The annual race continues to grow in participation and popularity.
The history of the Boston Marathon is incredible. Over 114 years ago, the race started as a local running event with only 18 entries. Fast-forward to now and it is one of the largest marathons in the world with 20,000 participants and 500,000 spectators.
The race has also served as a window into current social issues. One example was pointed out in the book “Going the Distance” by co-authors Richard A. Johnson and Robert Hamilton Johnson. During the Korean War, South Korean athletes who wanted to take part in the 1950 edition of the Boston Marathon were rumored to have been given temporary draft deferments in order for them to train for the marathon. With the U.S. in the middle of the war, this angered Walter A. Brown, President of the B.A.A (Boston Athletic Association) who refused entry to the athletes.
“While Americans soldiers are fighting and dying in Korea, every Korean should be fighting to protect his country instead of training for marathons. As long as the war continues there, we positively will not accept Korean entries for our race on April 19,” he said.
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