Monday, April 13, 2009

Here Comes Boston..... Marathon Trivia and a couple of news stories

Boston Marathon Trivia

  • The Boston Marathon course is 26 miles, 385 yards (42.195 kilometers)
  • About 25,000 runners compete in the Boston Marathon
  • Runners begin the Boston Marathon in two waves of approximately 10,000 runners each
  • The total prize money package for the Boston Marathon is $806,000
  • The winners of the Men and Women Open Division Winners each receive $150,000
  • Prize money was first awarded at the Boston Marathon in 1986
  • Since 1969 the Boston Marathon has always been run on Patriots' Day, the third Monday in April
  • About 500,000 spectators line the marathon route each year
  • Wheelchair athlete Jean Driscoll holds the most Boston Marathon victories (8)
  • Johnny Kelley started a record 61 Boston Marathons, won twice and finished the race 58 times
  • There were only 15 runners to start the first Boston Marathon in 1897
  • John J. McDermott won the first Boston Marathon in 1897 in a time of 2:55:10
  • Greg Meyer was the last American Man to win the Boston Marathon (1983)
  • Lisa Larsen-Weidenbach was the last American woman to win the Boston Marathon (1985)
  • 1966: Roberta Gibb became first woman to unofficially run the Boston Marathon
  • 1967: Katherine Switzer became first woman to receive official number, by using her initials to register
  • 1972: Women were first allowed to officially enter the Boston Marathon
  • In 2004 the Elite Women runners were given a separate, earlier start time from the main field
  • The largest field of runners was for the 100th Boston Marathon in 1996, when 36,748 runners started the marathon
  • Clarence DeMar was the oldest winner of the Boston Marathon at age 41 (1930)
  • 18 year-old Tim Ford was the youngest winner in Boston Marathon history (1906)
  • 173-pound Lawrence Brignolia is the heaviest runner ever to win the Boston Marathon
  • 1975: Boston became the first marathon to include a wheelchair division
  • 1936: Boston Globe reporter Jerry Nason nicknamed "Heartbreak Hill" in Newton
  • In 1988 Ibrahim Hussein finished 1 second ahead of Juma Ikangaa in the closest finish in Boston Marathon history
  • Robert Cheruyiot, Clarence DeMar, Bill Rodgers & Cosmos Ndeti are the only champions to win the open division three consecutive years
  • In 1961 the racers faced 38-degree temperatures and snow squalls along the course
  • Water and Gatorade are provided every mile of the course; PowerGel is provided at mile 17
  • 4 tons of pasta and 500 gallons of tomato sauce are cooked for the pre-race meal

(© MMIX, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.)


Marathon Bib 1549 For Hudson Splashdown Controller

By JIMMY GOLEN, AP Sports Writer
The No. 1549 Patrick Harten will wear on his chest for the Boston Marathon is no ordinary bib assignment: Race organizers gave it to the New York air traffic controller to honor his role in the dramatic safe landing of US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River.

"For me, it was more of a sentimental value," Harten said last week in a telephone interview during a break from work at the Westbury, N.Y., radar facility. "For me it's a way to acknowledge my role in the miraculous events of that day. And being able to do that participating in an event that I love is a beautiful thing."

Harten was part of a crew of 50 managing the air space over the three major New York City-area airports and several smaller ones on Jan. 15 when Flight 1549 hit a flock of geese while taking off from LaGuardia. Harten tried in vain to find a runway the plane could reach before pilot Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger was forced to land in the river; all 155 people aboard the plane survived.

Harten, who has been a controller for 10 years, had been involved in other emergencies but always managed to get the plane on the runway. What he calls "the Cactus event" -- "Cactus" is the air traffic call name for US Airways -- was "a reminder that what you do is very, very important."

It also gave him an idea.

"That got me thinking," he wrote Boston Marathon organizers last month. "It would be very neat if I ran with the number 1549."

Bib numbers help identify runners to fans and family along the 26.2-mile course from Hopkinton to Boston -- about the distance from LaGuardia to Teterboro Airport and back. The defending Boston champion gets No. 1 and the top contenders fill out the first 100 or so; the rest of the more than 26,000 runners are assigned numbers in order of their qualifying times.

Harten ran Boston in 2 hours, 58 minutes, 58 seconds last year, a time that he estimated would earn him a bib number in the low four digits.

He asked if he could have No. 1549 instead.

Race organizers don't generally allow runners to pick their bib numbers for fear of opening the door to every hoofer with a lucky number or favorite date. Exceptions are made rarely, such as when two-time winner Johnny Kelley was given the numbers corresponding to his record 58th, 59th, 60th and 61st time competing in the race.

The No. 13 was once given to 1984 Olympic silver medalist John Treacy -- a late addition who didn't mind the unlucky omens that had led organizers to skip it when originally assigning bibs to contenders. Past champions will sometimes be given numbers corresponding to the year of their victories.

Harten's request was granted.

