Boston Marathon

Here’s what viewers can expect when tuning in to Monday’s Boston Marathon

WCVB news director Margaret Cronan said the remembrances and reflections on the 2013 Marathon will take place primarily in the prerace coverage.

Lane Turner/Globe Staff
WCVB, which takes over exclusive local broadcast rights of the Marathon this year from WBZ (Channel 4), has a comprehensive day of coverage planned.

John Anderson is probably best known to ESPN viewers as the good-natured and wry “SportsCenter” anchor, a role he has held since 1999. But among his colleagues at ESPN, he’s known for something else: being perhaps the biggest track and field and marathon aficionado on staff.

So when ESPN (and WCVB, or Channel 5, locally) landed the broadcast rights to the Boston Marathon last June, Anderson — a Green Bay, Wis., native who was a high jumper and team captain for the University of Missouri track team — let the powers that decide such matters know that he would love to be involved in the race’s coverage in some way.


“I did the same thing when I found out we had Boston as I did when we found out we got the broadcast rights to the New York Marathon,” said Anderson. “I called the people that I know to be in charge from our side, and I said, ‘I will do anything that you would have me do to help cover this race. If that is riding on the back of the motorcycle, if that is looping cable, anything you need, I’m in.’ I’m a fan and I know where Boston’s place is in the sport and it is a place that I wanted to be.”

His request paid off. Anderson will be more than just a bystander or contributor Monday. He has arguably the most important role, calling the race for ESPN during its collaboration on the broadcast with WCVB.

He’s not new to this — he called the New York City Marathon for the network last November — but he is nonetheless grateful to have the chance to call the iconic Boston race, which he has attended just one time.

“I like to think that people like me and I’m good at this, but I also know that the line’s not terribly long at ESPN [to call a marathon],” he said. “More people would rather go to the Masters, or the NBA Finals, than this.


“So I benefit from that, no doubt. I feel like maybe if, oh, Sean McDonough really wanted to go and said, ‘Listen, I’m from Boston and I’m going to call the Marathon,’ I might be shut out. But in this case he’s busy with the NHL, and I benefit from that. And I did lobby very hard.”

This year’s race carries extra magnitude for a couple of reasons, one somber and one eagerly anticipated. It is the 10th anniversary, of course, of the Marathon bombings. And it is the Boston debut of world record-holder Eliud Kipchoge, who is seeking to set a course record in all six World Marathon Majors. He owns three of them.

WCVB, which takes over exclusive local rights this year from WBZ (Channel 4), has a comprehensive day of coverage planned, beginning at 4 a.m. when its “EyeOpener” newscast, featuring anchors Antoinette Antonio and Doug Meehan, chief meteorologist Cindy Fitzgibbon, and traffic specialist Katie Thompson, originates from Hopkinton. Rhondella Richardson and Jennifer Eagan will cover prerace action from Copley Square. Coverage continues all day through a special edition of “Chronicle” starting at 7:30 p.m.

WCVB news director Margaret Cronan said the remembrances and reflections on the 2013 Marathon will take place primarily in the prerace coverage.


“That’s where the commemoration of the 10 years will be marked,” she said. “We’ll look back at that in the ‘EyeOpener.’ Once we hit 8:30 a.m., when the national broadcast begins, we’re going to do pretty much a race preview for that half-hour. We’ll transition into a focus on the race itself, because, yes, the nation will want to mark that 10 years with us, but that’s also when we want to kick it into high gear and begin emphasizing the deep field and Kipchoge’s presence.”

Cronan said that in that 8:30-9 a.m. prerace window, anchors Maria Stephanos and Ed Harding will take viewers through an animated map touching on some of the areas and landmarks of the race. They will also then begin checking in with reporters deployed at points on the course.

Sports anchor Duke Castiglione will be situated at the finish line along with ESPN’s Sage Steele. Castiglione said he is particularly interested to watch Kipchoge, whose confidence impressed him when he interviewed him several months ago.

“This guy has won 15 of the last 17 marathons he’s entered, and there’s a lot of anticipation about him being here,” said Castiglione. “You can’t wait to see him. He’s a superstar, he’s charismatic, he got ‘it.’ He reminds me of superstars in other sports. There’s just something different.

“He told us, point blank without us ever asking it, ‘I’m here to win and set a record if possible.’ It wasn’t arrogant. He said it with the utmost confidence and grace, just matter-of-factly, ‘This is what I’m here to do.’ I cannot wait to find out if he can do it. It’s going to be a fascinating day.”



This discussion has ended. Please join elsewhere on