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Along The Route: Hopkinton Heralds The Boston Marathon

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The "Yes You Can" statue, depicting famous Boston Marathon duo Dick and Rick Hoyt was unveiled in Hopkinton in 2013. (Credit: WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Karen Twomey)

The “Yes You Can” statue, depicting famous Boston Marathon duo Dick and Rick Hoyt was unveiled in Hopkinton in 2013. (Credit: WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Karen Twomey)

Hopkinton, Mass. is a small town just southwest of Framingham. This 28-square mile town is home to approximately 14,000 people. It’s a relatively quiet suburban community – quiet, that is, until each spring on Patriot’s Day, when the town receives wide media attention as the starting point for the Boston Marathon.

Hopkinton’s History with the Boston Marathon

Hopkinton has been the origin of the Boston Marathon since 1924, when the starting point of the race was moved from Ashland. When the marathon began in 1897, it was only 25 miles long, and was so informal that it didn’t even have a starting gun. Instead someone just shouted “go!” to signify the beginning of the race. Over the years, the race began to gain popularity and size, and in 1924, the course was lengthened to 26 miles and 385 yards, which required the starting point to be moved back to Hopkinton.

Not only is Hopkinton the proper marathon distance from the finish line, but it can also accommodate more runners and is easily accessible from Route 495 and the Mass Pike. This is key since the 2014 Boston Marathon will see the largest number of participants since 1996.

300 Year Celebration

Though the Boston Marathon is Hopkinton’s clear claim to fame, the town shouldn’t be overlooked after this year’s runners cross the start line. The town, founded in 1715, is coming up on its 300th birthday. An astonishing 215 structures in the centuries-old town are listed on the Register of Historic Places, and throughout the years, the town has been home to a number of renowned congressmen, athletes and scientists.

Of course, there is much history before 1715 as well, and archaeologists have discovered small pits throughout Hopkinton that served as corn storage cellars for Native Americans well before the town was founded. Today, Hopkinton is well known as the headquarters of EMC Corporation, a multi-national data storage and cloud computing business.

Where it all Begins: The 2014 Boston Marathon

Hopkinton also plays an integral role in the 2014 Boston Marathon because of this year’s increased security measures. While the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings were far from Hopkinton, the starting line often draws a crowd almost as big as the race’s finish line, meaning security needs to be especially tight.

In addition to the thousands of runners gathering that morning, there will also be vendors, media outlets, marathon staff, town officials, and of course, fans! The “runner’s village” is also located in Hopkinton, where the teams of runners prep for the race, but the vast crowds make it feel anything but village-like. In fact, Hopkinton has designated an entire town committee to marathon duties. The Hopkinton Marathon Committee coordinates the start times of the race for the various waves with the Boston Athletic Association (BAA), the Hopkinton Police, and nearby towns.

The whole town of Hopkinton looks forward to the marathon all year long. There are signs around town boasting “it all starts here,” and there is even a statue of famous father-son racing team Dick and Rick Hoyt. Hopkinton will aim to help make this year’s race safe, fun and inspiring for all. The continuing dedication of the town is part of what makes the Boston Marathon world famous.

Cameron Bruns is the founder of BostonGreenBlog.com and co-author of Just Us Gals Boston. She lives in Boston’s North End, where her goal is to promote ethical, stylish, and sustainable lifestyle choices to all Boston residents. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.

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