118th Boston Marathon Preview: Fastest Field Ever Assembled
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BOSTON (CBS) – About 36,000 runners have waited a full year for this day.
Now it’s time to finally run the 118th Boston Marathon.
This race will have a special significance because of the terrorist attacks in 2013.
More than 5,000 runners were stranded on the course last year, so the B.A.A. expanded this year’s field to include them, making this the second-largest field in the race’s history, trailing only the 100th anniversary 1996 Boston Marathon.
Related: Boston Marathon Guide
The weather will be perfect for both runners and spectators.
There will be abundant sunshine, light winds and mild temperatures along the course. There will also be a great deal of additional security.
Related: Road Closings, MBTA Changes
Despite that, Gov. Deval Patrick said Sunday the marathon will be “very safe.”
For the first time ever, psychologists will be stationed along the route this year to talk with people who may feel emotionally overwhelmed.
Related: Mile-by-Mile Course Guide
The marathon continues to be a huge money-maker for the region. According to the B.A.A., it is expected to generate $142 million for the local economy.
Runners representing 30 official charities are expected to raise more than a total of $12 million.
But before they hit the course, the elite field will take off first from Hopkinton.
And once again the question will be – can an American finally win after a decades-long drought?
An American has not won the Boston Marathon since 1985 when Lisa Larsen Weidenbach finished first in 2:34:06. The last American man to win the race was Greg Meyer in 1983, with a time of 2:09:00.
Experts say Shalane Flanagan, a Marblehead native, could be the United States’ best chance in 2014. She finished fourth in her first Boston last year.
Desiree Davila Linden will be back this year as well, after she was sidelined by an injury last year. Three years ago she came within two seconds of winning this race.
On the men’s side, Ryan Hall will be back for his fourth Boston Marathon in 2014.
Hall recorded the fastest marathon by an American here in 2011, finishing the 26.2 mile race in 2:04:58 — good for a fourth place finish. He finished third in his first Boston in 2009, and fourth in 2010.
Jason Hartmann will return after finishing fourth in 2012 and 2013.
Meb Keflezighi, who placed fifth in Boston in 2010 and third in 2006, will run Monday as well.
Joining them on the the John Hancock Elite Athlete Team will be Abdi Abdirahman.
Abdirahman, who had to withdraw from last year’s race due to the flu, has top five finishes in both the Chicago and New York City Marathons. His personal best time in the marathon is 2:08:56.
Defending Boston Marathon champions Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia and Rita Jeptoo of Kenya will return to defend their titles, but they’ll be challenged by the fastest field ever assembled for this race.
Seven men in the field have run a marathon under 2:05:30, including Desisa, who is ranked number one in the world by Track and Field News.
Dennis Kimetto of Kenya, who is ranked second, may be Desisa’s strongest challenger. He holds the world record in the 25K and has a personal best 2:03:45 in winning the 2013 Chicago Marathon.
On the women’s side, nine women have personal best times under 2:23.
The top four women from the 2013 Boston Marathon return with Jeptoo, Meseret Hailu Debele of Ethiopia, Sharon Cherop of Kenya and Flanagan.
This will be the last Boston Marathon for race legends Dick and Rick Hoyt. They planned to end their long marathon career after last year’s race, but the bombings changed that.
This will be their 32nd Boston and even though Dick, 73, has severe back pain, he says he has one more Boston in him.
WBZ-TV is the only local station with live wire-to-wire coverage of the 2014 Boston Marathon on Monday, April 21st.
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