The Boston Marathon is an annual marathon hosted by several cities in greater Boston in eastern Massachusetts, United States. It is always held on Patriots' Day, the third Monday of April. Begun in 1897, the event was inspired by the success of the first marathon competition in the 1896 Summer Olympics. The Boston Marathon is the world's oldest annual marathon and ranks as one of the world's best-known road racing events. It is one of six World Marathon Majors. Its course runs from Hopkinton in southern Middlesex County to Copley Square in Boston.
In 1980, amateur runner Rosie Ruiz crossed the finish line first in the women's race. Marathon officials became suspicious when it was discovered that Ruiz did not appear in race videotapes until near the end of the race. A subsequent investigation concluded that Ruiz had skipped most of the race and blended into the crowd about one mile (1.6 km) from the finish line, where she then ran to her false victory. Ruiz was officially disqualified, and Canadian Jacqueline Gareau was proclaimed the winner.
On Monday, April 18, 2011 Geoffrey Mutai of Kenya won the Boston Marathon in a time of 2:03:02. Although this was the fastest marathon ever run at the time, the International Association of Athletics Federations noted that the performance was not eligible for world record status given that the course did not satisfy rules that regarded elevation drop and start/finish separation (the latter requirement being intended to prevent advantages gained from a strong tailwind, as was the case in 2011). The Associated Press reported that Mutai had the support of other runners who describe the IAAF's rules as "flawed". According to the Boston Herald, race director Dave McGillivray said he was sending paperwork to the IAAF in an attempt to have Mutai's mark ratified as a world record. Although this was not successful, the AP indicated that the attempt to have the mark certified as a world record "would force the governing bodies to reject an unprecedented performance on the world's most prestigious marathon course".
A number of people choose to run the course in a variety of costumes each year. During the 100th running in 1996, one runner wore a scale model of the Old North Church steeple on his back. Old North Church is where the signal was lit that set Paul Revere off on his midnight ride, which is commemorated each year on the same day as the Marathon. During the 2014 marathon, runners and spectators were discouraged from wearing "costumes covering the face or any non-form fitting, bulky outfits extending beyond the perimeter of the body," for security reasons following the 2013 bombings. However, state authorities and the Boston Athletic Association did not outright ban such costumes.