Faces of the Boston Marathon Field

Boston Marathon

Faces of the field

A closer look at the demographics of the 2014 Boston Marathon

Wave after wave of runners, a seemingly endless sea of faces numbering about 36,000 in all, will hit the streets in Hopkinton on April 21 focused on a single goal: the finish line of the 2014 Boston Marathon. Who are they, really? Let's zoom in.

The average Joe

Joe Haines

Hickory, North Carolina

Qualifying for the Boston Marathon isn't something just any "average Joe" can do. But in every other way, Joe Haines is truly the average Joe of this year's Boston Marathon field.

Beyond his name, he's 42, which is the average age of the entire field. He is married and has one son and one daughter. He hails from Dallas but currently resides in Hickory, N.C., and as long as he's in the United States, he's part of the largest contingent of Boston Marathon runners – Americans.

The former search and rescue swimmer for the US Navy now works as an engineer. He is, quite literally, an average Joe.

"Story of my life," Haines said.

After missing qualifying for the 2013 Boston Marathon by just 15 seconds, Haines ran the 2012 Anthem Richmond Marathon in 3:10:54 to capture a spot in this year's field. Haines said he started running marathons about two years ago.

"It was a bucket list thing," he said. "I just wanted to run one and this will be my fifth."

Haines said he runs 40 to 45 miles every week. His training is not very regimented, but he tries to go on longer runs during the weekend. Although this will be his first Boston Marathon, Haines said he has been to Boston many times before to visit his wife's family.

Middle of the pack

See where the average runner finishes compared with the field

Slowest time Average time Fastest time
7:55:15 4:00:57 2:12:40

DATA: 2012 Boston Marathon

The Cambridge runner

Bob Trotta

Cambridge, Massachusetts

The 2014 Boston Marathon will be 55-year-old Bob Trotta's first marathon. He started running half marathons last year and decided to run the Boston Marathon for the Alzheimer's Association.

Trotta grew up in northern New Jersey and graduated from the University of Rhode Island. He resides in Cambridge, which has the most runners of any city or town in Massachusetts other than Boston in this year's field.

The bombings at last year's race and the events that followed swayed Trotta's decision to run. He said he does not live far from where Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer Sean Collier was shot and killed.

"I just wanted to be a part of whatever I could to give back to the community," he said.

Trotta chose to run for the Alzheimer's Association to raise money in the fight against the disease that took his mother and father-in-law.

"It's just the right cause," he said.

He trains with other members of the Alzheimer's Association team and said he likes to run on the MIT track, along the Charles River, or just on the streets of Cambridge.

Where in the USA?

Enter a town in the United States to see how many people are running

The 50-state marathoner

Gina Chupka

Golden, Colorado

Gina Chupka was a half-mile from the 2013 Boston Marathon finish line when two bombs exploded on Boylston Street, ending the race and halting Chupka's quest to complete a marathon in all 50 states.

Chupka began running marathons in 2008. A Colorado resident who grew up in Westfield, Mass., she wanted Massachusetts to be the final state she needed to run in to join the 50 States Marathon Club. Three weeks after she was stopped in Boston, Chupka signed up for the Walter Childs Memorial Race of Champions Marathon in Holyoke to finally complete the feat.

As Chupka neared the finish line, she had a change of heart and yelled to her mother, who was watching from the sidelines.

"Just don't be mad," she recalled saying. "Don't be mad at me."

Chupka stopped short of the finish and thanked the volunteers and race organizers. Race officials told her she needed to come through the finishing area to officially complete the race, but Chupka did not want that marathon to be the one that put her in the 50 states club.

She decided it was only right if Massachusetts was checked off the list after completing the 2014 Boston Marathon.

"There was no question I was coming back," Chupka said. "I didn't want it to just beat me."

50 races, 50 states

How Gina completed marathons over time

Jan 2010: 0 races

Jan 2010

Apr 2014

Use the slider above to move through time

Select a point for race information

The oldest runner

Katherine Beiers

Santa Cruz, California

credit: Dan Coyro

Katherine Beiers was working as a librarian at the University of California-Santa Cruz when she decided she needed to get outside and do something active.

The Santa Cruz resident began running and found that she not only enjoyed it, but was pretty good at it. She ran her first marathon, the Napa Valley Marathon, at the age of 51.

Beiers and six others who are also now 81 are the oldest runners in the 2014 Boston Marathon field. This year will be the 10th Boston Marathon for Beiers, who was once the mayor of Santa Cruz.

Beiers said prior to last year's race she was unsure if she would run Boston again. After the bombing, she knew she wanted to return.

"It was what happened and that I didn't get to finish," she said. "Boston is very, very special."

Beiers said the California weather this year has been great for running. She said she runs five days a week, but never on Mondays and Fridays.

"I've always had great running partners," she said.

Beiers's son, John, is also an avid runner and will run the Boston Marathon this year.

"He'll be an hour and a half ahead of me, but it's fun," she said. "Four of my grandkids will also be there watching."

