The first Boston Marathon was held on April 19, 1897 and included a field of 15 male runners who ran a 24.5-mile course. The winner, John J. McDermott, an American runner from New York, completed the course in 2 hours, 55 minutes and 10 seconds.
McDermott's winning time is almost an hour slower than the 2011 record set by Geoffrey Mutai, who completed the newer 26.2-mile course in 2 hours, 03 minutes and 2 seconds. Interest in the Boston Marathon has grown significantly since its relatively miniscule first race. In 1996, 38,708 people entered the Boston Marathon, setting a world record for race size.