In a big first for the famed Boston Marathon, the Boston Marathon will take place among the fall colors of New England instead of in April. The 125th Boston Marathon was postponed this year from its normal Patriots’ Day in April to October due to issues with Covid protocols. So, today is the day for almost 20,000 runners that have been waiting a long time for this day! Here is how you can track your favorite Boston Marathon runners!
How to Track the Boston Marathon Runners Today
Link: Boston Marathon
If you are a marathoner – or even if not – you likely are interested in following along with some of the runners in the Boston Marathon today. In fact, you may have family running it or running group friends and want to keep track of them along the way. I can tell you that it is a huge mental bump for runners to know that friends, family, and others are following their progress throughout the race!
Here is a run-down on the schedule of events for the Boston Marathon:
- 8:02 a.m. ET — Wheelchair Division – Men’s Start: Official Starter: Amby Burfoot, 1968 Boston Marathon champion (also running this year’s race)
- 8:05 a.m. ET — Wheelchair Division – Women’s Start: Official Starter: Amby Burfoot, 1968 Boston Marathon champion (also running this year’s race)
- 8:30 a.m. ET — Handcycle & Duo Participants Start: Official Starter: Russell Hoyt, son of the late Dick Hoyt, finisher of 32 Boston Marathons as part of Team Hoyt
- 8:37 a.m. ET — Professional Men’s Start: Official Starter: Patti Catalano Dillon, three-time runner-up, American record holder, and Indigenous runner8:45 a.m. ET — Professional Women’s Start: Official Starter: Patti Catalano Dillon, three-time runner-up, American record holder, and Indigenous runner
- 8:50 a.m. ET — Para Athletics Division Start: Official Starter: Christina Whelton, member of Boston’s renowned Brown family. It is customary for a member of the Brown family to start one of the races on Patriots’ Day.
- 9:00 a.m. ET — Rolling Start Begins for All Participants: Official Starter: Hopkinton Fire Chief Bill Miller
There are some big differences in the schedule this year over previous years. Normally, the elite men begin at the same time as the first of four waves. This year, they will be starting 23 minutes before the general start time. Also, the general start time is an hour earlier than normal, at 9AM.
Lastly, they are doing a very staggered start time to keep distancing in the normally packed starting corals. This means that the BAA anticipates the final starter will cross the starting line about 2.5 hours after the general start. In other words, the winners of both the men’s and women’s races will be enjoying their post-race routines before the last runners begin the course. This is about double the normal spacing of the general field.
Tracking Runners in the Boston Marathon
The Boston Athletic Association has you covered when it comes to keeping an eye on either the elite runners or your friends and family that are running. They highly recommend you download the Boston Marathon app which will let you easily track your favorite runners. You can download it for iOS here and Android here.
You can also check right here on their webpage after the race kicks off (using the times below to get a sense of the tracking times – remember that the first checkpoint is at 5K and in 5K increments after that). On the page, if you scroll down, you can get access to the leaderboards for each of the 4 main categories of the marathon.
While there are many runners you may want to track, one I recommend is Shalane Flanagan Shalane is now a “retired” elite runner (I say it that way because she is still throwing down times that are incredible and not at all “retired”!). But, she is tackling a major effort – to run all six of the World Marathon Majors this fall. Due to the postponements of Covid, the six World Marathon Majors were all set to take place within six weeks – a huge first. So, Shalane planned to do all six with a goal of finishing each under 3 hours. So far, she has tackled Berlin, London, and Chicago. She will race Boston today and then have to do Tokyo as a virtual race (since they postponed that race again until early 2022) and then finally New York City. She has already done some amazing times!
Watching the Boston Marathon
If you are in New England, you can catch all the action on WBZ-TV. If you are outside their area of coverage, you can catch in on the NBC Sports Network and via their NBC Sports app. Those are the only national ways to watch the Boston Marathon as they have the exclusive rights to it.
If you miss the race, you can watch a replace on the Olympic Channel at 8PM ET. If you want to just catch the video highlights, you can do that at nbcsports.com.
Weather for the Boston Marathon
Running a marathon in New England in April means you can face all kinds of weather! It has been very hot, very cold, very windy, and very rainy. But, running the Boston Marathon in October? Here is what the weather is being forecasted for on this fall day.
The starting line in Hopkinton is looking like high 50s with cloud cover and a slight wind and a minuscule chance of rain. By the time runners reach the finish line in Boston, the temps will increase to high 60s with wind at 8MPH.
The 2021 125th Boston Marathon will certainly be one like no other. Not only is their built up suspense from it having been 18 months since runners last had the chance to toe the Boston Marathon starting line but it is also a fall running of this awesome marathon – in beautiful New England! Should be quite an experience!
Another first this year was the BAA allowing anyone to enter the virtual Boston Marathon that took place from October 8-10. Almost 20,000 runners took part in this throughout the world (including me). Sure, it is not the same but it is still a chance to have a (different) Boston Marathon medal as well as having the virtual camaraderie of thousands of runners around the globe doing the same thing!
Featured image courtesy of Marcio Jose Bastos Silva via Shutterstock