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Boston Marathon 2021: How an ‘incredible’ day unfolded, from Hopkinton to Boylston Street

A runner had enough energy to leap into the air at the finish line on Monday.Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff

It was a triumphant day in Boston.

The 125th running of the Boston Marathon came after 910 days of waiting. It was a smaller field; the crowds were socially distant. But the energy of the world’s oldest continually run marathon was exactly what runners hoped it would be.

“I don’t think I really could have understood what it’s like to run Boston until you actually do it,” said Colin Bennie, a Princeton, Mass., native and the No. 7 finisher in the men’s elite race.

Here’s how the day unfolded. See all our coverage at

2021 Boston Marathon winners

Men’s wheelchair: Marcel Hug, Switzerland (Read more)


Women’s wheelchair: Manuela Schär, Switzerland (Read more)

Men’s elite: Benson Kipruto, Kenya (Read more)

Women’s elite: Diana Kipyokei, Kenya (Read more)

See results here

‘It gives you hope’: Boston Marathon’s return is a 26.2-mile celebration — 4:25 p.m.

By Tara Sullivan

The early-morning mist had yet to give way to the afternoon sun, early enough in the day that the celebration wasn’t in full gear either. The scenes around Copley Square were still relatively quiet, especially set against the ones that were sure to come later, those familiar waves of runners crashing their way down Boylston Street.

Yet here, tucked in a corner behind the famous finish line, on a plaza in front of Trinity Church, there was a beautiful scene unfolding anyway. Here, volunteers stood at the ready, rows of marathon medals hanging from their arms, destined for the necks of wheelchair participants. And as those finishers rolled in, some raising their arms, others bumping their fists in triumph, one greeter’s voice consistently rose above the rest.

“Woo hoo — congratulations!” Susan Tamasi shouted, clapping her hands as the medals dangled below. “You did it!”

They did it. We did it.

Read Tara Sullivan’s full column


17 years later, he’s on the course again — 4:12 p.m.

By Diti Kohli

Colin MacNaught last ran the Boston Marathon 17 years ago. When he finished Monday, five years out from a bone marrow transplant, he embraced his three kids on the sidelines.

“He was awesome,” his daughter, Ella, said.

The family caught Colin in Wellesley and then again at Copley Square.

At the finish line: Through the sweat and tears, runners snap selfies and celebrate — 3:54 p.m.

By Diti Kohli

As the final waves of runners touched Copley Square, an announcer reminded them, “You are all winners.”

“The wait is over,” he added.

Participants limped in, while crowds waved signs and balloons for their loved ones. A few smiling runners snapped selfies with the finish line.

In “Team Shelley” shirts, Rick and Susan Smith hugged their daughter in front of the Boston Public Library. They asked a police office to get a photo of the family on opposite sides of the metal fence.

“We’ve been watching you all day,” said Susan of Lakewood Ranch, Florida.

Shelley, a Boston resident, created the 26.2 Brew for the Boston Beer Company in 2019. She ran the marathon — and several before in Berlin, Chicago, and oher locations — for her high school friend, Becky Swetman, who died from lymphoma 15 years ago.

“It’s thrilling seeing her do this,” Rick said. “Every. Single. Time.”

With a baby strapped on her chest, Sarah Allen looked out for her husband, too.

Dustin, a Boston University professor, decided to participate just 16 weeks ago. The Heartbreak Hill Running Club was looking for runners to support the Celtics Shamrock Foundation, Sarah said, and Dustin accepted the challenge.


“It’s his first marathon,” Allen said at the finish line. “How incredible.”

Her six-month-old James watched the end of the race with a smile.

And Darryl Bonner, 59, lounged in the family meeting area with flowers in hand. His wife, Tonia, was three minutes from finishing.

“This was on her bucket list,” Darryl said. “It’s her dream marathon.”

Tonia raised money for the Special Olympics in honor of her 13-year-old grandson with Down syndrome. But for Darryl, she considered running for leukemia or lymphoma charities. He finished chemotherapy for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in March.

He has considered running a half-marathon with Tonia.

“It’ll probably be one and done for me,” Darryl said.

After becoming first person with Down syndrome to finish Ironman, Chris Nikic crosses finish line — 3:46 p.m.

