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5 Things You Didn’t Know: Boston Marathon By The Numbers

March 28, 2013 6:00 AM

Wesley Korir of Kenya wins men’s race at Boston Marathon. (Photo by Nick Darling)

When you’re talking about one of the most popular marathons worldwide, there are a lot of numbers to remember. For instance, the 1st place finisher’s time, the 3rd Monday in April, the current and high temperatures on race day, and of course, the 26.2 mile distance are all going to stand out in people’s minds. But some pretty fantastic numbers are forgotten over time. Here are 5 things you didn’t know about the Boston Marathon numbers.
1996 Boston Marathon Field (Photo credit: STUART CAHILL/AFP/Getty Images)

1996 Boston Marathon Field (Photo credit: STUART CAHILL/AFP/Getty Images)

1. The Number: 38,809

The highest number ever worn by a runner in the Boston Marathon was 38809. It was during the 1996 Boston Marathon, which marked 100 years for the race. The field swelled that year from about 9,400 the year before to set a world record for the largest marathon. The race saw 35,868 finishers that year. That record held up until New York surpassed it in 2004.

(Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

(Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

2. The Number: 523,597

If you took the time to count every official finisher from every Boston Marathon from 1897 to 2012, you’d get the number 523,597. Oh, and thanks to the kind person at the Boston Athletic Association who took the time to add up 116 years worth of marathon participants.

3. The Number: 0

In 1985, American Lisa Larsen Weidenbach ran a 2:34:06 to win the women’s division. A British man, Geoff Smith ran a 2:14:05 to take the men’s division. They’re total combined prize money: $0. It wasn’t until the following year – 1986 – that thanks to a sponsorship by John Hancock Financial Services, prize money was first awarded. That year’s men’s winner Rob de Castella of Australia took home $60,000 and a Mercedes-Benz. (He earned almost half of that prize money as a bonus for setting a course record.) On the women’s side, Ingrid Kristiansen of Norway captured her first of two Boston Marathon titles, winning a new car, and $35,000 in prize and bonus money.

 (Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

(Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

4. The Number: 3,000

In 2012, an estimated 500,000 spectators lined up along the Boston Marathon course to watch the revered race. Sidewalks, bars and restaurants were all packed, with people pouring into the city from all over the world. It’s estimated the race brought in $137.5 million to Boston and surrounding areas that wouldn’t have been spent otherwise. Flash back 116 years, and the estimated crowd that gathered at the Irvington Oval (the former finish line, which was right in front of the old BAA clubhouse) to watch the finish of the 1897 Boston Marathon consisted of a mere 3000 spectators.

(Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

(Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

5. The Number: 427

Marathon participants faced a brutal hurdle in 2012 – a high temperature in Boston that climbed to a dangerous 87 degrees. In anticipation of the heat, BAA officials decided to allow runners to skip the race and defer their qualification to 2013. A total of 427 runners followed the deferment rules that required them to pick up their bibs but skip the race. Thus, they are eligible to run in 2013. Whether they decide to actually do so is up to them.

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