Beiers said she is looking forward to getting a Samuel Adams with John after the race.

"That's my recovery drink," she said.

Historic moments

See key Boston Marathon moments during Katherine's life


Katherine: 1 years old

John A. Kelly of Massachusetts wins with a time of 2:32:07, his first of victories.

A runner named Jennifer

Jennifer Rikoski

Boston, Massachusetts

As a college student at Georgetown University, Jennifer Rikoski picked up running as a way to exercise and explore the Washington, D.C. area. She began running marathons a few years ago after she secured a spot in the 2007 New York City Marathon. This year will mark the third Boston Marathon for the 35-year-old South End resident.

A Ropes & Gray lawyer who works in the Prudential Center, Rikoski has qualified for each Boston Marathon, but also runs to raise money for the Political Asylum/Immigration Representation (PAIR) Project, a nonprofit that provides legal services to asylum-seekers.

Rikoski trains on the Boston Marathon course and said running makes her feel very connected to the city. She's also very connected to the field because her first name happens to be the most popular for women.

She added that she anticipates being very emotional on Marathon Monday as she makes her way to the finish line, not just because of last year's bombings, but because she will run by the Boylston Street firehouse that lost two firefighters in the recent nine-alarm Back Bay fire.

"The marathon on its own is such a special experience," Rikoski said. "But I think this year it will be bittersweet."

Most common female names

Of the 15,964 female runners

Jennifer (396) Sarah (238) Lisa (235) Elizabeth (203) Amy (188)

See the full breakdown here

A runner named Michael

Michael McGourty

Wakefield, Massachusetts

Almost four years ago, Michael McGourty's wife gave birth to premature spontaneous triplets. Two of the three spent three months in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Boston Children's Hospital, undergoing life-saving treatment.

This year, the 40-year-old Wakefield resident will run the Boston Marathon with the Miles for Miracles team to raise money for the hospital that saved his children's lives.

He also happens to have the most common first name for men entered in the Boston Marathon. David is next, followed by John, Robert, and James.

The members of the Miles for Miracles team are paired with patient partners, and McGourty is paired with Daisy and Quinn, his two triplets who spent time at Boston Children's. McGourty said initially he did not think of having his own children as his patient partners because today they are both doing well.

"I actually kind of overlooked them at first," he said. "I just thought they might have been healthier than other kids."

McGourty ran the 2001 Boston Marathon for the Arthritis Foundation, but said he is looking forward to running for Boston Children's because it is a "tremendous organization" that holds a special place in his heart.

McGourty said he can't wait to see his family on Marathon Monday. They will be watching from the sidelines near mile 18.

Most common male names

Of the 19,420 male runners

Michael (747) David (597) John (555) Robert (406) James (353)

See the full breakdown here

The first-timer

Gillian Furey

Mansfield, Massachusetts

Although Gillian Furey is the special events manager and volunteer coordinator for the Joe Andruzzi Foundation, a charity that has formed a marathon team for the past three years to raise money in the fight against cancer, the Mansfield resident never planned on running the Boston Marathon.

But when Furey's uncle offered her two bibs from the One Fund for this year's race, she and her boyfriend made the last-minute decision to run.

"I took it as kind of a sign," Furey said. "Originally I had no thought of running at all."

So far, Furey and her boyfriend have raised more than $5,000 together for the Joe Andruzzi Foundation, far surpassing the $1,000 minimum for runners joining the foundation's team with an outside bib. Furey has been following the Hal Higdon training program for beginner runners, utilizing a combination of cross-training and running to prepare for the marathon.

The elite runner

Micah Kogo

Eldoret, Kenya

Former 10K world record holder and 10,000-meter Olympic bronze medalist Micah Kogo made his marathon debut at last year's Boston Marathon. The Kenyan had his sights set on a victory heading into the final stretch, but Ethiopia's Lelisa Desisa edged Kogo on Boylston Street and captured the victory by just five seconds.

The 27-year-old Kogo will be back in Boston this year, looking to upgrade his second-place finish.

Kogo improved upon his 2013 Boston Marathon mark with a fourth-place time of 2:06:56 in the Chicago Marathon in October, his personal best. In February, he raced to a sixth-place finish with a half marathon personal best 59:49 at the Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon in the United Arab Emirates.

History of men's winners

Finish times from 1897-2013

2:00 2:30 3:00

History of women's winners

Finish times from 1972-2013

2:00 2:40 3:20

note: 1972 was first official women's race

The rising star

Jeffrey Eggleston

Boulder, Colorado

Jeffrey Eggleston is the first to admit his college running career at the University of Virginia was less than stellar. On his own web site, it's described as "brief and lackluster."

But his passion for running took off after he entered the 2007 US 20K Championship in New Haven, Conn., and finished 10th.

"It was kind of eye-opening for me because I think it made me realize that maybe there is some untapped potential there," Eggleston said. "I thought about what about if I want to move into the marathon, what if I can qualify for an Olympic trials, and really I just started small and kept improving."