Chris Nikic, who last year became the first person with Down syndrome to finish an Ironman triathlon, ran the marathon with a 6:01:22 time.

“You know, it’s such an amazing day,” he told WBZ after he finished. “It’s such an amazing day, I mean, when I tackled those hills, it was tough, but I knew I could make it.”

Marblehead’s Shalane Flanagan runs back-to-back marathons, and she’s not done yet — 3:33 p.m.

For most people, running the Boston Marathon is enough.

For Shalane Flanagan? That’s no challenge.

The 40-year-old Marblehead native retired from competitive running in 2019, but returned to marathoning this year in an attempt to run all six of the World Marathon Majors. She is trying to do it in 43 days.

On Monday, she knocked another off her list — just 24 hours after running one on Sunday.

By Michael Silverman

This was the first year with prize money and awards for the marathon’s Para Athletics Divisions, defined by athletes with visual, lower- and upper-limb impairments.

Chaz Davis, a Grafton, Mass., native who is visually impaired, won the men’s T11-12 division with a 2:46:52 time.

Misato Michishita of Japan, also visually impaired, won the T13 women’s division at 3:08:14.

For the more seriously visually impaired T11-12 division, Tayana Passos from Brazil finished top with a 3:25:45 time, while Christopher Lassos won the men’s with a 3:38:15 time.

In the single or double below- and above-knee amputee category, Marko Cheseto Lemtukei, Adam Popp and Peter Keating, all from the US, were the top three male finishers. For the women, Liz Willis and Danielle McLaughlin finished first and second.

There were no finishers in the upper-limb impairment category.

Boston Marathon is the first major marathon offering prize money in all three categories, the total purse at $27,500. First-place winners received $1,500 each in all three divisions for men and women.

By Michael Silverman

A $50,000 check vanished in Marcel Hug’s slipstream when the Swiss athlete missed a right turn just a half-mile from the Boston Marathon finish line Monday.

Hug did win the men’s wheelchair division, but his 1:18:11 time was 7 seconds shy of the course record he set four years ago.

The $50,000 bonus for setting a course record would have padded substantially the $25,000 first-place paycheck Hug received. Having now won here five times (and raced here seven times), Hug could only blame himself for not looking up to see where he was instead of keeping his eyes on the media truck, which stayed straight, as planned, on Commonwealth Avenue.

From a former Patriot to a Broadway star, here’s a look at the notable names running today’s marathon.

See our best photos — 2:05 p.m.


Take a look at some of the best images from Globe staff photographers as runners cross the finish line.

By Oliver Glass

For years, Rick and Dick Hoyt were two of the most recognizable faces in the storied history of the Boston Marathon.

Now, another Hoyt is carrying on the family legacy.

Dick’s grandson, Troy, ran the 125th Boston Marathon on Monday in honor of his late grandfather.

By Matt Doherty

CJ Albertson of Fresno, Calif., placed 10th in the 2021 Boston Marathon, finishing as the second American behind Colin Bennie with a time of 2:11:43.

On his 28th birthday, Albertson came out of the gate strong. He ran his first mile in 4:30 and led at the 20-mile mark at Heartbreak Hill by 2:13 before the rest of the pack caught up. Still, 10th place was a solid finish for Albertson in just his fourth marathon.

“The other guys can run a 4:40 pace up Heartbreak Hill and I’m not that kind of runner so I had to run differently,” said Albertson. “Realistically, tenth is good for me.”

Albertson, who ran collegiately at Arizona State, is the world record holder for the 50k and knew he’d have the advantage on the downhills. His strategy consisted of dominating the downhill runs and tread water on the uphills.

Albertson said he was tired heading into Heartbreak Hill, but “didn’t care at all.”

“Through the first 20 miles, it felt like a training run,” said Albertson.

By Matt Doherty

Princeton native Colin Bennie was the top American men’s finisher at the 2021 Boston Marathon, placing seventh with a time of 2:11:26.

“I really couldn’t have imagined a better first Boston,” said Bennie. “It turned out to be a great day, a little bit windy, but honestly pretty perfect weather in my opinion anyway. I’m just thrilled and soaking it in at this point.”

