125th Boston Marathon Banner Program

125th Boston Marathon Banner Program


Keep an eye out throughout Boston for banners celebrating 125 years of Boston Marathon history. Each year, the City of Boston recognizes the Boston Marathon by displaying commemorative banners throughout the city, including along Boylston Street. This year’s banners feature many distinguished champions such as Bill Rodgers, Des Linden, Jean Driscoll, Clarence DeMar, Joan Benoit Samuelson, as well as Boston Marathon icons Rick and Dick Hoyt. In honor and celebration of the marathon’s Indigenous history, Ellison Brown and Patti Catalano Dillon are also featured. See how many different banners you can spot while in Boston!


Clarence DeMarEllison Brown

Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection

  • Clarence DeMar - The all-time winningest Boston Marathon open division champion is DeMar, who earned seven titles between 1911 and 1930. His final win came at the age of 41.
  • Ellison Brown - The two-time Boston Marathon champion and Narragansett runner played a significant part in race history, as his winning move in 1936 helped coin the name Heartbreak Hill. Brown is won the 1939 race in a then-course record of 2:28:51.

John A KelleyOriginal Ashland StartStylianos Kyriakides

Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection

  • John A. Kelley - One of the most recognizable Boston Marathon legends, Johnny "The Elder" Kelley was a 58-time finisher and two-time champion. A Young at Heart statue stands at Heartbreak Hill in honor of Kelley.
  • Original Ashland Start - From 1897 through 1923, the Boston Marathon course began in the town of Ashland -- not Hopkinton. 
  • Stylianos Kyriakides - In 1946, Kyriakides ran to raise money and awareness for his home country of Greece, which had been ravaged by war. Upon winning and gaining the support of many spectators, he became recognized as the first fundraising runner in race history. 

Bobbi GibbPatti Catalano DillonSara Mae Berman

Photo Credit (L-R): Jeff Johnson, Jeff Johnson, Rick Levy

  • Roberta "Bobbi" Gibb - Jumping from the bushes in Hopkinton, Gibb became the first woman to complete the Boston Marathon in 1966 at a time when women weren't yet allowed to run the race. Her effort served as a pioneering moment for women runners. 
  • Patti Catalano Dillon - Catalano Dillon was a star on the road racing scene, setting records in the marathon and half marathon. One of the most legendary Indigenous runners, she was a three-time runner-up in Boston and recorded a then-American record of 2:27:51 in 1981.
  • Sara Mae Berman - A three-time Boston Marathon champion (1969-1971) during the pioneer era, Berman celebrates the 50th anniversary of her '71 title this year. She resides in Cambridge.

Ibrahim HusseinJean DriscollJoan Benoit Samuelson

Photo Credit (L-R): FayFoto, PhotoRun, Peter Travers

  • Ibrahim Hussein - From Kenya, Hussein became the first African to win the Boston Marathon in 1988 and quickly established a Kenyan dominance thanks to his three victories. 
  • Jean Driscoll - The all-time women's leader in Boston Marathon titles, Driscoll was the most prominent wheelchair competitor throughout the 1990s en route to earning a record eight wins.
  • Joan Benoit Samuelson - A New England native, Benoit Samuelson won both the 1979 and 1983 Boston Marathons. In 1984 she became the first person to win both Boston and an Olympic Marathon gold medal.

Meb KeflezighiKatherine SwitzerRick & Dick Hoyt

Photo Credit (L-R): PhotoRun, Jeff Johnson, PhotoRun

  • Meb Keflezighi - Running to the chants of "USA! USA!" Keflezighi triumphantly crossed the line first in 2014. Epitomizing the Boston Strong mentality, he became the first American male to win the open division since 1983.
  • Kathrine Switzer - In 1967, Switzer became a running pioneer and icon as she became the first woman to complete the Boston Marathon while sporting a bib number. 
  • Rick & Dick Hoyt - Team Hoyt quickly became Boston Marathon icons and fan-favorites from Hopkinton to Boston. Together the father and son team completed more than 30 Boston Marathons.

Bill RodgersWellesley Scream TunnelDes Linden

Photo Credit (L-R): Jeff Johnson, PhotoRun, PhotoRun

  • Bill Rodgers - A four-time Boston Marathon champion and Boston icon, Rodgers won three straight titles from 1978-1980 and helped inspire the running boom.
  • Wellesley Scream Tunnel - One of the loudest and most encouraging spots along the Boston Marathon route, the Wellesley Scream Tunnel is made up of Wellesley College students just prior to halfway. 
  • Des Linden - Persevering through torrential downpours and driving wind, Linden claimed the 2018 title to become the first American female to win the open division since 1985.

Ernst Van DykHeartbreak HillFatuma Roba

Photo Credit (L-R): PhotoRun, Rick Levy, PhotoRun

  • Ernst van Dyk - The all-time leader in Boston Marathon wins is van Dyk, having won ten titles between 2001 and 2014. He'll race his 21st Boston this year.
  • Heartbreak Hill - Located in Newton, one of the most iconic and challenging locations on the Boston Marathon course is Heartbreak Hill. The grueling inclines have played a determining factor in many races. 
  • Fatuma Roba - A three-time Boston Marathon winner, Roba was the first female champion from Africa (1997) and started Ethiopia's string of success in Boston.