As the Boston Marathon returns to Hopkinton on Oct. 11, after a pandemic-related cancellation last year and delay this year, many aspects of the race will change, but some hallmarks of the historic race remain. Since the advent of the wave start in 2006, the Boston Athletic Association has allowed the Hopkinton Marathon Committee to select local people who have made contributions to the community and to the Marathon as starters for the later waves of the race. With a rolling start this year, that role falls to one person: new Fire Chief Bill Miller.
“We wanted to honor a first responder who unselfishly for the past 22 months worked on the front lines leading his department with retired Chief Steve Slaman, ensuring the public safety of our residents amid the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic,” explained Dorothy Ferriter-Wallace, chair of the Hopkinton Marathon Committee. “Fire Chief Bill Miller, a respected and proven leader, continued to champion his team through all the unknown and devastating challenges this deadly coronavirus inflicted on our community. The fire chief also serves as the emergency management director, who has had a daunting task in the middle of the pandemic. Bill represents Hopkinton’s first responders, who continue to courageously fight this pandemic with such strength and resilience and have saved lives and showed heartfelt compassion along the way. He will represent all essential workers and first responders in our town who are the heroes that left their families to help others in time of need.”
Miller, an Oxford native, has worked for the Hopkinton Fire Department since 2000 and has been involved with the Boston Marathon since he started.
“My initial roles were as a shift officer working different locations such as the start line and runners village,” he said. “When I was promoted to deputy chief in 2016, I began developing the Incident Action Plan for the Fire Department. This plan includes Marathon and non-Marathon responses and all resources needed for this spectacular event.”
Added Miller: “Being asked to start the race is truly an honor and something I am very proud to do and what makes it even more of an honor is that it is the 125th running.
Ferriter-Wallace hopes that the Marathon Committee will be able to return to honoring veterans at the Boston Marathon start and to coordinating the seating at the triangle near the doughboy statue known as Cookie’s Corner on Patriots’ Day in April 2022. For now, she said, “We have all been through so much over the past 22 months, and we are fortunate to have an in-person race come October 11th. My hope is that people understand and be patient with the changes this year as we welcome runners of the world to Hopkinton.”
The full start schedule for Monday is:
Military march, 6 a.m.
Men’s wheelchair, 8:02 a.m.
Women’s wheelchair, 8:05 a.m.
Handcycle/duo participants, 8:30 a.m.
Professional men, 8:37 a.m.
Professional women, 8:45 a.m.
Para athletics divisions, 8:50 a.m.
Rolling start begins, 9 a.m.
Rolling start ends, 11:30 a.m.