The Boston Marathon is the oldest running marathon and among the most prestigious in marathon circles. Sponsored by John Hancock Financial Services, it is managed by the Boston Athletic Association. Known as the pinnacle marathon competition, there are strict traditions associated with participation, qualifications for entry, and rules of conduct.Held on Patriots’ Day, which is the third Monday of April every year, it has been a tradition hosted by the cities of Greater Boston since 1897.
Due to the success of the Olympic marathon event in the Summer of 1897, it is the world’s oldest annual marathon and one of only six Major World Marathons. Although open to both professionals and amateurs, to participate, you have to qualify to compete. Not only do runners have to make it through the 26-mile trek, but there are also often when they have to do so under rough in climate conditions.Touting over 500,000 spectators yearly, it is the most widely participated sporting event in New England. From eighteen original runners in 1897, there are now as many as 30,000 who register every year. The Centennial Boston Marathon held in 1996 established a long-standing record of having the largest participation of any marathon event with 38,708 entrants, 36,748 starters and 35,868 finishers.