HOPKINTON (CBS) – It’s been two-and-a-half years, but the Boston Marathon is back after 910 days, with a once-in-a-lifetime race in October. It’s the biggest event in Boston since the pandemic began.
This race is also special because it’s a milestone year – the 125th running of the marathon.
There are also several changes this year – a smaller field, no Athlete’s Village, different start times and the first rolling start in Boston Marathon history.
RACE DAY SCHEDULE
There are just 18,252 runners on the course this year and they’ll all leave Hopkinton in a staggered start, so you won’t see large waves of runners taking off.
The marathon is also starting earlier this year and there’s a new order of start times.
8:02 a.m. Wheelchair Men
8:05 a.m. Wheelchair Women
8:30 a.m. Handcycle and Duo Teams
8:37 a.m. Professional Men
8:45 a.m. Professional Women
8:50 a.m. Para Athletes
9:00 a.m. to Noon : Rolling start for all runners
The most notable change is that the professional men are now starting before the women. All runners will also have to be vaccinated or test negative for COVID-19.
13 FORMER CHAMPIONS
In the professional races, 13 former champions will be back.
Four of the last five women’s winners are running Monday – American Desiree Linden (2018), Kenyan Edna Kiplagat (2017), Kenyan Caroline Rotich (2015), and Atsede Baysa of Ethiopia (2016).
Three men’s champions with lifetime bests under 2:07:30 return looking for a second Boston title – Kenya’s Geoffrey Kirui (2017), Lemi Berhanu from Ethiopia, (2016) and Japan’s Yuki Kawauchi (2018).
In the women’s wheelchair race, two-time champion and course record holder Manuela Schär of Switzerland will be back to defend her title. Schär won Boston in 2017 and 2019 and is the only woman ever to have clocked a sub-1:30 marathon. She’ll be challenged by five-time Boston champion Tatyana McFadden.
On the men’s side, four champions are back, led by defending champion Daniel Romanchuk of Illinois. Course record holder Marcel Hug of Switzerland returns looking for his fifth victory, having won four straight Boston Marathons from 2015 through 2018. Ernst van Dyk of South Africa, the most decorated champion in race history with ten titles, is also returning, alongside 2012 winner and former course record holder Josh Cassidy of Canada.
Monday will be the fourth marathon in 16 days for both Romanchuk and McFadden. Both won at the Chicago Marathon Sunday morning before getting on a plane to Boston.
They both also raced in London last weekend, and Berlin the previous weekend.
WHO TO WATCH
Running legend Shalane Flanagan is coming out of retirement to run Boston, and several other marathons again. The Marblehead native is running six World Marathon Majors in just seven weeks. Boston is fourth on her list and comes just a day after she ran the Chicago Marathon.
The most well-known runner in the field might be Danica Patrick. Three years after she retired from professional auto racing, Patrick is running her first marathon ever Monday. She’s the captain of the Light Foundation marathon team.
Former Patriots fullback James Develin is running for the Joe Andruzzi Foundation.
Streets through eight cities and towns on the Boston Marathon route will be closed to traffic on Monday and parking will be restricted for days in many spots. For more information, click here.
Weather will not be a factor in this year’s race. Expect spotty, light rain early, then it will be dry Monday. See the detailed forecast here.
For more information on the race, check out the Boston Athletic Association’s 2021 guide.
You can watch the Boston Marathon live on Monday, October 11 on CBSBoston.com and WBZ-TV. Coverage starts at 4:30 a.m.