Boston Marathon Set to Begin Two Hours Earlier

New 10:00 a.m. Start Will Benefit Runners and Communities

Boston, Mass. (Source: Boston Athletic Association) ­ As was announced in August 2006, the Boston Athletic Association, in cooperation with
  
the eight cities and towns along the Boston Marathon course, will begin the 111th Boston Marathon, Monday, April 16, 2007, at 10:00 a.m.

The B.A.A. has been discussing this concept with officials of each of the cities and towns since 2005 and has received support from representatives of each, as well as those from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

The Mobility Impaired Program, Wheelchair and Elite Women's divisions will continue to start earlier. The race will also continue to utilize a two-wave start, with the first wave beginning at 10 a.m.

The legendary Boston Marathon course follows a point-to-point route from rural Hopkinton into Ashland, then Framingham, Natick, Wellesley, Newton, Brookline and, finally, Boston. The inaugural Boston Marathon, held in 1897, began at 12:19 p.m., and the race traditionally began at noon in the 109 races that followed.

In an effort to inform residents of the communities along the course as well as commuters who may be affected by the new start time, several measures are being taken:

· The towns and cities along the course will post information on the early start to their websites.

· Public service announcements will broadcast important details about the earlier start.

· The B.A.A. will place public service advertisements in newspapers that serve the communities along the course.

Schedule for the start of the 2007 Boston Marathon:

Division Start Time
Mobility Impaired Division (approximately 10 athletes) 9:00 a.m.
Wheelchair Division (approximately 50 athletes): 9:25 a.m.
Elite Women (approximately 80 athletes): 9:35 a.m.
Wave One (approximately 10,000 athletes): 10:00 a.m.
Wave Two (approximately 13,500 athletes): 10:30 a.m.

Below is a road closure and re-opening schedule for the towns along the Boston Marathon course (all times are approximate):

LOCATION/TOWN CLOSE ­ OPEN
Hopkinton 7:30 a.m. ­ 11:30 a.m.
Ashland 7:30 a.m. ­ 1:00 p.m.
Framingham 8:45 a.m. ­ 1:30 p.m.
Natick 8:45 a.m. ­ 2:00 p.m.
Wellesley 8:45 a.m. ­ 2:30 p.m.
Newton 9:00 a.m. ­ 3:30 p.m.
Brookline 9:30 a.m. ­ 4:30 p.m.
Boston Variable ­ 6:00 p.m.

In addition to runners enjoying cooler temperatures and an earlier re-opening of roads to vehicular traffic, several other reasons factored into the B.A.A.'s decision to break from its traditional noon starting time:

· The overwhelming majority of runners prefer to start earlier than noon. Recreational and elite runners alike are accustomed and tuned to racing marathons in the morning.

· The event's medical constituency unanimously concurs with an earlier start time.

· Police, fire and medical representatives of all eight cities and towns along the route have responded positively to the concept of the earlier start.

Registration for the 2007 Boston Marathon has officially closed. The field size of 23,500 official runners is the second largest in Boston history, behind only the 1996 100th running.

Established in 1887, the Boston Athletic Association is a non-profit organization with a mission of managing athletic events and promoting a healthy lifestyle through sports, especially running. The B.A.A.'s Boston Marathon is the world's oldest annual marathon, and the organization manages other local events and supports comprehensive charity, youth, and year-round running programs. Since 1986, the principal sponsor of the Boston Marathon has been John Hancock Financial Services. In 2006, the Boston Marathon launched ñ along with the Flora London Marathon also in April in the World Marathon Majors Series. Other events in the series are the real,-Berlin-Marathon, The LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon, and the ING New York City Marathon.

 

NASA Astronaut Suni Williams to Run Boston Marathon in Space
Needham native will have earth support running on ground as she does 26.2-miles aboard the International Space Station.

 
 
Boston, Mass. ­ For the first time, a Boston Marathon qualifier will run the race in space. NASA astronaut and Needham, MA, native Sunita (Suni) Williams (41) is planning on running the 26.2 mile race on a treadmill onboard the International Space Station (ISS) on Monday, April 16, the same day as the world's most prestigious marathon: the 111th Boston Marathon.
 
Williams will be supported on the actual marathon course from Hopkinton to Boston by an Earth Support Unit, headed by her sister Dina Pandya, fellow Naval Academy alumnus Ronnie Harris and up to a dozen of her friends, and NASA astronaut Karen Nyberg.
 
Today, the B.A.A. issued to Williams bib number 14,000, in honor of the Expedition 14 which she is currently executing.  Boston Marathon Race Director McGillivray sent the bib electronically to NASA, who will forward it to Williams.
 
Onboard ISS, more than 200 miles above earth, Williams will be harnessed to a specially designed treadmill with bungee cords. A NASA engineer came up with a treadmill vibration isolation system to lessen the pounding impact on the space station, but this makes for an uncomfortable running experience that pulls on the runner's hips and shoulders. She has had to slowly work herself up from a couple of miles per run since she arrived at the space station in December, to the marathon distance she is planning on completing in April.
 
Williams grew up in Needham, MA, and graduated from Needham High School in 1983. Her parents Deepak and Bonnie Pandya reside in Falmouth, MA. Her sister Dina lives in East Falmouth and is employed at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.  
 
Williams qualified for the 2007 Boston Marathon when she ran a 3:29:57 marathon in Houston, TX in 2006. This is her main motivation for running a marathon in space. "I considered it a huge honor to qualify and I didn't want my qualification to expire without giving it a shot," Williams said. Running a marathon also gives her a goal for the physical activity that is necessary to maintain bone and muscle density while in space. "In microgravity, both of these things start to go away because we don't use our legs to walk around and don't need the bones and muscles to hold us up under the force of gravity," Williams said.
 
As a member of Expedition 14 and 15, she serves a six-month stint as a flight engineer onboard ISS. She recently set the record for women's space walking with more than 29 hours in space. Williams is set to return to earth this summer.
 
Back on earth, Pandya and Harris are planning her support unit which will consist of runners from Delaware, Maryland and Houston, TX. A spectator support group will be within the 14th mile in Wellesley in honor of Williams' Expedition 14.
 
Two NASA astronauts, Jeff Williams and Karen Nyberg, will be available during marathon weekend in Boston to help educate the public about the International Space Station and NASA in general. NASA will have a booth at the John Hancock Sports & Fitness Expo at the Hynes Convention Center on Friday, April 13, (noon to 6 p.m.), Saturday, April 14 (9 a.m. to 6 p.m.) and Sunday, April 15 (9 a.m. to 6 p.m.).

 
 
Established in 1887, the Boston Athletic Association is a non-profit organization with a mission of managing athletic events and promoting a healthy lifestyle through sports, especially running. The B.A.A.'s Boston Marathon is the world's oldest annual marathon, and the organization manages other local events and supports comprehensive charity, youth, and year-round running programs. Since 1986, the principal sponsor of the Boston Marathon has been John Hancock Financial Services. In 2006, the Boston Marathon launched ­ along with the Flora London Marathon also in April ­ the World Marathon Majors Series. Other events in the series are the real,-Berlin-Marathon, The LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon, and the ING New York City Marathon.

BOSTON ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION
40 Trinity Place, 4th floor
Boston, Massachusetts 02116

Telephone: 617-236-1652
Fax: 617-236-4505
www.baa.org

 

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