The Boston Marathon Returns After a Lost Year

, The Boston Marathon Returns After a Lost Year, The Habari News New York

Women’s Wheelchair Start

, The Boston Marathon Returns After a Lost Year, The Habari News New York

Oct. 11, 2021, 8:04 a.m. ET

Oct. 11, 2021, 8:04 a.m. ET

Marathoners are making their way through Boston Public Gardens to get onto the buses that will bring them to the starting line in. Among them is Mandar Ananda, 43, who is running in his first in-person Boston Marathon after it was canceled last year. “I’m a little nervous and anxious — I never ran a race this big.”

Men’s Wheelchair Start

, The Boston Marathon Returns After a Lost Year, The Habari News New York

Oct. 11, 2021, 8:01 a.m. ET

Oct. 11, 2021, 8:01 a.m. ET

Credit…Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

After waiting nearly two years for America’s three major marathons to return, runners and fans alike were greeted with back-to-back spectacles, with Chicago leading the way on Sunday and Boston picking up the pace on Monday.

The Chicago marathon was a smaller-scale version of what is among the six largest marathons in the world — but one that still lived up to its reputation as being one of the fastest.

Some 33,000 runners started and finished the race in Grant Park under humid conditions, with temperatures reaching well into the 70s. Ruth Chepngetich of Kenya was on pace to break the world record before settling for a dominant win, finishing in 2 hours 22:31 minutes. Seifi Tura of Ethiopia won the men’s race in 2 hours 06:12 minutes. Both are solid times given the uncomfortable conditions.

It was also a fairly impressive day for the Americans. Emma Bates and Sara Hall finished in second and third place among the women, and Galen Rupp finished second among the men.

As is often the case in big city races though, much of the attention fell to the more than 30,000 participants and the tens of thousands of people who watched them, giving the country a glimpse of what things used to look like.

Chepngetich clearly has a talent for winning in warmer weather. She won the marathon at the world championships in Doha in 2019. That race had to be run at night to avoid the most severe temperatures, but still only 40 of the 68 runners finished the race in the 90-degree heat.

Boston should provide a little more comfort Monday, although temperatures will be in the high 60s and runners will be headed into a 10 mile-per-hour wind from the northeast.

, The Boston Marathon Returns After a Lost Year, The Habari News New York

Oct. 11, 2021, 7:55 a.m. ET

Oct. 11, 2021, 7:55 a.m. ET

It’s a gray, damp and cool morning here in Boston. Some marathoners are wearing black plastic garbage bags or ponchos as they make their way to the bus, though the drizzling has stopped. Others are in tanks and shorts.

, The Boston Marathon Returns After a Lost Year, The Habari News New York

Oct. 11, 2021, 7:53 a.m. ET

Oct. 11, 2021, 7:53 a.m. ET

Credit…Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

For most of the 20th century, the citizenry of Greater Boston could count on two things: The Boston Marathon took place in the spring, on Patriots’ Day, and the Red Sox broke everyone’s hearts in the fall.

But the Red Sox have won the World Series four times since 2004. And earlier this year, when Americans were struggling through some of the worst weeks of the pandemic and just beginning to get vaccinated, organizers moved the marathon from its traditional date on the third Monday in April to October, figuring that life might be back to something approaching normal by now and that staging a large event might not be quite so dangerous.

Indeed, Massachusetts has one of the highest vaccination rates in the country, with 78 percent of residents over age 12 fully vaccinated.

The organizers had plenty of company. The two other major spring marathons, in Tokyo and London, also shifted to the fall. Organizers in Tokyo recently postponed the in-person version of their race again, but all the shifting created a glut of major marathons in the fall.

For their part, the Red Sox are scheduled to play at night — against the Tampa Bay Rays in their American League division series — rather than starting at 11 a.m. as they usually do on Patriots’ Day. Sadly, that means no Sam Adams party at Fenway for runners after the race.

, The Boston Marathon Returns After a Lost Year, The Habari News New York

, The Boston Marathon Returns After a Lost Year, The Habari News New York

Oct. 11, 2021, 7:46 a.m. ET

Oct. 11, 2021, 7:46 a.m. ET

Credit…Allison Dinner for The New York Times

This year’s Boston Marathon is much different than the event people have gotten used to.

To reduce overcrowding, organizers cut the size of the field to roughly 20,000 runners from the usual 30,000, which made qualifying for the race extremely difficult. Boston is the only major marathon that requires all participants who are not running for a charity to meet a standard, age-adjusted time.

The race was oversubscribed by more than 9,200 qualifiers, and with the field reduced by roughly one-third, runners had to beat the qualifying standard for their age group by 7 minutes 47 seconds to get into the race, since Boston accepts runners from fastest to slowest. That’s nearly three minutes faster than the previous record for the cutoff.

Instead of starting runners in multiple waves, organizers have set up a rolling start for everyone not in an elite competitive division. There will be no waiting around for hours at Hopkinton High School. It’s get off the bus and start running when you’re ready.

Runners need to be vaccinated or test negative for the coronavirus within 72 hours of the race. No one has to run with a mask, but runners have to wear them on the bus to the starting line and when they finish.

The biggest difference this year may be what unfolds on the sidelines. For the Boston region, the Patriots’ Day version of the marathon in April is usually a 26-mile party on a day when Massachusetts gives itself a hall pass from regular life.

There’s a lot of beer and plenty of barbecues on the lawns and sidewalks beside the racecourse, especially in the last 10 miles. Will those gatherings be as big and loud and boisterous during a pandemic as they were before it? If they are, at least a lot of them will be outside.

, The Boston Marathon Returns After a Lost Year, The Habari News New York

Oct. 11, 2021, 7:12 a.m. ET

Oct. 11, 2021, 7:12 a.m. ET

Credit…Ryan Mcbride/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The world’s biggest marathons were early casualties of the coronavirus pandemic, and they were some of the last vestiges of prepandemic life to return.

In the last 15 days, however, they have come back in force. Berlin in late September, London last weekend, Chicago on Sunday. Tens of thousands of runners trotted through the streets and thousands more cheered them on, celebrating a return to something approaching normalcy.

Now comes the oldest and grandest marathon of all: Boston, which until the pandemic had been run in April of every year since 1897. Organizers last year first postponed the race to the fall, then canceled the in-person event altogether for the first time in its 124-year history.

Monday’s version will be smaller, and have some different details, but once more Boston is set to hold a 26.2-mile celebration of running and itself like no other city does, beginning early Monday morning and running right into the start of the Red Sox playoff game at a packed Fenway Park, a little more than a mile from the finish line, Monday night.

It doesn’t get much more Boston than that. For one day at least, and especially for 20,000 marathoners, life might actually feel almost normal.

, The Boston Marathon Returns After a Lost Year, The Habari News New York

Oct. 11, 2021, 7:03 a.m. ET

Oct. 11, 2021, 7:03 a.m. ET

Credit…Steven Senne/Associated Press

After being delayed by 18 months because of the pandemic, the Boston Marathon is back this year, marking its 125th anniversary.

The race will be broadcast on NBC Sports Network and Peacock, NBC’s streaming platform, starting at 7:30 a.m. Eastern on Monday. The races will also stream live on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app.

NBC Sports’s Paul Swangard will be calling the race, with additional analysis from two-time Olympian Kara Goucher and seven-time Paralympian Chris Waddell.

CBS Boston’s WBZ-TV, a local news station, will also carry the race beginning at 7 a.m. Eastern on Monday, featuring news and athlete interviews.

For those who miss the earlier coverage, the Boston Marathon will be rebroadcast on myTV38 and on NBC’s Olympic Channel at 8 p.m. on Monday night.