Bennie, 26, attended Wachusett Regional High School before continuing his running career at Syracuse University. Bennie said he watched the marathon growing up and was inspired by his two older brothers, Jeremy and Graham, who have combined to run 12 marathons.

“I lived vicariously through them but now I get the chance to do it myself,” said Bennie.

Bennie is off to a strong start as an elite marathon runner. He placed ninth (2:12:14) in his debut at the Olympic trials in 2020 and third (2:09:38) at the Marathon Project later that year.

Bennie said he knew if he had time to stop on the course, he’d have seen some friendly faces.

“No experience that can measure up to something like this,” he said after the race.

By Zoe Greenberg

At the finish line at noon, a crowd of eager onlookers cheered on the exhausted and grinning runners as they completed the race. It was an unfamiliar scene after two years of grim isolation: a joyful tradition finally back on the streets of Boston.

“Aaron! Aaron!” Shelby Bowers, 28, shouted to her fiancé as he made his way down Boylston after finishing the race.

Clad in a tinfoil blanket and separated from his encouragers by a metal barricade, Aaron Weston updated them: he had a blister on his pinky toe and broke 3 hours. He was pleased.

“We’re so proud,” Bowers said, grinning. The two had flown in from California for the marathon, along with a friend and Bowers’s mother. Their plans for the rest of the day?

“Take him out to dinner and go to bed!” She said laughing.

For them, the marathon was a new tradition. Others, like Jan Hall of Back Bay, came to revel in something they’ve seen many times before. Hall estimated she had witnessed 34 marathons with her family.

“It’s really fun to see so many people in town,” Hall said as she watched the stream of people at Clarendon and Boylston.

By Andrew Brinker

Running 26.2 miles? Talk about an undertaking that requires some inspiration.

That’s what the thousands of spectators at the 2021 Boston Marathon are attempting to provide today, as they line the race route with imaginative signs in hopes of sparking a reaction from passing runners.

By Diti Kohli

Cheering Boston College students lined the route wearing golden capes, construction hats, Dr. Seuss pajamas, and even a green Care Bear onesie.

“I was told to wear the wackiest costume I had,” said Brian Rasp, 21.

Spectators held signs that read “Ur not sweating, ur sparkling” and “You’ve come this far … You might as well finish.” Others high-fived runners while they sprinted by or danced with the Boston College marching band to Lil Nas X’s “Call Me By Your Name.”

A handful waved signs for Harris Craycraft, a BC running club member. The senior ran the virtual race in 2020, but this is the “last time he can run the Boston Marathon as a BC student,” said Brendan Caccio, 21 and of Hopkinton.

Isabel Wagner, who had stuck a cutout of Craycraft’s face on her shirt, said she admires his dedication. “He runs every morning and is one of the most well-liked people in our class,” she said. “He’s the man everyone wants to be.”

The celebration began early in Newton to the dismay of some neighbors. One resident, who declined to share his name, said at least 500 “out of control” students crowded Foster Street and Greycliff Road at 7:30 a.m.

It’s an ongoing problem, he said, especially for his elderly neighbors. “I find it disturbing. It’s a holiday — not a day to fall down drunk in the early morning.”

By Tonya Alanez

“I had a voice this morning,” said Ali Kwiecien, 20, after spending the morning leaning as far as she could over the metal road barrier whooping on runners, blowing kisses, and slapping hands.

“It’s just a lot of high energy and it feels awesome,” Kwiecien said.

The cheering is about making eye contact and connecting, said Kwiecien, a junior.

“It’s a lot of energy matching today,” she said. " I think sometimes [long distance runners] just need somebody to look them in the eye and tell them, ‘you are doing this and it’s amazing.’”

By Tonya Alanez

While juggling a handful of handmade signs, including one that said “Halfway Vibes,” Dallis Kehoe, a 20-year-old Wellesley junior, cheered on runners near the 20-kilometer mark.

“We live in Munger Hall so we are the halfway point,” Kehoe said of her first Boston Marathon. “It is so much more fun than I ever imagined.”

Same for Annabelle Derrick, an 18-year-old Wellesley freshman.

“Cheering people on is so great, Derrick said, with glitter sparkling on her face.

