The Boston Marathon was already scheduled to make history when it was moved from the spring to the fall earlier this year, but organizers now say it will make history in more than one way.
The Boston Athletic Association announced Wednesday that the city's 125th marathon will for the first time offer $50,000 course record bonuses for the open and wheelchair divisions, and it will provide designated prize purses for athletes with upper limb, lower limb, and visual impairments.
“We are delighted to welcome so many champions from such a diverse range of competition back to Boston for the 125th running of the Boston Marathon,” Tom Grilk, BAA president and chief executive officer, said in a statement. “While October’s race marks a long-awaited return to racing, it will also recognize and celebrate the many world-class athletes competing for an historic prize purse across multiple divisions.”
Also, 13 previous champions with a combined 30 first-place Boston finishes will return to headline the John Hancock Professional Athlete Team for the Oct. 11 marathon, the BAA said. That roster includes 2018 winner of the women's race American Desiree Linden, 2017 winner of the men's race Kenyan Geoffrey Kirui and 2016 men's winner remembered for skipping down Boylston Street to the finish line Ethiopian Lemi Berhanu.
“I can't wait to line up in this year's historic fall edition of the Boston Marathon,” Linden said. “Experience goes a long way in Boston and lining up with so many great champions, who have proven they know how to win on this course, will be an extra challenge on race day. I'm training hard and more motivated than ever to be ready to put together a memorable performance this October.”
The marathon, traditionally held on the third Monday of April, was postponed to the fall due to the coronavirus pandemic. While the BAA will still hold virtual events in the days leading up to the marathon, the association says it expects some 200,000 spectators to attend the in-person event.
Last year, the marathon went completely virtual due to the pandemic. It was the first time in the famed race's long history that it had been called off.
The BAA has already announced that the 2022 Boston Marathon will be held in-person in April.