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Countdown to Boston: 10 Fun Facts!

Photo by Kara Deschenes, taken from 2012 Boston Marathon Start Line

With only 7 days left until the 2013 Boston Marathon, it’s time to floss your knowledge with some fun facts to impress your marathoning friends!

- The Boston Marathon is iconic for a reason – it’s both the oldest (dating back to 1887) and the fastest (median time of 3:44) marathon in the country.

-Approximately 500,000 spectators line the marathon’s course each year – that’s 80 percent of Boston’s population!

- Women were officially excluded from the race until 1972. Kathrine Swtizer famously entered as “KV Switzer” in 1967 and was nearly stopped by official Jock Semple. Our swift sister dodged his grabby hands and ran on to cross the finish in 4 hours and 20 minutes.

-It takes a village! From water-stop duties to Porta-Potty patrol, more than 8,000 volunteers are on hand to ensure a seamless event.

- As the final finishers run through the line, race diretor Dave McGillivray heads back to Hopkinton to run the 26.2-mile course in memory of his grandfather, as he’s done for 39 straight years.

-The oldest baseball stadium in the world, Fenway Park gets in on the tradition every year with a Marathon Monday home game. After the game, Red Sox fans (and players!) stream out into Kenmore Square to cheer.

- Runners must be 18 years old to enter the marathon, but there are no upper age limits. Last year, Maddona Buder finished in 5:38 at the age of 81!

-The loudest cheers on the course echo from Wellesley College’s campus. The all-girls school shows up in force, with coeds lining the streets in what runners affectionately call the “Scream Tunnel.” Hollers can be heard from hundreds of yards away – but runners have to get close to make good on the dozens of “Kiss me!” signs.

-Aside from the traditional olive wreath made from leaves picked in Greece, the first-place winner snags a prize purse of $150,000 – and an additional $25,000 is she sets the course record. Not too shabby for a few hours of work!

-Women’s Running magazine’s own editor-in-chief, Jessie Sebor, and contributing editors, Kara Deschenes and Allison Patillo, will head to Beantown to run the 2013 race. Follow their progress on Marathon Monday (4/15/13) by following @WomensRunning on Twitter!

Are you headed to Boston as a runner or cheerleader? If so, we want to know! Tweet @JessieSebor and @KaraDeschenes and let them know you’re Boston bound for an opportunity to be part of a Women’s Running meet-up! 

*For all 26.2 fun facts about the Boston Marathon, make sure you pick up the April edition of Women’s Running magazine – on newsstands now or subscribe here!