“It feels like all of Wellesley is here.”

With the stress of midterms behind them, this is a perfect reprieve, she said.

“Everybody is ready to have fun and recharge their social batteries. I think cheering on everybody out here is really contributing to the awesome energy and positivity.”

By Taylor Dolven

HOPKINTON — Eight or nine buses shuttling runners from Boston to Hopkinton did not make it to the designated drop-off spot near the Boston Marathon starting line, instead dumping people at a cross street blocked by police about a mile and a half from the start around 10:15 a.m.

Police at the closed off intersection in Hopkinton said eight or nine buses got lost on the way to the starting line of the 125th Boston Marathon, the first time the race has been held in person in almost two years after being delayed because of the pandemic.

“[Expletive] keeps going wrong,” said one runner among dozens making the uphill climb on Cedar Street to the start line.

Diana Kipyokei is the 2021 Boston Marathon women’s elite winner. Official time: 2:24:45.

Kipyokei, the 27-year-old Kenyan, took over the lead around the 18-mile marker after getting out of the pack. Ethiopia’s Netsanet Gudeta started to threaten, and the two jockeyed for first at Mile 21.

But by Mile 24, Kipyokei had a 15-second lead that she wouldn’t relinquish, even after fellow Kenyan Edna Kiplagat started to gain some ground in Mile 25.

Kipyokei won the 2020 Istanbul Marathon and came in third in Ljubljana in 2019. Boston is her first World Marathon Major win.

Kiplagat finished in second, and Mary Ngugi of Kenya took third.

Ethiopia’s Netsanet Gudeta is more than 15 seconds behind, but Kenya’s Edna Kiplagat has moved into second.

Ethiopia’s Netsanet Gudeta might have enough to catch Diana Kipyokei.

The Kenyan had been jockeying with Ethiopia’s Netsanet Gudeta, but Kipyokei has about a five-second lead.

Kenya’s Benson Kipruto is the 2021 men’s Boston Marathon winner. Official time: 2:09:51.

Kipruto, 30, has run Boston before. He won this year’s Prague Marathon the Toronto Marathon in 2018. He also has five podium finishes in his career: Toronto, Seoul, Gongju, Prague, and Athens.

But Boston is Kipruto’s biggest win to date. And it’s the 23rd win for a Kenyan runner.

The rest of the men’s field played out as follows:

Second: Lemi Berhanu, Ethiopia (2:10:37)

Third: Jemal Yimer, Ethiopia (2:10:38)

He has a commanding lead of more than 200 meters as the runners turn onto Comm. Ave.

Kipruto just ran the fastest kilometer of the race so far.

The elite men are closing in on Boylston Street, with just a few miles to go.

By Diti Kohli

At Mile Marker 21, four Boston College sophomores wanted runners to know the worst is behind them. They held crudely constructed paper signs with the message, “The heartbreak is over!”

Angie Antoine, 19, said she came out to celebrate with fellow BC students crowding the streets. She had watched the women’s wheelchair winner speed just minutes before.

“This is an amazing thing they’re doing,” said Antoine, dressed in colored beads and a pink bucket hat. “They deserve our applause.”

By Tonya Alanez

The crescendo of cheers travels through the tree-lined corridor known as the scream tunnel on Wellesley’s campus like a wave, peaking just as the runners sprint by.

Sign wavers jump up and down. “If you’re tired run with your heart” and “why do all the cute ones run away” are among the handmade placards.

Emily Ruben, an 18-year-old sophomore is here with a group of six for her first marathon.

She chose a meme for her sign: “why R you running?”

“This is super exciting to be out here with all my friends,” Ruben said. “I think it’s a pretty fun day when we all get to let loose a little bit.”

“Wellesley is pretty rigorous.”

Nearby a person decked out in a velour kelly-green frog suit and Converse All-Stars danced a jig while holding a sign: Kiss Me, I’m the Sbog Frog.”

Kisses, this year, were not on this year’s scream tunnel agenda, pumped fists and high fives sufficed.

Geoffrey takes over as they navigate Newton at Mile 21.

Caroline Chepkoech and Diana Kipyokei are close behind.

