Sunday Scroll: It’s a marathon, not a sprint

Wicked awesome ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌
Sunday Scroll
From The GIST Team

Lace ’em up!

Welcome to The GIST’s Sunday Scroll, where we dive deep into one timely sports topic.

Tomorrow marks the 128th running of the prestigious and historic Boston Marathon, so today’s Scroll has everything you need to know before runners take the starting line for their 26.2-mile journey. On your mark, get set…

Quote of The Day
Quote If you’re losing faith in human nature, go out and watch a marathon.
Kathrine Switzer waving to the crowd at the 2022 Boston Marathon

Friend of the GIST Kathrine Switzer, who blazed a trail in 1967 by becoming the first woman to officially run the Boston Marathon. Advice worth taking.

The Scroll

✅ The details

A worker spray paints details on the start line of the 127th Boston Marathon
Source: Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff

Established in 1897, Boston is the world’s oldest annual marathon and one of six World Marathon Majors. Save a two-year stretch during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s traditionally held on the third Monday in April, which is known as Patriots’ Day in the Commonwealth.

  • The inaugural 1897 marathon featured just 15 runners, a number that has since ballooned to approximately 30K per year and includes both pro and amateur competitors.
  • As for spectators, over 500K folks line the route to cheer runners on each year, making the race New England’s most widely viewed sporting event. Loud and proud.

💃 The history

Race director Jock Semple attempting to pull Kathrine Switzer out of the Boston Marathon
Source: Getty Images

Boston’s the world’s oldest marathon, but it wasn’t until 1972 — 75 years after the inaugural race — that women were officially allowed to enter. Women were “not physiologically able to run a marathon,” after all. *eye roll*

Thankfully, two brave women bucked those rules. In 1966, Roberta “Bobbi” Gibb became the first woman to (unofficially) complete the course.

  • Gibb arrived at the start line undercover, donning her brother’s Bermuda shorts, and hid in the bushes before joining in after the men had already taken off. She finished in a speedy 3:21:40, ahead of two-thirds of the male competitors.

Gibb’s run paved the way for the aforementioned Switzer, who was the first woman to run as a registered competitor, albeit under the non-gendered name K.V. Switzer. Though race manager Jock Semple infamously accosted Switzer during the race, she prevailed, finishing in 4:20 and going on to dedicate herself to helping female athletes who had been denied opportunities for far too long.

  • Switzer later won the NYC Marathon in 1974 and posted a personal best of 2:51:37 at Boston in 1975. Not bad for a “fragile” woman.

👟 The course

Boston Marathon runners approaching the famed Citgo Sign around Mile 25
Source: David Madison/Getty Images

From unpredictable New England weather conditions to steep hills, the Boston course poses a unique challenge for runners as they traverse through eight Massachusetts cities and towns. Here are a few of the key points to watch:

Hopkinton: Where it all begins. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the famed race starting in the small Massachusetts town, an honor that’s a serious point of pride for the community. Runners hang out and try to dispel their pre-race jitters while waiting in the Athletes’ Village hosted at Hopkinton High School before making their way to the start line by the town common.

Wellesley College: Nearly halfway through the race at Mile 12, runners receive a boost from cheering students at Wellesley College (an all-women’s school) and their “Scream Tunnel,” a tradition that took off in the 1970s after women were permitted to compete.

  • Thousands of students line the course each year and cheer so loudly that runners say they can hear them from a mile away. Woop woop.

Heartbreak Hill: Located between Miles 20 and 21, Heartbreak Hill isn’t the steepest of inclines (it rises 88 feet), but does come at a mentally and physically challenging time late in the race. It’s also the last of the four infamous “Newton Hills” that all come within a five-mile stretch, further straining already tired muscles.

Kenmore Square: The home stretch. Once runners see the famed Boston Citgo sign around Mile 25, they know the finish line is just around the corner. The sign is such a welcome and monumental sight that one runner likened it to “pulling into your parent’s yard, or coming home for the holidays.” BRB, crying.

