Hometown thrill...the BOSTON MARATHON, 1947
America's first marathon took place on Patriot's Day, April 19th, 1897 in Massachusetts. It was the Boston Marathon consisting of just fifteen runners and covering 26 miles from Hopkinton to Boston's historic Back Bay.
Today the Maraton is host to over 20,000 runners and, although considered one of the premier foot races of the world, it still retains the route that was plotted out in 1897.
This course runs directly through the town of Wellesley on Rt. 9, once known as "The Old Post Rd." This is where I grew up and each year we would anxiously await the day of the race. Then we would line up on the main street of the town and cheer on the runners of our choice. It was especially exciting in the 40's because Clarence DeMar (1888-1958) was still alive and running. (That is he in the picture) He was the legendary figure who won 7 Boston Marathons, 1911, '22, '23, '24, '27, '28 & 1930.
I was 14 in 1947 and I remember that year in particular because, not only was DeMar running but it was also the beginning of the handicapped racers and it was amazing to watch them. Of course in those days all the participants were men. It would be 25 years before women were allowed to join in.
In Massachusetts Patriot's Day is a big deal. It commemorated the anniversary of Paul Revere's famous ride and, although the Boston Maraton waa just part of the day's festivities it was always my favorite.