C.J. Albertson is a 50K runner. If this race ended in South Boston, it would be his.

But after turning in sub-5 minute splits for the first half of the race, the 28-year-old is slowing down entering Heartbreak Hill. The pack is closing in.

By Oliver Glass

The Boston Common has all but emptied out, with the sea of athletes ushered onto the rows of yellow school buses ready to ferry them over to the start in Hopkinton.

Here are all the start times for today.

C.J. Albertson pumping up the crowd as he still leads at Mile 19 — 10:08 a.m.

Albertson is still in the front, running a 2:09:14 pace. It’s unlikely he’ll hold onto the lead, but he’s certainly making it interesting.

Elite women hit halfway mark; Kipyokei and Chepkoech lead — 10:02 a.m.

At the halfway mark for the women — 1:14:11 — Diana Kipyokei and Caroline Chepkoech lead a pack of 14.

He’s running to ‘pay it back’ — 10:00 a.m.

By Nate Weitzer

Foxborough’s Chris Vandette is one of 300 runners raising funds for the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. Vandette qualified for Boston in 2018, around the time his wife, Andrea, was diagnosed with breast cancer. Now she’s in remission and Vandette said he wanted to “pay it back. He raised over $12,500 for cancer research.

“I figured this year would be a good year to get back in the marathon and do some fundraising,” said Vandette. “With the unique nature of the marathon being in October, the stars kind of aligned. I have so much appreciation for Dana Farber and the research they do.”

He’s been training for seven years. Now, it’s finally here — 9:43 a.m.

By Taylor Dolven

Since the morning after his 25th birthday, Anand Sampat, 32, has been training for the Boston Marathon, according to his fiancée Lina Vadlamani, 27. He qualified at a race in Seattle right before the COVID-19 pandemic, she said.

“It’s the best, it’s Boston!”

Vadlamani’s parents, visiting from Lansing, Michigan, joined her near the start line. Sampat came by, posing on the other side of the metal divider as the trio held a “Go Anand Go!” sign and posed for a photo.

“His life ambition is to make it to the Boston Marathon,” said Bhatt Vadlamani, 60, Lina’s father.

Last year Vadlamani followed Sampat along the route in her car as he ran the race virtually, sometimes lagging behind him. He’s aiming for a finish time of under three hours, Vadlamani said.

Switzerland’s Manuela Schär wins women’s wheelchair — 9:40 a.m.

It’s a Swiss sweep!

Manuela Schär defended her 2019 women’s wheelchair title, finishing first on Monday with an unofficial time of 1:35:21.

She joins countryman Marcel Hug as the first two winners crowned in the 2021 Boston Marathon.

Schär also took it wire-to-wire, and was all alone on the course for much of her race.

Schär missed out on her course record of 1:28:17.

Swiss wheelchair racer Marcel Hug never relinquished his lead on Monday, going wire-to-wire to win the 2021 men’s race in the Boston Marathon.

His closest competition was Daniel Romanchuk, the defending champion. But Hug held a five-minute lead over the American with less than four miles to go.

Hug nearly broke his own course record, but took a wrong turn — going straight onto Commonwealth Avenue instead of taking a right to get onto Boylston.

Without the mistake, Hug would have had the new record. He finished in 1:18:11.

Rolling start begins — 9:05 a.m.

The rolling start has begun. Six groups — comprised of about 3,500 competitors each — will take off from Hopkinton between now and 11 a.m.

Take a look here to find out when your runner will begin.

C.J. Albertson takes big lead at Mile 4 — 8:58 a.m.

Happy Birthday to C.J. Albertson! The Californian is making his debut in a World Marathon Major on his 28th birthday, and he’s 400 meters ahead of the field — about a 1:02 lead — at Mile 4.

Here’s more about him:

• He is the 50K track world record holder with a time of 2:42:30.

• He was seventh at the US Olympic Trials Marathon in 2019.

• His racing accomplishments include second place at the 2021 Grandma’s Marathon and second at the 2019 California International Marathon, as well as back-to-back victories in the Two Cities Marathon, and a win at the 2019 Modesto Marathon.

• Holds the Indoor marathon world record 2:17:59 (New York City, 2019).

Rolling start is changing things for Hopkinton volunteers — 8:55 a.m.

