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5 Biggest Marathons


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Boston Marathon
The elite men start the 114th running of the Boston Marathon in Hopkinton, Mass., Monday, April 19, 2010.
The elite men start the 114th running of the Boston Marathon in Hopkinton, Mass., Monday, April 19, 2010.
AP Photo/Michael Dwyer

Another good choice for a spring race is the historic Boston Marathon, held each April since 1897, making it the oldest annual marathon in the world. The course has changed only slightly over the years, with the start in Hopkinton to the finish on historic Boylston Street. The race is probably most famous for Heartbreak Hill, a 0.4-mile (644-meter) ascent that gives runners a view of downtown Boston and the finish line once they hit the apex. Another unique aspect of the Boston Marathon is the smallish field of 25,000, making it one of the few major marathons to require qualifying times according to age and gender. Times are subject to review and verification.

In 2008, more than 500,000 enthusiastic spectators watched 21,948 runners finish and split a $796,000 purse, $150,000 of which went to each male and female champion. Course records were set in 2010 and 2002 for men and women, respectively, with times of 2:05:52 and 2:20:43. If you can qualify and you're interested in running the most historic marathon in the world, you'll need to pay the $130 entry fee.


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