How many laps around the warning track at Fenway Park would it take to cover 26.2 miles? The answer: 116.5. The reason we know is the first ever marathon inside a MLB ballpark was held at the iconic ballpark on Friday.
The race was capped at 50 people, and in order to participate, each runner had to raise at least $5,000 for the Red Sox Foundation, which serves children and families who have health, education, recreation or social service needs. No doubt, it was an inside-the-park home run. More than $300,000 was raised in total.
The race was organized by Dave McGillivray, the race director of the Boston Marathon, who, by the way, has an interesting story of his own.
“We did it! A team effort. Fifty passionate souls took to the warning track at Fenway Park, ran 116 ½ laps and made history,” McGillivray wrote on Facebook. “Thanks to each and every participant for helping me make this Dream (Inside the Park Home Run) Marathon finally come true!
“For me, the monotony of running around and around NEVER ONCE happened…never…it was just so exciting to be in the moment. It rained a few times and poured once and as uncomfortable as that was, it just added another element of challenge to it that we will never forget.”
World renowned ultrarunner Michael Wardian, 43, didn’t start running until after college, but he crossed the finish line first in 2 hours, 53 minutes and 52 seconds.
“It was epic. It was historic. It was inspirational. It was so fun,” he told CBS Boston.
Rick and Dick Hoyt also took part in the ground-breaking event. Rick was born with cerebral palsy, and his father, Dick, has pushed him in his wheelchair in countless endurance events, including 32 consecutive Boston Marathons.
McGillivray had been dreaming of hosting this race for 39 years. In 1978, he ran 3,452 miles from Medford, Oregon to Fenway Park, raising thousands of dollars for The Jimmy Fund and Dana-Farbar Cancer Institute.
“Running for a charity was virtually non-existent at the time,” McGillivray told us in 2015. “I was told by Runner’s World, that was probably one of the first times that someone combined running with fundraising for cancer research.”
Now it’s a huge component to most marathons all over the world.
Will there be another Fenway Marathon? Who knows. But, a strong case can be that circling the warning track is just as meaningful as rounding the bases.