By Nate Weitzer

With the new rolling start, things are different for volunteers who usually serve as rope holders for the 19 corrals containing about 1,000 runners.

Veteran volunteers Sue Falamino, of Marlboro, and Rick Chasse, of Belmont, have each been working the start line for over a decade. Instead of holding masses of runners in place, they’re serving as volunteer Marshals, tasked with keeping runners inside the designated starting area and keeping spectators behind the designated fences.

Cheers and applause as runners make their way to starting line — 8:54 a.m.

By Taylor Dolven

Byron Sosa, 53, held a sign above his head that read “Go Bryan!” in red letters and “GUA” in the light blue of the Guatemalan flag as the first male runners gathered on a side street near the starting line. He’s here from Charlotte, North Carolina to watch his son Bryan, 25, compete for the first time in the Boston Marathon, and also to cheer on the two elite Guatemalan runners Carlos Trujillo and Luis Carlos Rivero, starting with the first group.

This is Bryan’s fourth marathon, Sosa said. He recently gave up competing in triathlons in favor of the 26.2 mile race.

“When he gave up the triathlon, he quickly wanted to qualify for this race,” said Sosa, in Spanish. “It’s so well known.”

As the runners made their way to the starting line at 8:30, Sosa and dozens of other spectators applauded and cheered.

“It’s so nice to be here,” Sosa said, smiling.

The para-athletes are off, and they’re making history — 8:50 a.m.

The para-athletes are off in Hopkinton.

They’re making history today — for the first time, prize money will be awarded to the top para-athlete finishers.

Boston is the first marathon to offer this prize money. More than $27,000 is available for finishers in all three divisions — vision impairment, lower-limb impairment, and upper-limb impairment.

Why this Air Force Major is running his first marathon — 8:49 a.m.

By Nate Weitzer

Kris Williams, a U.S Air Force Major stationed at Hanscom Air Base, is running his first Boston Marathon for Boston Children’s Hospital. Williams, who hails from Tacoma, Wash., said it’s always been a dream to run Boston and especially on behalf of the nationally-renowned hospital.

Williams and his wife have fostered over 30 kids with various medical needs while traveling around the country to service outposts. While serving as guest speaker at the Memorial Day celebration in Hopkinton, he met some locals who connected him with famous Marathon Farm, where runners typically gather for a pre-race party. This year, Williams was the only runner to spend the night at the country home due to COVID concerns.

The women’s elite field is underway — 8:45 a.m.

They’re off.

Meet the elite women’s field — 8:40 a.m.

The women’s field features nine sub-2:22:00 marathoners, including Ethiopia’s Yebrgual Melese, whose 2:19:36 personal best ranks fastest in the field. Melese will have some tough competition from fellow Ethiopian Mare Dibaba, the 2015 world champion and 2016 Olympic bronze medalist.

They will begin at 8:45 a.m.

Also running is 38-year-old Desiree Linden, the 2018 winner who became the first American woman to break the tape in 33 years. Linden is trying a gutsy attempt, running Boston and then planning to run New York City next month.

“I’m not fast any more,” she conceded. “But I’m tough.”

That’s why Linden loves Boston, whose lumpy course she’ll be running for the eighth time.

“It’s so gritty,” she said. “26.2 is supposed to be difficult and that’s what Boston is. It mimics the original marathon course where legend has it the guy dies at the end. You get on the Boston course and it still has that. It requires something a little bit extra. It’s refreshing to have that moment where you feel like you actually accomplished something difficult and that something was simplified so you could feel special.”

Read more from John Powers here.

See the full elite field here.

The elite men are on the course — 8:37 a.m.

The men's professional field.David L. Ryan/Globe Staff

And they’re off.

Meet the elite men’s field — 8:32 a.m.

Two-time men’s winner Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia, as well as countryman Asefa Mengstu, who has the fastest personal best in the field and the 23rd-fastest marathon ever at 2:04:06, will be running Monday.

Other former champions running include Japan’s Yuki Kawauchi, the 2018 winner, and and Kenya’s Geoffrey Kirui, who won in 2017 and took second to Kawauchi in 2018.

They will begin at 8:37 a.m.

