First pandemic marathon hours from kicking off

Organizers counting on smaller field, vax/test requirement for safety

HOPKINTON, Mass. — Runners will face not the stark light of spring for this year’s Boston Marathon, but the soft glow of fall -- as the 125th running of the race kicks off Monday morning, six months late because of the pandemic.

With the qualifying field reduced by 10,000 runners, broad, staggered start times and requirements that runners be vaccinated or show proof of negative Covid tests, organizers hope to keep the race from becoming a superspreading event.

Scott and Brett Mumford are both running the marathon and both are doctors. They felt organizers had taken sufficient precautions to prevent transmission -- and they were looking forward to participating in better weather than the last time they ran Boston when it was rainy and cold.

“In 2018, we ran Boston together on that freezing cold day,” Scott said. “I got hypothermia and Brett helped me finish and it was terrible, actually.”

Brett said they were just three miles from the finish line when Scott went down.

“And I said, just stay right on my right hip. Just concentrate,” Brett said. “I’m going to keep you right there with me. And let’s just keep going one foot in front of the other. Just keep going forward and we’re going to make it.”

The Mumfords, who practice medicine in Utah and Idaho, have been trying to make it back to Boston ever since.

This is Moody Abdalla’s first Boston Marathon. He owns Royal Pizza, just up the street from the start line and is hopeful Monday morning will mean a healthy dose of business -- especially given that food trucks aren’t allowed this year.

“We hope to be good,” Abdalla said. “Because it has been for a while slow for everyone.”

Abdalla, who established his business the first spring of the pandemic, in 2020, plans to open Monday morning at 6:30.

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