The field of nearly 30,000 runners in Monday’s Boston Marathon is battling rain, wind and cold — brutal conditions with runners going straight into a head wind.
Race officials announced that the temperature was 38 degrees at the 8:40 a.m. Eastern time start in Hopkinton, Mass., making this the coldest start in 30 years. The National Weather Service predicts that rain will be heavy by early afternoon, with winds of 25-40 mph coming out of the east and right into runners’ faces in the early going. Later in the day, there will crosswinds. The high temperature is predicted to be 49; as the elite men’s field took off at 10 a.m., the temperature was 40.
That meant that runners were coping with a different kind of misery this year, after last year’s 80-degree temperatures. Runners may love temperatures in the 40s, but not when rain and a blustery wind is added. Just look at Galen Rupp, who finished second in the elite men’s field last year. He had a unique approach Monday to staying warm, bundling up like he was about to rob a bank.
“The cold, the wet and the rain – that’s the three worst things you can have, and you have that in one race,” Abdi Abdirahman, a four-time United States Olympian said (via the New York Times) on the eve of the race. “A lot of guys have been talking about it, trying to be the tough guy and say, ‘Oh, I’m not worried about it, I will just have to deal with it.’ But you know, we will find out how many people are still intact after 30K.”
Officials coped with the weather by giving runners two bibs, one for their outer garments or ponchos. Those bibs, though, have just the numbers on them. The bib with runners’ names are underneath a layer or two. (In case you were wondering why there were bibs with names and numbers.)
Gladys Chesir of Kenya was the leader in the women’s field at the 15K mark with a split of 56:15. The lead was changing hands frequently because (you may have heard this before) the brutal weather conditions. Tamirat Tola of Ethiopa and Geoffrey Kirui of Kenya were leading the men’s pack after 10K with a time of 30:15. Rupp was a second behind after 10K.
This is the 122nd running of the marathon and it comes a day after the fifth anniversary of the 2013 bombings at the Boylston Street finish line. The race, long a measure of endurance, now marks milestones of remembrance and survival, the taking of one step followed by another over the years.
Shortly before 11 a.m., the first competitor crossed the finish line. Marcel Eric Hug of Switzerland won his fourth consecutive title in the men’s push rim wheelchair race in an unofficial time of 1:41:49, the slowest time in 31 years.
Flanagan made a pit stop as she ran the route, ducking into a port-a-potty.
The man who captured the explosions looks back
Five years later, Steve Silva recalled being at the finish line and shooting video of the explosions that was shared globally. “It wasn’t a bone-rattling explosion like you might imagine — more of a muffled thud with a large plume of smoke that ran straight up the mid-level buildings on that block of Boylston,” Silva writes.
“My first thought was that it might have been a fireworks celebration that perhaps went awry for the Hoyts’s finish. But 13 seconds later, the second explosion went off just over a block away. ‘We’ve had an attack,’ I said into the camera’s microphone.
“In a split-second, I went from sports video producer to accidental war correspondent.”
Read more about his experience here.
How to watch on TV and online (all times Eastern)
Nationally, NBC Sports Network will provide coverage from 8:30 a.m. until 1 p.m.
In the Boston area, WBZ (the CBS affiliate) will have coverage from 7 a.m. until 5 p.m. with the live stream on its website.
And here’s a different view:
Looking for a specific runner or time?
The field of 29,960 athletes includes runners from all 50 states (4,921 from Massachusetts) and 109 countries. You can find runners by searching the field at BAA.org.
The first wave of mobility-impaired participants will set out at 8:40 a.m., followed by the men’s wheelchairs division at 9:02 and women’s wheelchairs at 9:04. See all the starting times here or below.
■ 9:25 a.m.: Handcycles
■ 9:32 a.m.: Elite women
■ 10 a.m.: Elite men and Wave 1
■ 10:25 a.m.: Wave 2
■ 10:50 a.m.: Wave 3
■ 11:15 a.m.: Wave 4
Top runners include a strong American women’s field
The women’s field includes five of the all-time fastest marathoners in the United States: Shalane Flanagan, the 2017 New York City Marathon champion; Desiree Linden, a two-time Olympian; 45-year-old Deena Kastor, holder of the American record in the marathon; and Molly Huddle, the American record holder in the 10,000-meter and half-marathon. Last year’s champion, Edna Kiplagat of Kenya, also returns.
Jordan Hasay, who placed third in Boston and Chicago last year and was one of the top American women in the field, withdrew late Sunday because of a stress reaction in her heel. She had been battling plantar fasciitis over the past few weeks.
The men’s field features Americans Galen Rupp, winner of the 2017 Chicago Marathon and runner-up last year; Dathan Ritzenhein, a three-time Olympian; Abdi Abdirahman, a four-time Olympian; and Shadrack Biwott, who was fourth in 2017 in the Boston race. Nine Kenyan and Ethiopian male runners with personal bests of under 2:07 will compete, including Geoffrey Kirui, who won the 2017 Boston and IAAF World Championships marathons.
A physician comes full circle, running Monday
If you’re going …
Security for the 26.2-mile race has been tightened since 2013 and spectators, who are expected to number more than 50,000, are reminded of what is and is not allowed, particularly close to the finish line.
At least five transgender runners will compete
Marathon organizers are not concerned about gender boundaries, saying that transgender runners can compete using the gender they qualified with.
At least five openly transgender women have signed up to run the race, and a BAA official told Runner’s World that race officials and volunteers would compare gender identity on the government-issued ID required to pick up a bib number with what’s on runners’ entries.
If there’s no match, a BAA spokesperson told Runner’s World that it would be addressed “in a manner intended to be fair to all concerned, with a strong emphasis on inclusion.”
“We take people at their word. We register people as they specify themselves to be,” Tom Grilk, who heads up the Boston Athletic Association, told the Associated Press. “Members of the LGBT community have had a lot to deal with over the years, and we’d rather not add to that burden.”
Amelia Gapin, a transgender woman from Jersey City, heads up a social media group for trans runners and told the AP: “It’s kind of murky how people handle it. We are such a small percentage of the population that we generally just fly under the radar.”
Play ball? Not today.
Weather forced postponement of that other Patriots Day tradition, the 11 a.m. Red Sox game against the Orioles at Fenway Park, for the first time since 1984.
Japanese runners once dominated the Boston Marathon
There was a time when runners from Japan ruled the Boston Marathon and The Post’s Kathryn Tolbert takes a look back at the slurs and prejudice they endured years after the end of World War II. Read the story in Retropolis.
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