See the full elite field here.

Marcel Hug under course record in men’s wheelchair — 8:31 a.m.

Hug is a four-time champion and holds the course record.

What it’s like at Boston Common — 8:30 a.m.

Runners are gathering at Boston Common to be bused to Hopkinton to start the race.

For Ethan Martin, 40, from Sequim, Washington, this year’s Boston Marathon means a little more than the others he’s ran. It is his first one since being diagnosed with cancer five years ago.

“I needed to commit to something to show myself that I can be a physical person again, so this is what I chose to do.”

Handcycle and duo racers begin — 8:30 a.m.

And with that, we have our first three divisions out on the course.

The men’s elite and women’s elite fields will begin their races at 8:37 a.m. and 8:45 a.m., respectively.

The Boston Marathon’s indigenous history — 8:20 a.m.

The 125th Boston Marathon is being run on Indigenous Peoples Day, a decision that prompted some activists to call on the B.A.A. to change the date when it was announced.

In a growing number of cities along the route — Newton, Wellesley, and Boston among them — officials are opting to recognize Native people in lieu of celebrating Columbus Day. The B.A.A. has planned a number of events to honor the legacy of Indigenous runners, like Ellison “Tarzan” Brown.

Ellison "Tarzan" Brown breaks the tape to win the 1936 Boston Marathon.Associated Press

Brown, Boston’s champion in 1936 and 1939, is part of Marathon lore. It was he who was caught the heavily favored Johnny Kelley during the ‘36 race around the Newton hills, prompting the Boston Globe to coin the term “Heartbreak Hill.”

Media reports from 1936 say Brown had established a commanding lead in the 26.2-mile (42.2-kilometer) race when Kelley caught him near the 20-mile (32-kilometer) mark in the Newton hills. Kelley, it’s said, gave Brown a patronizing pat on the back as if to say, “Nice try — I’ll take it from here.”

That backfired badly. Brown took off, leaving Kelley in his dust and breaking his heart.

“He ran like a bat out of hell,” The Boston Globe reported at the time.

Eighty-five years after his historic first win, Brown’s descendants cheered the recognition of their acclaimed ancestor.

“Running and winning the Boston Marathon was something grandpa loved,” said Anna Brown-Jackson, a granddaughter of Brown.

Running today’s race will be Deb Haaland, the secretary of the interior and the first Indigenous person to be named to the US cabinet.

She wrote about running for the Boston Globe.

“In the days of my ancestors, runners ran from house to house and village to village to spread news,” she wrote. “In the high desert, runners kept watch for spring floods, alerting villagers and sprinting to the fields to capture water for that year’s crops. Native American runners saved lives during the tragedies of colonization. Now, traditional foot races in our Pueblo villages honor those who were strong and fast. I run because my ancestors gave me this ability.”

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report

Defending champion Manuela Schär will look to repeat in the women’s race. She swept all six of the World Marathon Majors in 2019. She also owns the course record here in Boston.

Among the competitors is Daniel Romanchuk, the defending champion. In 2019, he became the first American man to win the wheelchair division since 1993.

The finish will come around 9:20 a.m.

The first athletes are queuing at the starting line with the men’s wheelchair division set to start at 8:02 a.m.

HOPKINTON — Ed Anderson, 58, from Needham, is one of the first runners to enter the town common, but this year, he had to walk two miles down closed roads to reach the starting area.

Anderson, who qualified for Boston and ran in 2016 and 2018, said his wife was able to drop him off at Hopkinton High School in previous years. This year, only the shuttles of racers from the finish near Copley Square have access to the high school, which is 0.7 miles from the start line.

Anderson said qualifying has become increasingly difficult in recent years, adding that his running partner in 2016 and 2018 originally qualified for Boston last April, but did not make the cut when the field was trimmed to 20,000 participants.

Runners hoping to get in needed to be 7 minutes and 47 seconds faster than the qualifying standard for their age group.

By Nate Weitzer

Hopkinton girls’ track and field coach Jean Can is working the information booth at the start line for the tenth straight marathon. For Can, who lives half a mile from the town common, the morning was a little quieter than usual, with fewer helicopter hovering overhead and a little less noise than a typical Patriots’ Day Marathon as she walked to the starting area.

