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Today In History: April 19th, 1897

Photo Credit: Bettmann via Getty Images
Photo Credit: Bettmann via Getty Images

The First Boston Marathon Was Held in Boston, Massachusetts

On April 19, 1897, history was made as the inaugural Boston Marathon kicked off with just fifteen intrepid runners. The entrance fee for the race was $1 (compared to the cost in 2023, where it was $230 USD to enter the race), and runners were required to arrange their own transportation to the starting line. Led by race winner John J. McDermott, these early marathoners embarked on a challenging course from the town of Ashland to the bustling streets of Boston’s Back Bay area. McDermott’s victorious finish, completing the race in a time of 2 hours, 55 minutes, and 10 seconds, marked the beginning of a storied tradition that would captivate the world for generations to come.

runner clarence de mar crossing finish line as he wins boston marathon in 1927
The 25-mile Ashland to Boston B.A.A. marathon was won for the fifth time by Clarence De Mar, who is shown above about to break the tape. Photo Credit: George Rinhart / Corbis / Getty Images

Despite the small field of participants, the first Boston Marathon attracted significant attention from spectators who lined the course to cheer on the runners. Held in cold and rainy conditions, the inaugural race tested the endurance and determination of its participants, setting the stage for the grueling challenges that would define future editions of the marathon. McDermott’s triumph, rewarded with a wreath made of olive branches, symbolized the spirit of athletic achievement and perseverance that continues to inspire runners worldwide.

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The inaugural Boston Marathon laid the foundation for what would become the world’s oldest annual marathon, embodying the principles of courage, resilience, and camaraderie that define the spirit of long-distance running. Through the years, the Boston Marathon has evolved into more than just a race—it’s a testament to the indomitable human spirit and the enduring pursuit of excellence.

TVN News Poster

TVN News Poster is one of the authors writing for The Vintage News