The 118th Boston Marathon is under way. Here are 10 things you might not know about today’s event:
1) Although 83 percent of runners are from the US, 95 countries are represented in the field. The US has 29,482 entries. Canada is second, with 2,485 runners, followed by the United Kingdom with 508.
2) Boston has 1,914 runners in today’s field, not surprisingly more than any other city. Second place New York City has 772, followed by Chicago at 346. Cambridge, Mass., is fourth at 323, and Toronto fifth at 266. London sent 97 runners, most of any city outside of North America, followed by Tokyo, Seoul, and Dublin.
3) This year’s field includes runners from all 50 US states and all the Canadian provinces and territories except Nunavut. Massachusetts leads with 8,088 entries. California is next, with 2,625 entries, followed by New York (1,775), Texas (1,142), Pennsylvania (1,132), and Illinois (1,027). Ontario has 1,175 entries.
4) Marathon officials announced the official entrant count: 35,755 total competitors – 19,648 men and 16,107 women. This year’s field is the second biggest ever, surpassed only by the 100th running in 1996, which had 38,708.
5) One of the last entries added to the field is well known to Boston sports fans. Doug Flutie tweeted Saturday that he “woke up today and decided to run the Boston Marathon.’’ The former Boston College and New England Patriots star, and Heisman Trophy winner, will run in support of the Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism. The course passes through his hometown of Natick for four miles late in the first half of the race. Flutie, now 51, lives in Melbourne Beach, Fla., and will be wearing bib 25,500.
6) For the first time, the average age of female runners has hit 40. Men are an average of 45 years old.
7) In a normal year, the marathon attracts more media coverage than any one-day sporting event in the US other than the Super Bowl, issuing 1,500 credentials to 250 outlets. Given the tragic events of last year, interest in today’s race is intense: 1,800 credentials have been issued to 300 media organizations.
8) Boston was the first major marathon to include a wheelchair division. That was in 1975. Bob Hall of Massachusetts was the first officially recognized wheelchair participant. This year’s wheelchair racers are assembling at the start. They will get the starting gun in 17 minutes, at 9:17 a.m.
9) One hundred and forty Boston EMS personnel will be located along the Boston portion of the race route on bicycles, utility vehicles, foot patrol, and in medical tents, in addition to the crews covering the rest of the City.
10) Security is higher than ever. Over 100 cameras have been installed along the Boston portion of the Marathon route, and upwards of 50 observation points will be set up around the finish line area in the Back Bay to monitor the crowd.