As the city of Boston continues its return to normalcy, the 118th running of the Boston Marathon on Monday will be a celebration, remembrance and elite-level event for competitors from across the globe.
Most of the very best long-distance runners in the world will converge on the Boston Marathon in the hopes of etching their names in the annals of running history.
The 26.2-mile race will provide a major challenge for even the most well-conditioned athletes, as they traverse the city of Boston in potentially inclement weather conditions.
Here is everything you need to know about how and when to watch the 2014 Boston Marathon, as well as the biggest angles to follow throughout.
When: Monday, April 21 at 9:32 a.m. ET (Women's Elite) and 10 a.m. ET (Men's Elite)
Where: Boston, Mass.
Watch: WBZ-TV (Boston) and Universal Sports Network (National)
Live Stream: WatchLive.BAA.org
*Info courtesy of BAA.org.
Boston Marathon Route
Boston Marathon course map courtesy of Chris Imai on Twitter:
The Boston Marathon Official Course Map pic.twitter.com/CESRrMxVsn— Chris Imai (@chrisimai) April 16, 2014
Top Storylines to Follow
Forecast Looking Good
Weather is always a concern for the Boston Marathon since northeast forecasts tend to be temperamental in April. Runners and spectators are never quite sure what to expect, but there is reason for optimism in that regard this year.
According to WBZ-TV meteorologist Terry Eliasen, there is a 25 percent chance of rain on Monday, but that is likely to occur early in the morning and later in the day. Aside from that, temperatures and other conditions should be favorable.
A weak warm front will approach on Monday morning and this will likely provide some clouds and perhaps a few sprinkles early in the morning. At this point, it looks like by the time the race begins in Hopkinton, skies should be partly cloudy, winds should be light and temperatures rising through the 40's. As the day wears on, winds should increase a bit out of the southwest ahead of an approaching cold front. Temperatures will rise through the 50's midday and early afternoon and perhaps nick 60 degrees at points along the course in the afternoon.
Considering the fact that it isn't uncommon for there to be thunderstorms and sub-30-degree weather for the Boston Marathon, runners have to be thrilled with the current forecast. Things can always change on that front, so organizers aren't completely out of the woods yet, but things are promising.
Nice weather is great for those who are in attendance to watch, and it also ensures that the playing field is level for the runners. Some men and women are able to handle adverse weather conditions better than others, but that may not come into play.
If the weather is fair, then the best people will ultimately come out on top.
Final Boston Marathon for Team Hoyt
While the Boston Marathon is very much about top-level runners competing against each other, it also generates plenty of heartwarming stories. Perhaps chief among them over the years has been the strength and determination of Team Hoyt.
Team Hoyt is comprised of 74-year-old Dick Hoyt and his 52-year-old son Rick. According to Sydney Lupkin and David Meyers ABC News, Rick has cerebral palsy, but he has been part of over 30 Boston Marathons with his dad pushing him in a wheelchair the entire way.
The Hoyts have inspired so many people over the years, but the 118th Boston Marathon will be their last one. There will likely be a lot of emotional involved, but Rick said that a state of joy will be prevalent more than anything else, per Lupkin and Meyers.
"We're going to be happy that we finished it," Dick Hoyt said. "And we're going to be so happy to see all our runners and family members are going to be there."
For Team Hoyt it isn't about contending for a victory, it is about bonding and showing others that anything is possible. That will be on full display one last time on Monday.
Breaking Down Major Contenders
The Boston Marathon is viewed by many as the holy grail in distance running, and winning the race essentially ensures immortality within the sport. The men's field in particular appears to be stacked, and there are several contenders who have a legitimate chance of winning.
Who will win the 2014 Boston Marathon?
Perhaps chief among them is defending champion Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia. He is arguably the best distance runner in the world today, and knocking him from his perch certainly won't be easy.
American viewers, of course, are likely to root for their compatriots, and they will have no shortage of runners to pull for with Ryan Hall, Meb Keflezighi and Jason Hartmann all having a chance to make some noise.
Keflezighi is a former New York Marathon winner, while Hartmann has consecutive fourth-place Boston Marathon finishes to his name. Among the trio, though, Hall may have the best chance of sealing victory.
As seen in this photo, courtesy of Hall's Twitter account, he appears to be ready for the challenge ahead of him:
No American man has won the Boston Marathon since Greg Meyer in 1983, and there is no question that an American victory would spark interest in the sport. If Hall, Keflezighi or Hartmann can come out on top, then it will add even more cause for celebration at what is certain to be a day to remember at the Boston Marathon.
Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter