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The Boston Marathon: A Race Where the Human Will and Story Wins

BOSTON - APRIL 17:  Runners continue to cross the finish line in the 110th Boston Marathon April 17, 2006 in Boston, Massachusetts. Over 22 thousand people have entered to run in the 110th running of the prestigious race.  (Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images)
Rob TiongsonSenior Analyst IApril 7, 2009

For 112 years, the grueling 26.2 miles in this Bay State spectacular has tested athletes of all abilities with their will, stamina, and endurance to conquer one of the world's most prestigious marathons.

Held each Patriots' Day, a traditional Massachusetts holiday on the third Monday of April, the Boston Marathon has been the epicenter of world-class athletics and the human story at its highest point.

Each year, the race produces record runs, heartbreaking finishes, and the emotional story in which the desire to just finish the event captivates audiences across the globe.

The international media circuit may chronicle Robert Cheruiyot's efforts to win a fourth consecutive Boston Marathon, an impressive feat which will undoubtedly garner the attention of even the most casual of television viewers and spectators along the race course.

Cheruiyot won the Hub's premier race in 2003 and '06-'08.  The 30-year-old Kapsabet, Kenya, native looks to continue his winning and record-breaking ways.

His '08 victory, which was accomplished in 2:07:43, tied him with New England sports icon Bill Rodgers, who won the event in 1975 and '78-80.

On the women's elite side, 22-year-old Dire Tune looks to duplicate her victory of 2008. Tune, who has competed in the 2005 World Championships and '06 World Road Running Championships, finished the Boston Marathon in 2:25:25.

To this Boston native who has followed the race since 1996, the Marathon is a microcosm of the amazing things that any given individual can do with sheer determination, grit, and willpower.

In addition to following the world-class athletes who strive on a yearly basis with blistering race times that one can only marvel at, the stories that truly captivate are the ones where the commoners of Boston and all points across the world congregate in the race to accomplish a single goal: finish the race.

Two of the compelling "commoners" who are as iconic as the elite runners themselves are the father-and-son team of Dick and Rich Hoyt, mainstays of the Boston Marathon since 1981.

The familial duo, who have warmed the hearts of spectators and fans of the event, display their desire to defy the odds in each race.

Sixty-nine-year-old Dick Hoyt, whose 36-year-old son Rich was born with cerebral palsy, urges his child yearly (with the exception of the '07 race in which Dick had knee problems) via a mobilized wheelchair along the course.

Despite his child's medical setback, father Dick's love and support of his son is equally as remarkable as their efforts in the event.

Pressing forward each year in the unpredictable spring weather in Massachusetts, Team Hoyt inspires the faithful fans along the suburban towns of Hopkinton, Ashfield, and Newton in metro Boston, amid cheers to finish the event.

Whether you're a Bostonian who will tune in to WBZ-TV CBS 4's telecast, WCVB-TV ABC 5's broadcast, or watch the highlights of the 113th annual Boston Marathon, the chances are likely that you will see the human theatre and drama unfold in its most natural of stages.

If you want to witness sports history with the world-class runners who blister the race course or find strength and inspiration with the participants who run in the name of charity or life, on April 20, 2009, you may be resigned to admire what will unfold in the all-day sports spectacular.

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