Now Eggleston, 29, is among the elites entered in the Boston Marathon. After debuting in the marathon in 2010 with a 2:14:32 time, he's a rising star who believes he can challenge to be the top American finisher on April 21. He has lowered his marathon personal record to 2:12:03, and won several marathons, including Pittsburgh (2011) and The Woodlands in Texas (2012).

He spent time recently in Boston training on the course, and has raced in Boston in the BAA Half-Marathon, twice finishing as the top American.

"I feel like I've really matured in the marathon in the last couple of years where I'm ready to take on the big boys," he said. "That's part of the goal, to be competitive with the Americans and also the international field. Obviously there's some really accomplished international athletes coming. It'll be a great learning experience, but I'm definitely not afraid to mix it up."

Elite runners' personal best

Men: 2014 Boston Marathon

Name Country Course Time
1. Dennis Kimetto Kenya Chicago (CR) 2:03:45
2. Lelisa Desisa Ethiopia Dubai 2:04:45
3. Gebregziabher Gebremariam Ethiopia Boston 2:04:53
4. Markos Geneti Ethiopia Dubai 2:04:54
5. Ryan Hall USA Boston 2:04:58
6. Wilson Chebet Kenya Rotterdam 2:05:27
7. Tilahun Regassa Ethiopia Chicago 2:05:27
8. Eric Ndiema Kenya Amsterdam 2:06:07
9. Franklin Chepkwony Kenya Eindhoven 2:06:11
10. Micah Kogo Kenya Chicago 2:06:56
22. Jeffrey Eggleston USA Chicago 2:12:03

Elite runners' personal best

Women: 2014 Boston Marathon

Name Country Course Time
1. Mare Dibaba Ethiopia Dubai 2:19:52
2. Rita Jeptoo Kenya Chicago 2:19:57
3. Jemima Jelagat Sumgong Kenya Chicago 2:20:48
4. Meselech Melkamu Ethiopia Frankfurt (CR) 2:21:01
5. Meseret Hailu Debele Ethiopia Amsterdam (CR) 2:21:09
6. Eunice Kirwa Kenya Amsterdam 2:21:41
7. Sharon Cherop Kenya Berlin 2:22:28
8. Caroline Kilel Kenya Frankfurt 2:22:34
9. Desiree Linden USA Boston 2:22:38
10. Flomena Chepchichir Chumba Kenya Frankfurt 2:23:00

note: CR = course record

The extra-long distance runner

Crystal Tobuk

Nome, Alaska

Crystal Tobuk just wanted to give local marathoners in Nome, Alaska, an opportunity to run when she organized the first Cape Nome Half & Full Marathon in 2012. But after running the race she hosted herself, the administrative assistant, personal trainer, and mother of two became "addicted" to running marathons.

This year, no American runner will travel from a point farther west than Tobuk to compete in the Boston Marathon, and this will be her first Boston. It will take three flights and two layovers over a span of two days to travel more than 5,000 miles from Nome to Boston.

Tobuk acknowledged living in an area that experiences winter days marked by negative-40 degree temperatures and four hours of sunlight makes marathon training difficult. She said she often runs inside on a treadmill in the winter, but when she runs outdoors, she wears multiple layers to keep warm.

"And you wear ice cleats so you're not slipping all over the place," she said.

Tobuk has her sights set on running a marathon in every US state, and the 2014 Boston Marathon will put her at one-tenth of her goal. She said she visited Boston once when she was younger and is excited to return.

The Toronto runner

Bill Haust

Toronto, Canada

Every year, thousands of fans line the streets of Massachusetts to cheer for friends and loved ones who have decided to tackle the 26.2 mile Boston Marathon course.

But 61-year-old Toronto native Bill Haust prefers when spectators cheer for "nobody."

"You're told to put your name on your shirt or your arm so people can call it out," Haust said. "I put 'nobody' on my shirt so people are cheering for nobody. 'Go nobody, hey nobody.' It has a much greater effect than just wearing a Canadian flag, which you see a lot of."

Haust is one of 268 runners in this year's field from Toronto, which is the city outside the United States with more runners than any other.

Haust has run 123 marathons, including 14 straight Boston Marathons.

"It's the mecca of running," Haust said of Boston, adding that one of the things he loves most is the overall atmosphere of the city on race day.

"There's nothing like coming off Hereford Street and looking down Boylston at the blue and yellow banner across the finish line," he said. "It's such a beautiful feeling. You sort of live for that moment every year, at least I do."

Where in the world?

Enter a country to see how many people are representing it

Top 10 countries represented:

Country # of runners
United States 30,060
Canada 2,443
United Kingdom 375
Mexico 242
Italy 235
Germany 201
Japan 198
Australia 147
Ireland 136
France 123

See the full breakdown here

DATA: Boston Athletic Association (March 17, 2014), Boston Marathon Media Guide

Matt Pepin, Emily McCarthy, Elaina Natario, Russell Goldenberg / Globe Staff