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Checking in on the 2011 Boston Marathon

Boston Marathon by wallyg on FlickrIf you’ve ever trained for, or considered running a marathon, then you know that Monday marks the 115th annual Boston Marathon, one of the world’s oldest and venerated racing events. The Boston Marathon has been hosted annually on Patriots’ Day, the third Monday of April, since 1897.

Over the years numerous celebs have participated in marathons across the US, usually running for charity. Last year,  actress Valerie Bertinelli finished the Boston Marathon in 5:14:37, just four days before her 50th birthday. Bertinelli was euphoric afterwards for both finishing the grueling race and raising money for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

This year, deep international fields and rising U.S. stars will make the running of the Boston Marathon one of the most interesting in recent history. For a preview of the elite women participating, check out NYC-based runner Lesley Higgins’ WTS blog post in which she discusses Kara Goucher’s post-baby comeback as well as other contenders.

There are a host of great stories to follow during this year’s race. Husband-wife pair Florence Kiplagat and Moses Mosop will make their marathon debut in Boston. Kiplagat won the world half-marathon championships last year and Mosop won the Milan Half-marathon last year.

Two-time champion Joan Benoit Samuelson will run the Boston Marathon for the first time in 18 years. Samuelson, 53, who won an Olympic gold medal in 1984, will join about 66 other top female marathoners in the elite women’s group.

Six-foot tall mom, marathon maniac and blogger Tall Mom on the Run is also running in Boston. If you want to stalk her, she is bib #14576, Wave 2 Corral 6. And if you’re in Beantown as a runner, volunteer or spectator, there are some fun blogger meet ups happening so check out these 2011 Boston Marathon bloggers.

The historic course starts on Main Street in the rural New England town of Hopkinton and follows Route 135 through Ashland, Framingham, Natick, and Wellesley. The route eventually turns onto Beacon Street continuing through Kenmore Square, and under Massachusetts Avenue. The course turns right onto Hereford Street then left onto Boylston Street, finishing near the John Hancock Tower in Copley Square. Check out your options for watching the race live. The women’s elite race begins at 9:32 am ET.

Runners, take your mark.

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