Boston Marathon 2021: Start time, race route, TV and streaming info, defending champions

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After a 30-month gap, the Boston Marathon returns on Monday with the 125th running of the world’s oldest annual marathon. For the first time since the inaugural event in 1897, the race was canceled and run virtually last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

This year’s race was delayed six months from its traditional running on the third Monday in April. With COVID-19 still a factor, several changes will be in effect for 2021. All runners must have proof of vaccination or a negative test to participate. In addition, there will be staggered start times for the first time in the race’s history to accommodate for social distancing. 

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Here’s everything you need to know for Monday’s race:

What time does the Boston Marathon start?

The race will have rolling start times with the men beginning at 8:37 a.m. ET and women starting at 8:45 a.m. ET.

What TV channel is the Boston Marathon on?

Live race coverage will be shown on NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) from 8 a.m. to noon ET.

What are live stream options for Boston Marathon?

The NBC Sports website will stream the race for those that sign in with their cable/satellite provider. Streaming is also available on the NBC Sports app and Peacock.

What is the route of the Boston Marathon? 

The Boston Marathon winds its way 26.2 miles from the town of Hopkinton to the finish line at Copley Square in downtown Boston. 

What is the Boston Marathon’s signature feature?

The most famous part of the course comes between the 20th and 21st mile — Heartbreak Hill. It is an uphill portion of less than a half mile as the runners pass near the campus of Boston College, but it’s considered a crucial part of the race because it’s where participants’ energy often is depleted as they “hit the wall.” 

There, in 1936, defending champion Johnny Kelley caught race leader Tarzan Brown and gave him a pat on the shoulder as he passed. However, Brown rallied to win and according to the Boston Globe’s account of the race, “broke Kelley’s heart” — hence the name Heartbreak Hill.

Who are the defending Boston Marathon champions? 

No official winners were declared during last year’s virtual race. Lawrence Cherono of Kenya won the men’s race in 2019, while Worknesh Degefa of Ethiopia won the women’s race.

What are the Boston Marathon course records?

The men’s record is held by Geoffrey Mutai of Kenya, who won the 2011 marathon in 2:03:02. The women’s record, set in 2014, is by Bezunesh Deba of Ethiopia in 2:19:59.

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