By CBSBoston.com Staff

HOPKINTON (CBS) – For the first time in three years, or 1,099 days, the Boston Marathon is back on Patriots’ Day.

The 126th running of the marathon comes just six months since the last race, which was a once-in-a-lifetime event in October, due to the pandemic. That race had several changes – a smaller field, no Athlete’s Village, different start times and the first rolling start in Boston Marathon history. That won’t be the case Monday.

The Athlete’s Village is back at Hopkinton High School and there will be a full field of 30,000 participants. All of them must be fully vaccinated. No athletes coming from Russia or Belarus are allowed in this year’s marathon. Earlier this month, the Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.) announced the restrictions to show support for Ukraine.

This year also marks the 50th anniversary of the first official women’s field in the Boston Marathon. Eight women started and eight women finished in 1972. One of them, Val Rogosheske, is coming back this year to run again.

RACE DAY SCHEDULE

The traditional waves of runners are back for this year’s race.

Here are the official start times:

Men’s wheelchair 9:02 a.m.
Women’s wheelchair 9:05 a.m.
Handcycles/duos 9:30 a.m.
Professional men 9:37 a.m.
Professional women 9:45 a.m.
Para athletes 9:50 a.m.
Wave 1 10:00 a.m.
Wave 2 10:25 a.m.
Wave 3 10:50 a.m.
Wave 4 11:15 a.m.

WHO TO WATCH

There will be several former Boston Marathon champions competing in all divisions Monday. There will also be Olympic medalists and Abbott World Marathon Majors winners in the field, which the B.A.A. says will be the fastest “ever assembled in race history.”

The men are led by Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia, a three-time Olympic gold medalist. This will be his Boston debut. His 2:01:41 Ethiopian national record ranks as the second fastest marathon in history and is just two seconds shy of the world record.

Seven of the last eight winners will be back, including the 2021 champion Benson Kipruto of Kenya. Joining him are Lawrence Cherono (2019), Yuki Kawauchi (2018), Geoffrey Kirui (2017), Lemi Berhanu (2016), and Lelisa Desisa (2013 & 2015). Berhanu was the runner-up in October, one second ahead of Ethiopia’s Jemal Yimer, who is also entered.

Kenya will have an elite team along with Kipruto. Joining him are Titus Ekiru, the fastest marathoner in the world last year (2:02:57 in Milan), Evans Chebet, the world leader in 2020 (2:03:00), Albert Korir, the New York City Marathon winner, and Geoffrey Kamworor, a two-time winner in New York.

Princeton, Mass.-native Colin Bennie earned top American honors last year and returns with hopes of improving upon his seventh-place finish. Joining him are Team USA Olympic marathoners Jake Riley (Tokyo 2020) and Jared Ward (Rio 2016), 2019 Boston seventh-place finisher Scott Fauble, and last year’s leader through 20 miles CJ Albertson.

In the women’s race, Peres Jepchirchir of Kenya will make her Boston Marathon debut after winning the marathon gold medal in the Tokyo Olympics and the New York City Marathon.

Molly Seidel, the Olympic bronze medalist in the marathon, is also running Boston for the first time, even though she’s lived and trained here. She’s from Wisconsin and was a national champion in cross country and track at Notre Dame. She finished second in her very first marathon at the 2020 U.S. Olympic Trials and was fourth in New York last fall.

Former Boston champions Des Linden (2018) and Edna Kiplagat (2017) will be back again. Seidel and Linden lead a strong group of American women at this year’s race, which also includes Sara Hall, the second-fastest American marathoner in history (2:20:32) and Nell Rojas, the top American and sixth place finisher in Boston in October.

Paralympic marathon gold medalist Madison de Rozario and 3-time Boston Marathon wheelchair champion Manuela Schär will also be racing Monday. Schär and de Rozario have dominated the women’s wheelchair division in recent years. Schär earned five Paralympic medals, including two gold, and won her third Boston Marathon in October. In the fall, de Rozario became the first Australian woman to win the New York City Marathon. Schär holds the world record and Boston Marathon course record of 1:28:17, set in 2017.

Five-time Boston winner Tatyana McFadden was also scheduled to race in the women’s wheelchair division, but she withdrew last week due to a blood clot condition.

On the men’s side, Switzerland’s Marcel Hug, a five-time Boston Marathon champion, world and course record holder, was seeking his sixth title in seven years, but he pulled out early Monday morning.

Now leading the professional wheelchair field will be 2019 winner Daniel Romanchuk, the runner-up in Boston last year, and South Africa’s Ernst van Dyk, the 10-time Boston winner and most decorated athlete in race history, who will return for his 22nd Boston Marathon.

CELEBRITY RUNNERS

Marathon bombing survivor Adrianne Haslet will be back on the course for her second Boston Monday in the professional Para athlete division, with the help of four-time Olympian and marathon fan-favorite Shalane Flanagan.

Ethan Zohn, a Lexington native who won the third season of “Survivor,” is running to celebrate ten years of cancer remission.

Former “Bachelor” Matt James is running for Team USO.

Patriots director of football/head coach administration Berj Najarian is running to raise money for his nonprofit that’s focused on highlighting culture.

NASCAR driver Matt Kenseth is now running marathons and he will be at the starting line in Hopkinton. Soccer players Heather O’Reilly and Leslie Osborne will be there as well, running for the Sports Museum’s Boston vs Bullies program.

Amputee runner Jacky Hunt-Broersma is running 100 marathons in 100 days. Boston will be number 92 for her.

For the first time ever, the Boston Marathon has dedicated a bib number to a neurodivergent athlete. This year, bib 321 will be worn by Chris Nikic, who ran his first Boston back in October. March 21, or 3-21, is the date for World Down Syndrome Day. It’s also the number that signifies the chromosome that causes Down syndrome. Nikic is also the first athlete with Down syndrome to complete an Ironman Triathalon.

Race director Dave McGillivray will be running his 50th consecutive Boston Marathon on Monday.

FOLLOWING RUNNERS

Be prepared for the crowds. More than half a million spectators are expected to line the course. The Boston Athletic Association has developed a chart for optimal viewing times if you want to see one of the waves coming by the many viewing spots along the course.

Read: Mile-by-Mile Guide

If you’re in Ashland around the 2 and 3 mile mark, look out for Spencer the golden retriever, the official dog of the 126th Boston Marathon.

Massachusetts State Police have posted a list of items you can’t bring to the marathon and don’t forget, several roads will be shut down from Hopkinton to Boston Monday.

To keep track of the leaderboard and results on the course, click here.

For more race information, visit the B.A.A. website.

WEATHER FORECAST

Weather should not be a major factor Monday. There’s no rain in the forecast, but there will be a headwind so it’s unlikely any new course records will be set. Conditions are nearly ideal, not too hot and not too cold. Temperatures will be around 50 degrees.

WBZ-TV is the exclusive local broadcaster of the Boston Marathon. Pre-race coverage begins at 7 a.m. followed by race coverage at 9 a.m. WBZ-TV’s coverage will be streaming on CBSBoston.com beginning at 9 a.m. The stream is limited to New England.

CBSBoston.com Staff