A Boston Marathon Wreath Ceremony — adjusted due to the pandemic — was held Saturday in Hopkinton, with dignitaries paying visits to the Town Common and the Spirit of the Marathon statue at Weston Nurseries.
The Alpha Omega Council hosts the annual Boston Marathon Wreath Ceremony, which has kicked off marathon weekend each year since 1984. The event is held “in recognition of the historical ties between the world’s first democracy in ancient Athens and the birth of democracy, the striving for freedom and human dignity that rang out in Boston to start the American Revolution, and continues to this day.”
At the ceremony, the Greek consul general presents the traditional olive wreaths from Greece, gilded in gold for their preservation, to the Boston Athletic Association as a gift from the people of Greece. The wreaths are used to crown the four winners of the Boston Marathon. The wreaths come from Marathon, Greece, where the 26-mile run originated following the Battle of Marathon in 490 B.C.
With the race moving to a virtual format this year — participants must complete a marathon on their own between Sept. 7-14 — the council presented a golden winner’s wreath to the Hopkinton-based 26.2 Foundation for “permanent display and educational use.”
The Alpha Omega Council and the Greek Consulate also sponsor a Marathon Education Initiative, which “develops and promotes educational enrichment opportunities that reflect the spirit of the Boston Marathon and promote civic participation.” This year there will be educational programming the week of Sept. 14.