ABOUT THE B.A.A. AND THE BOSTON MARATHON
The B.A.A. has organized the Boston Marathon since the event’s inception in 1897
The Boston Marathon is the world's oldest annual marathon and ranks as one of the world's most prestigious road racing events. The B.A.A. continues to manage this American classic, which has been sponsored by John Hancock since 1986. The Boston Marathon has distinguished itself as a pinnacle event within the sport of road racing by virtue of its traditions, longevity, and method of gaining entry into the race via qualification.
THE MODERN ERA OF THE BOSTON MARATHON
When Guy Morse took the reins of the B.A.A. in 1985, he was given a rotary phone and an empty office in the old Boston Garden. The days of the B.A.A. Games at the Boston Garden and the B.A.A. clubhouse were long gone, but the organization held onto its marquee event, the Boston Marathon, and the B.A.A. Running Club as the only two visible pieces of its illustrious past.
As race director, Morse and the B.A.A.'s Board of Governors attracted a principal sponsor for the Boston Marathon in John Hancock and, with John Hancock’s assistance, instituted a prize money structure to help bring the world's fastest runners to Boston. The change not only brought faster runners to Boston; it brought more runners to Boston. Since 1986, the men’s and women’s open division course records have improved a combined eight times and the field size has grown from 4,904 entrants to 30,000 in recent years. The Boston Marathon also attracts approximately 500,000 spectators each year, making it New England’s most widely viewed sporting event.
For the 100th running of the Boston Marathon on April 15, 1996, the B.A.A. worked for years ahead of time in cooperation with the eight cities and towns along the Boston Marathon course to appropriately commemorate the milestone. Through a one-time exception to field size constraints, a record 38,708 runners were given entry into the Centennial Boston Marathon. This single-time field size stood for seven years as the largest in marathon history.
Ten years later, the Boston Marathon partnered with the London, Berlin, Chicago, and New York City marathons to collectively launch the Abbott World Marathon Majors. This series links the world’s most prestigious marathons and offers prize money to top professional runners and wheelchair athletes each year. In 2013, the Tokyo Marathon joined as the sixth event in the Abbott World Marathon Majors series.
The progressive actions of the B.A.A. throughout the years have been reflective of the vision of the B.A.A. Board of Governors. Since the B.A.A.’s inception in 1887, the Board of Governors have voluntarily led the organization through good times and bad. Through its dedicated leadership, the B.A.A. has demonstrated its commitment to and support of the Greater Boston area, especially the eight cities and towns along the Boston Marathon route.
OFFICIAL CHARITY PROGRAM FOR THE BOSTON MARATHON
Charities who are part of the B.A.A.'s Official Charity Program for the Boston Marathon raise more than $15 million annually and serve areas of need within Greater Boston. The funds and positive impact are important to the success of the B.A.A.'s mission, and the B.A.A. is proud to support these charities and their fundraising endeavors. With special regard to the field of Boston Marathon qualifiers, the B.A.A. has integrated its charity program into the race in an effort which recognizes the running community in and around the Boston Marathon, and the year-round philanthropic endeavors of the Boston Athletic Association. The Boston Marathon Charity Program began in 1989 when the American Liver Foundation became the first charity to receive official entries into the Boston Marathon. Dana-Farber Cancer Institute came aboard in 1990, and since then the program has grown to support at least 30 charities each year.