Boston Marathon
Boston Marathon finish line Via

SEATTLE - For over than a century, one of the most famous and important marathons in the world has been held every year on the third Monday of April.

Inspired by the first-ever marathon competition in the 1896 Athens Olympics, the Boston Marathon has been a yearly competition for athletes all over the world since 1897 and is the world's oldest annual such competition. It has been held every year since its creation, including in 2020 (a virtual race after the event was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic).

Amateurs and professionals alike compete in the event and more than 30,000 people show up every year to run along the hilly terrain of Massachusetts.

The Boston Marathon is the second major marathon of the year, held one month after the Tokyo Marathon. It is part of the six World Marathon Majors and offers athletes with a chance to qualify for the Olympics: a top five finish at the Boston Marathon can unlock an Olympic spot.

Though women had unofficially participated in the Boston Marathon since 1966, it wasn't until 1972 that the women's category became official. A few years later, in 1975, the Boston Marathon became the first major marathon to also include a wheelchair division.

Latinos in the Boston Marathon

Over more than 100 years of history, only two athletes of Latin American descent have crossed the finish line first.

The first one to do so was Doroteo Guamuch Flores in 1952, a Guatemalan who ran the 42km in 2:31:53, almost five minutes ahead of second place.

Originally a construction worker, textile laborer and even a golf caddie, Flores' career spanned 16 years, where he not only won the Boston Marathon but also added gold medals at the 1950 Central American and Caribbean Games and at the 1955 Pan American Games, becoming the first Guatemalan to win a Pan American medal.

Due to his successful career, Flores was immortalized on June 22, 1955 when the Guatemalan government honored him by renaming the country's national stadium to Estadio Nacional Doroteo Guamuch Flores.

#PasiónPorGuatemala🇬🇹🙌 Hoy se cumplen 70 años del triunfo de Doroteo Guamuch Flores en la Maratón de Boston, el 19 de abril de 1952, un hecho memorable...

The next Latin hero at the Boston Marathon arrived almost two decades after Flores' success. In 1971, Colombian Álvaro Mejía took home first place in the 75th edition of the event, crossing the finish line with a time of 2:18:45 and defeating Pat McMahon, who crossed the finish line just five seconds behind.

The Colombian went on to win four gold medals at the Central American and Caribbean Games and added a bronze medal to his already decorated career at the 1971 Pan American games in Cali, Colombia.

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