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Boston Marathon

Held every April, the Boston Marathon is not only one of the most famous but is also the oldest marathon in the world. It is more than a century old, with the first event taking place in 1897. The original race started in Ashland but since 1924 has started in Hopkinton, Massachusetts.

The course begins in Hopkinton, and is flat or sometimes downhill for the first 25km. The terrain has some climbs along Commonwealth Avenue and around the 33km mark there is a steep uphill slope. After that it is a downhill run until Boston is reached and the course is flat as runners travel along Beacon Street and Boylston Street to the finish line. Huge crowds attend this event and encourage the runners to get to the finish

The weather during the race can be different from one year to the next. Sometimes there is rain and others extreme heat, while a tailwind can assist runners during some races. During that time of the year in Boston, average temperatures are around 13 degrees Celsius.

Runners have to qualify for the Boston Marathon and the fastest start first and wear red bibs, and these are followed by two more waves of runners in white and blue bibs. The qualifying time needed is adjusted for varying ages of runners. Runners get admission to before and after the race events, including a pre-race pasta party, as well as a shirt and a finishing medal.

Geoffrey Mutai of Kenya has the course record at 2 hours, 3 minutes and 2 seconds. The fastest woman in the Boston Marathon was Margaret Okayo of Kenya in 2002 with a time of 2 hours, 20 minutes and 43 seconds.

The City of Boston has a variety of tourist attractions, from the historic sites along the Boston Freedom Trail to the location of the bar from the television show Cheers. An episode of Rizzoli & Isles featured the lead characters from the show running, and solving a crime, in a marathon in Boston. There are major league sports to watch all through the year, with the Boston Red Sox in summer and the Celtics, Patriots and Bruins during winter.

Many visitors to Boston will arrive by plane at Logan International Airport. Getting to the city centre is easy with train, bus and taxi services available.

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