- (Photo: REUTERS/Adam Hunger)
Monday has arrived with one of the biggest sporting events in the U.S.- the 2013 Boston Marathon.
The event has taken place each year on Patriots' Day, the third Monday in April, since 1897. The Boston Marathon is the world's oldest annual marathon, and is among the world's most famous road racing events.
This year, the weather in Boston is expected to provide ideal conditions for runners, with temperatures in the mid-50s and calm winds.
Last year, however, hot temperatures proved hugely problematic for runners, who were offered an automatic entry in the 2013 race if they sat it out. Nearly 2,300 runners opted to do just that, and today, approximately 27,000 contenders have hit the pavement.
"We got a bye," race director Dave McGillivray told the Associated Press. "And that's good, because we need this year to regroup."
Among those racing today are an inspirational group of 40 blind runners. Their participation will raise awareness and money for programs such as the Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired, according to MSN.
The Boston Marathon is New England's most widely viewed sporting occasion and it attracts 50,000 spectators each year.
#BostonMarathon became a trending topic on Twitter Monday, with many tuning in to the race's updates and posting their support.
"Good luck to everyone running the #BostonMarathon today," wrote Men's Health Magazine on the micro blogging site. "Look for the @RunnersWorld booth while you're there, RT if you're participating.
"Just saw a soldier staying pace with a wheelchair," wrote Newton. "Cheering him along on the route."
Ashley added, "Wishing my cousin @LauraMLourenco the best of luck today as she runs the Boston Marathon!"
Meanwhile, an American has not won the Boston Marathon women's title since 1985, and the last time an American man won was in 1983.
Last year, Kenyan runner Wesley Korir won the Boston Marathon, completing the race in two hours, 12 minutes, and 40 seconds. Alternately in the women's category, Kenyan runner Sharon Cherop scooped the champion title, finishing in two hours, 31 minutes, and 50 seconds.