"He was part of a life-changing event, what turned out to be a very positive story," Boston Athletic Association executive director Guy Morse said. "He was obviously looking forward to running anyway. We just thought this would be an extra motivating factor to help him have a great day."

Harten, 35, took up running three years ago and completed two other marathons before posting a personal best in Boston last year; he's also run the 26.2-mile distance as part of two triathlons.
He's found that running helps relieve the stress of a job that requires constant and total concentration because, as he was reminded in January, life-and-death crises can arise without warning.

"And it's a healthy way of doing it, too," said Harten, who last month adopted a 20-month-old boy from Russia who enjoys his rides in the running stroller. "I found that through the training and the racing my stress levels have definitely gone down a lot. It definitely works for me. Overall, I found I'm happier."

Harten testified before Congress in February, telling the House aviation subcommittee that when Sullenberger told him he was "going to be in the Hudson," he thought the pilot had pronounced his own death sentence.

"When he first said it, my mind couldn't absorb the statement that he made," he said last week. "I thought that was going to be it for him. I thought I was going to be the last one to talk to anyone on that plane alive."

Hundreds of thousands of fans line the Boston Marathon course each year -- more than a few named "Sully," no doubt -- cheering for their friends and families but also for every other struggling runner who limps by. Morse said the support will certainly grow if the crowds recognize bib No. 1549.

But Harten says the fans offer great support to every competitor.

"I could tell you from running Boston last year, the crowds are unbelievable, and they're going to cheer for you no matter what," he said. "With the cheering, I don't think I could have slowed down if I wanted to."

(© 2009 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


Boston Marathon Announces New Mile Field
Olympians, Record-Holders to Line Up for Inaugural B.A.A. Invitational Mile

Posted Friday, 10 April, 2009

Boston, Mass. -- Six Olympians, a trio of national-record holders and a three-time U.S. champion are among the professional athletes set to compete in the debut of the B.A.A. Invitational Mile on April 19, the Boston Athletic Association announced today.

The Invitational Mile, to be held in conjunction with the inaugural B.A.A. 5K the day before the 113th Boston Marathon, will feature mile races for professional men and women, plus mile races for scholastic girls and boys from Hopkinton, Ashland, Framingham, Natick, Wellesley, Newton, Brookline and Boston - the eight cities and towns along the Boston Marathon course. The races, which will be run criterium-style in the Back Bay, will begin and end at the Boston Marathon finish line.

Headlining the women's professional mile will be 2008 Olympic bronze medalist Shalane Flanagan, a native of Marblehead, Mass. Flanagan, 27, won the bronze medal at 10,000 meters in Beijing and holds four American records.
Flanagan will be challenged by a trio of top American milers: Anna Willard, a 2008 Olympian in the 3,000-meter steeplechase and reigning U.S. Indoor Champion at 1,500 meters; Erin Donohue, a 2008 Olympian at 1,500 meters; and Lindsey Gallo, 1,500-meter runner-up at the 2006 U.S. Outdoor Championships and 2009 Boston Indoor Games mile champion. Willard is a native of Greenwood, Maine.

Challenging them for the win will be Amy Mortimer, winner of the 2008 Falmouth Mile; Michelle Sikes, who represented the U.S. at the 2007 World Championships; Marina Muncan, the Serbian national-record holder; and Carrie Tollefson, a 2004 Olympian at 1,500 meters.

Leading the roster in the professional men's race are Rob Myers, a three-time U.S. Indoor Champion at 1,500 meters; Ireland's Alistair Cragg, a two-time Olympian; and Adam Goucher, a 2000 Olympian and husband of Kara Goucher, the top American woman in the field for the next day's Boston Marathon.

Providing tough competition will be Pablo Solares, Mexico's national-record holder at 1,500 meters; Jon Rankin, winner of the 2008 Falmouth Mile; Steve Sherer, third at the 2008 U.S. indoor championships; Darren Brown, former University of Texas star; Bret Schoolmeester, former standout at the University of Colorado; John Richardson, a top miler just out of the University of Kentucky; Patrick Tarpy, a local favorite from Providence; and Jonathon Blackledge of Great Britain, who competes for Oxford University.

Total prize purse for professional miles is $14,500 divided equally between men and women, including $3,000 for the champion.

The series of races in the B.A.A. Invitational Mile will begin with the girls' scholastic race at 9:30 a.m. Sunday, April 19, immediately after the B.A.A. 5K, a new road race that will begin at 8 a.m. The mile will follow a three-loop course, beginning on Boylston Street, left on Dartmouth Street, left on Newbury Street, left on Exeter Street then left onto Boylston. Both the 5K and Mile will begin on Boylston Street near Copley Square Park, and end at the Boston Marathon finish line. Registration for the 5K is available at; the field is limited to 4,000 runners and is filling up fast.
Additional information about the B.A.A. Invitational Mile, the B.A.A. 5K, the Boston Marathon and the Boston Athletic Association can be found online at


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