Defending Men’s Wheelchair Division Champion Marcel Hug Withdraws From Boston Marathon

The 126th Boston Marathon is set to begin Monday with thousands of participants competing in the first large-scale Patriots Day race since 2019. Early Monday, the Boston Athletic Association announced that Marcel Hug of Switzerland and Sho Watanabe of Japan, withdrew from the race. Hug is the defending men’s wheelchair division champion, five-time Boston winner and course record holder, while Watanabe finished ninth in last year’s Boston Marathon. turn following the lead vehicle instead of turning from Commonwealth Avenue into Hereford Street. Nearly 30,000 people are registered for the 26.2 mile race which starts on Main Street in Hopkinton as it has done since 1924. It winds through Ashland, Framingham, Natick, Wellesley and Newton before finishing on Boylston Street in Boston. Race director Dave McGillivray sent a group of about 20 Massachusetts National Guard personnel who walk the course each year at 6 a.m., announcing the start in Hopkinton of the 126th Boston Marathon. He told them that “the return is greater than the setback”. The race begins at 9:02 a.m. with the men’s wheelchair division, which is followed by the women’s wheelchair division, the hand and duet bike participants and the men’s and women’s pros. The Para-Athletics Division starts at 9:50 a.m. Info: Road Closures | List of prohibited items Wave 1 of runners is scheduled to start at 10 a.m. and every 25 minutes another wave will begin ending with wave 4 at 11:15 a.m. The group of runners represents all 50 states and more than 120 countries. For some, coming back during Patriots Day is special. “It’s so hard to describe, you know. I mean, this city comes to life and everything works this weekend,” said Eric Blackwell of Michigan. “It’s very emotional. We were just at the Red Sox game and it hits you too, the national anthem and what the sport means to this town.” Tourism experts estimate that this year’s marathon is expected to bring in $200 million for businesses. Officials stressed there were no credible threats to the marathon, but security remains tight. The 2020 race was canceled due to the pandemic, the first cancellation since the event began in 1897, and the 2021 version was postponed, then held in October. It was the first fall edition of the marathon. The pitch was smaller for social distancing and the crowds were also smaller, but no less enthusiastic. The Boston Athletic Association is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the official women’s premier division, although the eight women who lined up alongside the men that year weren’t the first to run the race. Bobbi Gibb is recognized as the first woman to run Boston. She finished in 1966 among the unofficial runners known as bandits. A year later, Kathrine Switzer registered as “KV Switzer” and got an official bib. Race director Jock Semple tried to run her off the course. Nina Kuscsik’s victory in 1972 is celebrated this year. Five of the original eight women participate in the celebrations. Valerie Rogosheske, who finished sixth in the 1972 race, will race again this year, along with her daughters, and serve as the honorary starter for the women’s elite field. This year, the women’s field is one of the strongest ever. Reigning Olympic gold medalist Peres Jepchirchir, London and New York marathon winner Joyciline Jepkosgei and Ethiopian Degitu Azimeraw all have personal bests faster than Boston’s course record. Kenya’s Benson Kipruto won the men’s race in October and will be looking to defend his title. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

The 126th Boston Marathon is set to kick off Monday with thousands of participants taking part in the first large-scale Patriots’ Day race since 2019.

Early Monday, the Boston Athletic Association announced that Marcel Hug of Switzerland and Sho Watanabe of Japan have withdrawn from the race.

Hug is the defending men’s wheelchair division champion, five-time Boston winner and course record holder, while Watanabe finished ninth in the Boston Marathon last year.

Last year, Hug cost himself a $50,000 course record bounty when he missed the penultimate corner, following the lead vehicle instead of turning from Commonwealth Avenue onto Hereford Street.

Nearly 30,000 people are registered for the 26.2 mile race which starts on Main Street in Hopkinton as it has done since 1924. It winds through Ashland, Framingham, Natick, Wellesley and Newton before finishing on Boylston Street in Boston.

Race director Dave McGillivray sent a group of about 20 Massachusetts National Guard personnel who walk the course each year at 6 a.m., announcing the start in Hopkinton of the 126th Boston Marathon. He told them that “the return is greater than the setback”.

The race begins at 9:02 a.m. with the men’s wheelchair division, which is followed by the women’s wheelchair division, the hand and duet bike participants and the men’s and women’s pros. The para-athletics division starts at 9:50 a.m.

Info: Roads closed | List of prohibited items

Wave 1 of runners is scheduled to start at 10 a.m. and every 25 minutes another wave will start ending with wave 4 at 11:15 a.m.

The field of runners represents all 50 states and more than 120 countries.

For some, going back to class on Patriots Day is special.

“It’s so hard to describe, you know. I mean, this city comes to life and everything works this weekend,” said Eric Blackwell of Michigan. “It’s very emotional. We were just at the Red Sox game and it touches you too, the national anthem and what the sport means to this city.”

Tourism experts estimate that this year’s marathon is expected to bring in $200 million for businesses.

Officials stressed there were no credible threats to the marathon, but security remains tight.

The 2020 race was canceled due to the pandemic, the first cancellation since the event began in 1897, and the 2021 version was postponed, then held in October. It was the first fall edition of the marathon. The field was smaller for social distancing and the crowds were also smaller, but no less enthusiastic.

The Boston Athletic Association celebrates the 50th anniversary of the official women’s premier division, although the eight women who lined up alongside the men that year were not the first to run the race.

Bobbi Gibb is recognized as the first woman to lead Boston. She finished in 1966 among the unofficial runners known as bandits. A year later, Kathrine Switzer registered as “KV Switzer” and got an official bib. Race director Jock Semple tried to run her off the course.

Nina Kuscsik’s victory in 1972 is celebrated this year. Five of the original eight women participate in the celebrations. Valerie Rogosheske, who finished sixth in the 1972 race, will race again this year, along with her daughters, and will serve as the honorary starter for the women’s elite field.

This year, the women’s field is one of the strongest ever. Reigning Olympic gold medalist Peres Jepchirchir, London and New York marathon winner Joyciline Jepkosgei and Ethiopian Degitu Azimeraw all have personal bests faster than Boston’s course record.

Kenya’s Benson Kipruto won the men’s race in October and will be looking to defend his title.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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