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The Boston Marathon: By the numbers

The Boston Marathon is one of the oldest annual races in North America. Held each year on Patriot’s Day, the prestigious race is the holy grail of running for many marathoners. The race is one of the few that has a qualification system, and many runners train for years in an effort to qualify for the race.

A Look Back: Post-Bombing Photos of the 2013 Boston Marathon-slide0
Photo by Kevorak Djansezian/Getty Images

In addition, the race has a rich tradition, and hundreds of thousands of spectators line the course each year. Just before runners reach the half-way point, they enter scream tunnel, which is lined with screaming and cheering students from Wellesley College. And at mile 21, runners will find Boston College students drinking to the participants, cheering and screaming as the runners pass.

Before this year’s race, familiarize yourself with these fast facts. Below, you’ll find the Boston Marathon by the numbers.

1897: The first year the Boston Marathon was conducted.
18: The number of participants in 1897.
2:03.02: Men’s course record, set in 2011 by Kenyan Geoffrey Mutai.
2:20.43: Women’s course record, set in 2002 by Kenyan Margaret Okayo.
26,839: The number of entrants in 2013.
38,708: The number of entrants in 1996, which marked the largest field in history.
1986: The first year a cash prize was awarded.
1972: The first year women were allowed to officially enter the race, though Roberta “Bobbi” Gibbs is recognized as the first woman to run the race in 1966.
500,000: The approximate number of spectators the race draws each year.

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