“It didn’t really seem like [Boston] was going to happen - these things have kept getting put off - so it didn’t really seem real to me until last week when they started painting the starting line,” said Can, who is in her fifth year as head coach at Hopkinton High.

Several of her student-athletes are out on the race course serving as spotters for various news outlets.

There’s a light sprinkle coming down in downtown Boston, where media are staged.

As Dave Epstein notes: “The sun angle this time of the year is much lower than it would be if the race were run in April. To put it in perspective, the sun on Monday is similar to late February. This makes it much more difficult to get a sunburn — something that is a real possibility when the race is run on Patriots Day.”

An hour before the 125th Boston Marathon, the start line at the Hopkinton town common is conspicuously devoid of runners. Police, media, and race coordinators line the streets, awaiting the first shuttles of racers for the first rolling start in race history. — Nate Weitzer

By Michael Silverman

After the havoc wreaked by a virus that wiped out last year’s physical race, the resurrection of the famed marathon Oct. 11 represents something of a logistical, if not existential, miracle.

In addition to imposing strict vaccination, testing, and distancing requirements for a field that had to shrink by a third, organizers at the Boston Athletic Association confronted hurdles and oddities that simply never arise when the race is run on a typical Patriots Day in April.

Whether it was adjusting to two fewer hours of sunlight, facing the prospect of clearing heavy, wet leaves on the pavement, adjusting to shifting public health guidance, ensuring safe passage of elite runners from halfway across the globe, hiring a crowd scientist to help keep runners spatially distanced, or making sure portable toilets don’t wind up in any wedding party photos, BAA organizers have been on their toes for months.

“The word of the year is we’ve been very flexible,” said director of operations Lauren Proshan. “We have pivoted. We have done all the things we’ve had to do. We are doing things differently, but we are very comfortable with our policies.”

By Tonya Alanez

When Heather Garvie, a 28-year-old surgical nurse at Tufts Medical Center, first volunteered in the Marathon’s medical tents in 2019, she left with such a feeling of positivity that she couldn’t wait to return.

“I leave race day feeling really good about myself and my career,” Garvie said, “and how I was able to contribute to making this event happen and making it memorable for the runners.”

The 26.2-mile race stands as some people’s biggest accomplishment in life, she said. “Words can’t express how amazing that is to be a part of that for someone. We’re there to support them, and it’s amazing to see.”

It’s much-needed positivity for Garvie, now more than ever. She’ll be out there today.

There’s a big change to the general start of the 2021 Boston Marathon.

In the past, athletes gathered at the Athletes Village in Hopkinton ahead of their start. Runners were sent out in large waves, with folks jockeying for position as they began the race.

To minimize contact between competitors, the BAA has implemented a new rolling start system. Runners are gathering at Boston Common to take buses down to Hopkinton, and your start time depends on your bid number.

Once runners arrive at the start line, they’ll be encouraged to begin their race. Here’s the rundown of each start.

Today’s weather report — 6:15 a.m.

In Copley Square, it’s 60 degrees and a little breezy. Today’s high is 69, and there’s no rain in the forecast. Perfect weather conditions for a marathon.

This had been a concern in planning the first October marathon in the history of the historic race. As we all know, October weather can be hit or miss.

But so can that traditional third Monday in April. Desiree Linden, who became the first American woman to win the open field in 33 years when she triumphed in 2018, had to battle nasty conditions to cross the finish line first.

What time do the races start? — 6:00 a.m.

The races start an hour earlier this year. Here’s the rundown:

8:02 a.m.: Men’s wheelchair

8:05 a.m.: Women’s wheelchair

8:30 a.m.: Handcycles and duos

8:37 a.m.: Elite men

8:45 a.m.: Elite women

8:50 a.m.: Para athletics divisions

9 a.m.: Rolling start begins

Do you know someone running? Click here to see when their wave takes off.

Good morning! — 5:45 a.m.

Hello! It’s been more than 2-and-a-half years since the Boston Marathon was last run. That changes today.

We’ll be offering live updates from the finish line, the start line, and everywhere in between.

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Katie McInerney can be reached at Follow her @k8tmac.