BOSTON (AP/WPRI) – The Boston Marathon got underway Monday under sunny skies.
Lemi Berhanu Hayle won the 120th edition of the men’s race, and Atsede Baysa overcame a 37-second deficit on the women’s side for Ethiopia’s first-ever sweep of the world’s most prestigious marathon.
On Sunday night, Boston Marathon bombing survivor Jeff Bauman and actor Jake Gyllenhaal – who will play Bauman in an upcoming movie – joined Boston Medical Center’s 2016 marathon team at an annual pasta dinner. The dinner was held Sunday at the Westin Boston Waterfront.
The program was hosted by retired New England Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo. Among the scheduled speakers were Bauman, Gyllenhaal and Democratic Boston Mayor Marty Walsh.
Bauman lost both legs in the bombing and was treated at Boston Medical Center.
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His account of that day and his recovery are outlined in his memoir, “Stronger.” The book is being adapted into a film starring Gyllenhaal. The movie is currently filming in Boston.
Here are things to know about this year’s running of the planet’s most venerable footrace:
NATION’S OLDEST MARATHON
The Boston Marathon was born on April 19, 1897, when a handful of men fueled by steak and whiskey conquered a course initially laid out over 24.5 miles. In 1924, the route was extended to the classic 26.2-mile marathon distance to conform to the Olympic standard. Since then, it’s become the premiere marathon in the world, this year drawing 30,000 runners from 99 countries — the third-largest field in the history of the race — and 1 million cowbell-clanging onlookers.
Since the 2013 finish line bombings, which killed three spectators and wounded more than 260 others, authorities have tightened security along the route. Law enforcement officials said the measures included stepped-up patrols by 4,000-plus uniformed and undercover police with explosives-sniffing dogs; a greater use of cameras and other surveillance; a no-fly zone over the route; and helicopter sweeps to detect any use of a radiological “dirty bomb.” Spectators were asked to leave backpacks and other large bags at home and carry only clear, easily searchable plastic bags.
WHO TO WATCH
Because of this summer’s Rio Olympics, some big names skipped Boston. Others have dropped out with injuries; course record-holder Geoffrey Mutai, of Kenya, is giving the race a miss because he didn’t meet his training goals. Elite men to watch: Ethiopia’s Lelisa Desisa, who won in 2015 and 2013, and Kenyan Wesley Korir, the 2012 champion. Defending champion Caroline Rotich, of Kenya, leads the women’s field, but Tiki Gelana, the 2012 Olympics gold medalist, and fellow Ethiopian Buzunesh Deba, will be in the hunt. In the push rim wheelchair division, watch for 2015 defending champions Marcel Hug, of Switzerland, and Tatyana McFadden, of the U.S., to repeat.
$HOW ME THE MONEY
A total of $830,500 in prize money was up for grabs, but that’s just part of the story.
The Boston Athletic Association, which organizes the marathon, estimated about $189 million would be pumped into the Boston-area economy. The race is also a major fundraising tool: Thousands of runners were expected to raise more than $16 million to benefit dozens of charities.
Adrianne Haslet, a professional ballroom dancer who lost a leg in the 2013 bombings, ran raise money and awareness for Limbs for Life, which provides expensive prostheses to low-income amputees. Supermodel Christy Turlington Burns ran to support Every Mother Counts, a group she founded to help improve maternal health worldwide.
BANANAS, BARRICADES & BARF BAGS
It takes more than a village to stage a marathon — it requires a ton of oddball stuff. The 2016 Boston Marathon by the numbers: 10,000 trash bags, 9,000 barricades, 992 portable toilets, 108,000 safety pins, 1.4 million paper cups, 3,300 pounds of pasta, 28,200 bananas, 43,000 apples, 500 barf bags, 1,500 blankets, 500 tubes of petroleum jelly, 35,000 gallons of spring water, 906 dozen bagels, 400 rolls of paper towels. And that’s just for starters.
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