How Boston Became the World's Greatest Marathon

Quick Facts

Project Type

Web Design


December 2019

Completed Project

View site

Every year, the Boston Marathon attracts thousands of athletes from across the world. But when the race began in 1897, it was little more than a hometown race. This web exhibit traces the Boston Marathon's evolution over the past century, particularly through the lens of gender and globalization.

Desiree Linden's marathon victory was the first by an American woman in over thirty years.

One of the main themes explored in the exhibit is the change in gender demographics of marathon participants, almost half of whom are women today.

The Project

Storytelling is at the heart of the UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media’s curriculum. So in my introductory interactive media course, it was appropriate that our final required us to tell a compelling story using multimedia and data visualizations. As both a runner and history nerd, the Boston Marathon seemed like a fascinating topic to tackle—especially because of the marathon’s evolution from a tiny race to the world’s most prestigious.

The site's full screen photo slider allowed the opportunity for using archival photos in the project's narrative.

The Process

This project was developed using a combination of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. After creating a HTML skeleton for the site, I styled it using Flexbox and ran media queries to create a responsive mobile version. I also gathered data from the Boston Athletic Association, which I then organized in spreadsheets and used in Flourish to create interactive visualizations.

Time-lapse data visualizations created with Flourish help illustrate how the nationalities of marathon winners have changed over time.

I created spreadsheets using information from the Boston Athletic Association to track data about the home country of marathon winners.

The Product

This project was the first digital exhibit that I created from scratch—the design, code, writing, and data visualizations are all original. Its narrative is one that I intend to revisit in the future; as marathon running grows in popularity and qualifying times keep dropping, the Boston Marathon will almost certainly continue evolving.

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