Together With The GIST

🤓 The buck stops here

The GIST job board
Source: The GIST

The GIST: Hunting for a new job? The GIST’s job board is your one-stop shop for the best open gigs in sports. Submit those apps to GIST-approved opportunities and still have time to enjoy the spring weather.

The details: If you’ve ever dreamed of working in sports, this is the resource for you. Our job board features roles in every discipline across the industry: Marketing? Check. Finance? Check. There’s truly something for everyone.

The application: Inviting more women and nonbinary folks into the industry is a surefire way to help level the playing field. Check out our job board today.

💪 The contenders

Helen Obiri crossing the finish line to win the 127th Boston Marathon
Source: Erica Denhoff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Olympians, world-record breakers, former Boston champs, this year’s elite lineup has everything, including the fastest women’s field in Boston Marathon history. Here are a few elites to keep an eye on tomorrow:

🇰🇪 Hellen Obiri, Kenya: Obiri’s back to defend her title after cruising Boston’s hills to a personal best in 2023, a breakout year also saw her win the TCS New York City Marathon in November. No doubt she’ll put her best foot forward in the Hub, especially as she eyes the upcoming Paris 2024 Olympics.

🇺🇸 Desiree Linden, United States: In 2018, Linden gutted out one of the most memorable performances in Boston Marathon history, powering through rainy conditions to become the first American woman to win it all since 1985. Now her and Sara Hall — who narrowly missed the U.S. Olympic marathon team — are Team USA’s best chances to return to the Boston podium.

🇪🇹 Worknesh Degefa, Ethiopia: Degefa’s plenty familiar with Boston having won the 2019 edition in absolutely dominant fashion, leading for the last 22 miles of the race. Plus, she’s fresh off a big victory at the Valencia Marathon in December, where she posted a personal best 2:15:51 time.

🇰🇪 Evans Chebet, Kenya: It’s tough to bet against the two-time defending men’s champ Chebet, who hasn’t lost a marathon race since 2021. Chebet’s course experience might just power him to the exclusive three-peat, a feat only four men have completed since 1897.

🇪🇹 Sisay Lemma, Ethiopia: Not only does Lemma own the fastest time in the field, he just won Valencia with a scorching time of 2:01:48 (a course record), making him the fourth-fastest man in history. Blink and you’ll miss him.

🇹🇿 Gabriel Geay, Tanzania: The 2023 runner-up also impressed in Valencia, posting a 2:04:33 finish. We already know he can go toe-to-toe with Chebet after the duo jockeyed during last year’s finish, but does he have enough to race into first place this time around?

🔢 Boston by the numbers

Runners begin the race at the start line in Hopkinton
Source: Boston Athletic Association

15: As in April 15th, the day the city designated as “One Boston Day” to honor the city’s strength and resilience in the wake of the horrific 2013 marathon bombing. Wicked strong.

110: The number of Americans (women and men) who have won the Boston Marathon, the most of any nation. Canada’s third on the list with 21 winners.

450: The feet of elevation that’s lost over the 26.2-mile race. While known for its heartbreaking inclines, the most devastating aspect of the course might actually be the downhills. Quads, beware.

$1,137,500: The total prize money that will be dished out this year, a more than $250K increase from last year.

10,000: The estimated number of volunteers who assist during marathon weekend. It takes a village.

The GIST's Picks

Here’s what passed The GIST squad’s vibe check this week:

❤️ What to support

Girls on the Run (GOTR), a nonprofit dedicated to empowering girls through running and other programming. Our associate managing editor Lauren Tuiskula is fundraising for GOTR and will be running as a member of their charity team tomorrow.

👀 Who to look out for

Legendary NFLer Rob Gronkowski, who will serve as the Grand Marshal for this year’s marathon. Gronk spike, loading?

📚 What to read

This article about Spark Change, a program that uses running as a tool for community building and empowerment and is helping women from the U.S. to Kenya to Ethiopia to Iraq. So inspiring.

🏃 How to improve your race pace

With the Six Minute Mile’s free, twice-weekly newsletter. Get inspired by the latest running and fitness stories to achieve your health goals this year. It’s a run-derful life after all.

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