10 Patriots’ Day and Boston Marathon Facts
Although it’s not officially a holiday in the majority of the country, Patriots’ Day is a great day to celebrate the United States. No matter where you live in America, read these 10 quick facts on Patriots’ Day and the Boston Marathon to remember the freedoms we’re blessed to have in our country.
1. Patriots’ Day celebrates the Battles of Lexington and Concord fought on April 19, 1775, during the Revolutionary War. Today, the holiday is observed each year on the third Monday in April because Americans love three-day weekends.
2. The holiday is only officially recognized in the states of Massachusetts, Wisconsin, and Maine. Maine was part of Massachusetts until 1820.
3. In his poem “Concord Hymn,” Ralph Waldo Emerson called the gunfire at Concord’s North Bridge the “shot heard round the world.” Ironically, Concord means “peace and harmony.”
4. In Massachusetts, Patriots’ Day replaced Fast Day, which was a common religious day of fasting and prayer in the early days of the colonies. New Hampshire was the last state to have Fast Day as a legal holiday. The Granite State didn’t abolish Fast Day until 1991, when it was replaced by Civil Rights Day (Martin Luther King Jr. Day).
5. The longest running long run, the Boston Marathon started in 1897. Like the fabled run of a Greek soldier to Athens to announce victory in the Battle of Marathon, the Boston Marathon was deemed as the perfect symbol to commemorate the American victory over the British.
6. To compete in the Boston Marathon, a male runner between the ages of 18-34 must have a qualifying time under 3 hours and 5 minutes. Women in the same age group need a time under 3 hours and 35 minutes.
7. Geoffrey Mutai holds the record for the fastest finish in the Boston Marathon. In 2011, the Kenyan completed the race in just 2 hours, 3 minutes, and 3 seconds. That’s the equivalent of an average running speed of 12.78 mph!
8. Each year, approximately 30,000 runners complete the course, which runs 26 miles and 385 yards from Main Street in the rural town of Hopkinton to Copley Square on Boylston Street.
9. 2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the first woman to run the Boston Marathon as a numbered entry. Registering under the ambiguous forename K.V., Kathrine Switzer was nearly grabbed by a race official during the run. The number 261 on her racing bib has become a symbol representing gender equality.
10. The Boston Red Sox have played at home every Patriots’ Day since 1959. The early start time of 11:05 a.m., the earliest first pitch of the Major League Baseball season, was intended to allow fans to see the runners begin their final mile at Kenmore Square.