Running Towards History

Kara Shea
Norwood resident strives for marathon medal
Issue Date: 
April, 2019
Article Body: 

Since its inception in April 1897, The Boston Marathon, the world’s oldest annual marathon, has garnered the attention of Massachusetts residents and the world alike.
As the brain child of Olympic Team Manager John Graham, assisted by businessman Herbert H. Holton, the first race measured a distance of 24.5 miles, and had a mere 15 participants.
According to the Boston Athletic Association(BAA), “since 1986, the men’s and women’s open division course records have improved a combined eight times and the field size has grown from 4,904 entrants to 30,000 in recent years. [The Centennial Boston Marathon in 1996 established a record as the worlds largest marathon, with 38,708 entrants.] The Boston Marathon also attracts approximately 500,000 spectators each year, making it New England’s most widely viewed sporting event”.
One of the main reasons why the Boston Marathon is so appealing to runners is due to the qualifications one needs to participate. Unlike other marathons, the runners need to meet a specific qualifying time on a predetermined type of course.
If a runner qualifies, registration occurs on a “rolling admission” schedule, beginning with the fastest qualifiers, and remains open until all qualifier spots had been filled. Preference is given to those who had run the fastest under their age and gender qualifying standard. Registration is held in September of the year prior to the marathon.
However, there are those who do not have to qualify to run the marathon as “the BAA sets aside a few thousand numbers for runners affiliated with one of the marathon’s official charities. The charities are given numbers to distribute to runners, who usually pledge to raise a substantial amount of money for the charity. Charity runners go through the charity they're running for, rather than the qualifier registration system, to sign up for the marathon. Charities open registration for their available numbers at various times during the year.”
In 2006, the marathon partnered with London, Berlin, Chicago, and New York City to launch the Abbott World Marathon Majors (AWMM), and ultimately linked the worlds most prestigious marathons together. In 2013, Tokyo joined the mix. Runners who manage to participate in all 6 of the AWMM get a special medal to commemorate their experience and dedication.
Norwood Resident Roberta Myers will reach this prestigious goal in 2019, as she heads to London on April 28 to complete the 6th and final marathon.
“I have been running since high school,” Myers said. “I’m now 53. I have run 23 marathons so far with Boston, London, Brussels, and Millinocket in 2019. A 45 miler is on the schedule too. I love running, it keeps me healthy and happy, and I get to run with great people from the Greater Neponset Running Club.”
Although running may not be everyone’s favorite pastime as it is Myers, it is one that has continuously brought people together. Boston is known for its strong-willed people, the Duck Tours, the Patriots, Harvard- the list could go on and on. But specifically, the Boston Marathon is something that connects a beautiful city with the hundreds of thousands of people all over the world.
In addition to Myers, Norwood is well represented in the 123 Boston Marathon. Good luck to our Norwood neighbors who are taking what can be considered the most challenging running course in the world!