For ESL Students – Boston Marathon Bombing – ESL Article

By | May 13, 2013

The Boston Marathon Bombing

Boston Marathon Runner John Funk Competing in Race in Blue Shirt and Black Shorts

Have you ever run in a race? The Boston Marathon is one of the world’s most famous races. It has been in the news many times, for example, when Kenyan runner Geoffrey Mutai set a world running record in 2011. This year, the Boston Marathon has been in the news more than ever.

The Boston Marathon is an annual marathon. It takes place every year in the Boston area. It is always held on the 3rd Monday in April. The Boston Marathon was first started in 1897 by the Boston Athletic Association. This same organization still runs the event. To complete the race, one must run a distance of 26 miles and 385 yards.  

The Boston Marathon has grown each year, so that it is now one of Boston’s biggest events. Starting with only 18 people in 1897, the event now brings more than half a million fans each year to the race. More than twenty thousand people also run in the marathon each year.

Anyone who qualifies can run in the Boston Marathon. In fact, runners from all over the world come to Boston each year to compete. A runner must be over the age of 18 and have completed a marathon before. Many different kinds of people compete in this race. For example, people who use wheelchairs or have other disabilities participate and can also win prizes.

It is not easy to run a marathon. Yet the Boston Marathon is one of the hardest. There are many hills to run through. Also, Boston can be cold and rainy in April. Runners must complete the 26-mile race, no matter the terrain and weather.

The Boston Marathon has always been a joyous event celebrating health, fitness, and sportsmanship. Families come to support runners. People of all ages enjoy being a part of this famous race, and celebrating with the winners. The winners are awarded large prizes. The first man and woman to complete the race receive $100,000. There are also prizes for 2nd and 3rd place, and for winners with disabilities.

This year, the Boston Marathon started out as a happy event as usual. However, it tragically turned into a terrible event. Towards the end of the race, this year, two bombs exploded near a crowd of spectators. The bombs were placed in pressure cookers hidden in backpacks. Two Americans and a Chinese man died in the explosions. Among those killed was an eight-year old boy named Martin Richard. More than 150 people were also injured. Several people who were hurt had to have arms or legs amputated. People are not sure how or why this happened. Everyone is looking for answers as to who could have committed such a terrible crime.

Americans are believed to be unusually optimistic and good at “bouncing back“. They will always remember this tragedy. Yet, one can expect Bostonians and Americans to remain committed to maintaining the tradition of this famous marathon. And who knows? It may be that next year will bring more runners than ever before.


1. What is a marathon?
2. Why is the Boston Marathon so popular?
3. For how many years has the Boston Marathon been held?
4. How was this year’s marathon different from marathons in past years?
5. What is meant by “bouncing back”?
6. After what happened this year in Boston, would you run next year if you could? Why or why not?
7. How will the Boston Marathon be different next year than this year, in negative and positive ways?
8. Draw a line under every simple past verb and a double line under every present perfect verb.

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