Every sporting event brings major ups and downs for everyone, whether you're participating or simply cheering along in sidelines. And while some moments recieve more press than others, it's these moments that make it all worth being apart of. For the world's longest running marathon, great moments are a-plenty. From inspiring stories to truely weird occurances, hopefully you'll agree that these are The 10 Greatest Moments in the History of the Boston Marathon.

Calvy Click is the Editor-in-Chief of Sneaker Report. When she isn't writing about performance footwear and apparel, you can find her running around Manhattan to Rick Ross anthems. 

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No. 10 –  Kenya Takes the Lead

Year: 1988

The first African to win any major marathon goes to Kenya’s Ibrahim Hussein, who in 1988 won one second ahead of Tanzania’s Juma Ikangaa to win the Boston Marathon.


No. 9 – Heartbreak Hill Gets Its Name

Year: 1936

Defending champ Johnny Kelley gave Ellison “Tarzan” Brown a sympathetic pat on the back when he passed him on the now-famous hill. The friendly gesture was just what Brown needed as he finished the race ahead of Kelley, taking the first place spot in 1936. Kelley’s heart was broken, and “Heartbreak Hill” was born.


No. 8 – The Battle of Salazar and Beardsley

Year: 1982

Everyone needs a little extra competition from time to time. The first two runners to break the 02:09:00 mark did so in the first race, Alberto Salazar and Dick Beardsley dueled each other the final nine miles to claim first place. Salazar was victorious in the end, just two seconds ahead of his opponent.

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No. 7 – Roberta “Bobbi” Gibb is First Woman to Run Boston

Year: 1966

It wasn’t until 1972 that women were officially permitted to run the Boston Marathon, but Bobbi Gibb did it anyway, disguised in her brother’s Bermuda shorts and white leather Red Cross nurses’ shoes (as there were no women’s specific running shoes at the time). In 1996, Gibbs was recognized for her three wins in 1966, 1967, and 1968 along with an inscription on the Boston Marathon memorial in Copley Square for her achievements. It’s time for home-girl to get a signature shoe.


No. 6 – Clarence H. DeMar’s Repeat Victories

Year: 1911

DeMar sounds like a beast. Claiming the top spot in 1911, the Melrose, Massachusetts native went on to win seven Boston Marathon titles, winning his final race at the age of 41 years old.


No. 5 – The First Race

Year: 1897

Originally named the American Marathon, the first Boston Marathon was won by John J. McDermott of New York, breaking away from a 15-member starting field.


No. 4 – Three Times as Fast

Year: 1998

The first time three runners finished in under 02:08:00 in the history of the sport happened with Moses Tanui won with 02:07:34, Joseph Chebet with 02:07:37, and Gert Thys with 02:07:52 in 1998.


No. 3 – Kathrine Switzer First with Race Number

Year: 1967

Kathrine Switzer followed the path of Bobbi Gibb in 1967 as the first woman to run with a race number when she was famously attacked as Jock Semple tried to rip off her number to eject her from the race. Switzer later went on to win the New York City Marathon in 1974 and race again in Boston to take the 2nd place in 1975.


No. 2 – Team Hoyt

Year: 1977 – present

Team Hoyt is comprised of Rick and Dick Hoyt, a father and son duo that encapsulates the spirit of the Boston Marathon. Rick was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at birth, his father Dick refused to accept that his son couldn’t take part in events like everyone else, and so Team Hoyt began in 1977. As of today, they have run the Boston Marathon 30 times together. A bronze statue paying homage to the pair now marks the starting line in Hopkinton.


No. 1 – Geoffrey Mutai of Kenya Wins the 2011 Boston Marathon

Year: 2011

Mutai made his mark in Beantown two years ago with the fastest marathon ever run with a finish time of 02:02:03. Though it wasn’t eligible for world record status due to the International Association of Athletics Federation’s rules concerning tailwind advantages, the time is yet to be beat.

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