What is the legacy of the Boston Marathon? Why do we celebrate Patriots’ Day in Massachusetts (not to be confused with the U.S. Holiday Patriot* Day in September to remember the heroes of 9/11)? This blog is a tribute to the pride and love of the residents of Boston and surrounding suburbs like our Watertown.
Annual Holiday & Official Race Day?
How did the Boston Marathon and the third Sunday of April officially become a state-wide holiday and Marathon race day? Historically, from 1897-1968, the Boston Marathon race was held on Patriots’ Day, April 19, a holiday commemorating the start of the Revolutionary War and recognized only in Massachusetts and Maine. Occasionally, if the 19th fell on a Sunday, the race would still be held on the following Monday, the 20th. To maintain consistency, in the year 1969, the holiday was officially moved to the third Monday in April. Since then, the race has traditionally been held on the third Monday in April.
Competitive & Inclusive
Marathon runners are some of the most elite in the country. And for a long time, the demographic of racers was exclusively male. Today, there are all genders (The first woman, Roberta “Bobbi” Gibb, joined in boldly in 1966, and all women were officially invited to race in 1972.) those with disabilities (the first wheelchair division was in 1975), and runners from a variety of backgrounds, all coming together to represent the city of Boston and a truly amazing athletic feat.
A Dark Day
In 2013, two domestic terrorists detonated lethal bombs at the race’s end, killing three individuals and wounding over two hundred. The city underwent a historic manhunt event and apprehended both killers. Every year a #bostonstrong remembrance event honors those who were lost and wounded that fateful day.
Legacy: #BostonStrongER Than Ever
In true Boston fashion, the community rose up and gathered around those affected; the community also aspired to return to planning for the following year’s race. This event preceded stronger security protocols than ever leading up to and on Marathon Monday.
Today, Patriot’s Day and “Marathon Monday” remains beloved day in Massachusetts to celebrate those who fought in the revolutionary war for our freedom, enjoy a day off of work, admire the athletic feats of the marathon runners, and look forward to another lovely Spring and Summer season. Not many would argue there are fewer more beautiful places than New England this time of year.
For more information about the history of the Boston Marathon, how to register, and more, check out the official page for the B.A.A. (Boston Athletic Association).