner’s World that race officials and volunteers would compare gender identity on the government-issued ID required to pick up a bib number with what’s on runners’ entries.
If there’s no match, a BAA spokesperson told Runner’s World that it would be addressed “in a manner intended to be fair to all concerned, with a strong emphasis on inclusion.”
“We take people at their word. We register people as they specify themselves to be,” Tom Grilk, who heads up the Boston Athletic Association, told the Associated Press. “Members of the LGBT community have had a lot to deal with over the years, and we’d rather not add to that burden.”
Amelia Gapin, a transgender woman from Jersey City, heads up a social media group for trans runners and told the AP: “It’s kind of murky how people handle it. We are such a small percentage of the population that we generally just fly under the radar.”
In the mood for baseball?
The forecast does not seem favorable, but the marathon wouldn’t be the marathon without a Red Sox baseball game at Fenway Park. The Sox are scheduled to play the Orioles at 11:05 a.m.