BOSTON — The Boston Marathon includes 26.2 miles, 34 elite athletes, 30,000 runners, 87 countries, 1 million spectators and $830,500 in prize money.
Oh, and 150 pounds of petroleum jelly, 992 portable toilets, 108,000 safety pins, 28,200 bananas, 33,984 fruit cups, 35,000 gallons of water and 1.4 million paper cups.
Here's a by-the-numbers look at Monday's 119th running of the Boston Marathon:
The route covers 26 miles, 385 yards, starting on Main Street in Hopkinton and finishing on Boylston Street in downtown Boston. In between, it winds through six other cities and towns: Ashland, Framingham, Natick, Wellesley, Newton and Brookline. Despite the challenge posed by the notorious Newton hills — best known by the final rise, Heartbreak Hill, at roughly the 20.5 mile mark — it's a net downhill course. It's nowhere near easy. But because there's a total drop in elevation of 459 feet from start to finish, and it's a point-to-point route rather than a loop that would even out the effects of any tail wind, any records set here aren't recognized.
Thirty-four of the planet's fleetest of foot — 20 men and 14 women from the United States and eight other countries — are in the hunt. It's fast company: The top 10 men have run under 2:06:22; the top 10 women under 2:23:22. This year's field includes five past Boston champions: American Meb Keflezighi (2014); Ethiopia's Lelisa Desisa (2013); and Kenyans Wesley Korir (2012); Sharon Cherop (2012); and Caroline Kilel (2011.) Other men to watch: Wilson Chebet of Kenya, last year's runner-up; and top Americans Dathan Ritzenhein and Matt Tegenkamp. Among the women: Shalane Flanagan, America's best chance for a victor's wreath in three decades.
THE ALSO RANS
This year's field is capped at 30,000 — fewer than the 35,671 who started last year's first post-bombings edition, but more than the 26,655 who were in the 2013 field when terrorists struck, killing three spectators and wounding more than 260 others. The Boston with the most entrants was the 1996 centennial race, which drew 38,708 — the smallest field was 1899, when 17 ran. Women are making up a lot of ground: Last year's finishers included 14,344 women and 17,582 men. Unsurprisingly, Massachusetts is the state with the greatest number of participants, followed by California, New York, Texas, Pennsylvania and Illinois. But smaller states boast perfect finishing percentages: Every single runner hailing from Alabama, Arkansas, Hawaii, Montana, South Dakota, West Virginia and Wyoming who started in 2014 finished.
Monday's top finishers will share $830,050 in prize money, plus an additional $220,000 if records are broken in the open, masters, or push rim wheelchair divisions. The top man and woman overall each takes home $150,000; second place is good for $75,000 and third gets $40,000. John Hancock, which this year marks 30 years as the marathon's principal sponsor, has paid out $17.3 million since prize money entered the picture in 1986. Charities also win: Last year alone, runners raised a record $38.4 million for more than 300 causes. So, too, does the local economy: the Boston Athletic Association, which organizes the race, estimates it will generate about $182 million.
Impress your friends or win a game show with this marathon minutiae. Organizers say Monday's race will mobilize 9,000 volunteers as well as 1,900 medical personnel and a full complement of security including 3,500 uniformed police officers and 320 National Guardsmen. Workers will erect 30,000 feet of fencing, string 63,360 feet of rope and haul away 10,000 trash bags. Other factoids: 3,300 pounds of pasta doused with 2,825 quarts of tomato sauce; 35,300 energy bars; 500 bags of ice; 500 barf bags; 5,000 adhesive bandages; 91 trophies. And, the B.A.A. hopes, 30,000 smiles.