Boston is gearing up for Monday's 114th running of the Boston Marathon. The field, as usual, will be huge — more than 26,000 official entrants representing 70 countries.
"Every year we stuff a few more war bodies but this year it will be close to 26,800," said Dave McGillivray, the race's director.
That number would be the second-largest field ever, trailing only the more than 38,000 who participated in the 100th running of the marathon in 1996.
Three past champions will run the race to celebrate the anniversaries of their respective victories: Canada's Jacqueline Gareau (1980), American Lisa Rainsberger (1985) and Italian Gelindo Bordin (1990). Bostonians might remember Gareau because she was the real winner in 1980 when Rosie Ruiz snuck into the race and crossed the finish line first. Rainsberger, running in 1985 as Lisa Larsen-Weidenbach, is the last U.S. woman to win the race.
The best chance for an American victory Monday is on the men's side, with Ryan Hall back for another try after his third-place finish last year. Hall has been in Boston training for the last three weeks and believes he's better prepared for this year's marathon than he was last April.
"The great thing about being here in Boston is you can get on the course and it's fun to train on the course," Hall said. "I love training on the course."
Another U.S. entrant, Meb Kflezighi, who won the New York Marathon last fall, also returns. He finished third in Boston in 2006 and says he's ready this year, despite suffering a knee injury in the winter.
"My workouts have been great, otherwise I wouldn't have come," Kflezighi said. "I always said the key to marathons is preparation and my preparation has gone well and now it's race time."
Greg Meyer is the last American man to wear the laurel wreath. That was in 1983.
Last April, Deriba Merga, of Ethiopia, broke away from the pack in Newton Hills to win the men's race by nearly a minute, while Salina Kosgei, of Kenya, captured the women's title in the closest Boston Marathon finish ever recorded. Kosgei edged Ethiopia's Dire Tune by just one second. Merga and Kosgei will try to defend their titles Monday, but two other past champions, Kenyans Robert Kipkoech Cheruyot and Catherine Ndereba, dropped out because of injuries.
History could be made in the men's wheelchair race. South African Ernst Van Dyk will be going for his ninth Boston victory, which would be the most ever, by anyone.
This program aired on April 16, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.