mobile-bannertablet-bannerdesktop-banner
Winner of 1916 Boston Marathon, Arthur Roth.
Arthur Roth, winner of the 1916 Boston Marathon.Bettmann—Corbis
Winner of 1916 Boston Marathon, Arthur Roth.
Johnny Miles Crossing Tape in Race
Ellison M. "Tarzan" Brown, from Alton, R.I., crosses the finish line in the 43rd Boston Marathon, 1939.
Gerard B. Cote, winner of the Boston Marathon in 1940.
Joe Smith, 1942 winner of the Boston Marathon
Boston Marathon View In 1946
Gerard Cote running the 1946 Boston Marathon.
Suh Yun-bok, 24, of South Korea, crosses the finish line, setting a new record in the Boston Marathon, 1947.
Keizo Yamada, 25-year-old Japanese mining engineer, crosses finish line to win 57th Boston Marathon, 1953.
237 runners competing in annual Boston Marathon crossing the starting line, 1963.
Jack Semple Entering Racing Formation
Ambrose Burfoot #17 of Wesleyan University crosses the finish line of 72nd running of the Boston Marathon, 1968.
Amby Burfoot, right, and Jock Semple at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, April 19, 1968.
Kathy Switzer runs in the Boston Marathon on April 19, 1971.
Kathy Switzer Runs In The 1972 Boston Marathon
Bill Rodgers, winner of the 1978 Boston Marathon
Joan Benoit, the women's winner of the Boston Marathon, April 16, 1979.
Patti Catalano Finishes The 1981 Boston Marathon
Boston Marathon winner Alberto Salazar, 1982
The start of the Boston Marathon, 1983
Joan Benoit wins the 1983 Women's Boston marathon
Dave Reinhart at the Boston marathon, 1983
Greg Meyer, winner of the 1983 Boston Marathon
An unidentified man attired in business suit and black hat, jumped into the Boston Marathon pack Monday, April 17, 1984.
John A. Kelley, 78, smiles as he approaches the finish line at the 90th running of the Boston Marathon, April 21, 1986. Kelley's finish marked his 55th Boston Marathon.
Arthur Roth, winner of the 1916 Boston Marathon.
Bettmann—Corbis
1 of 25

See Triumphant Photos of Boston Marathon Runners Through History

The 119th Boston Marathon, taking place on April 20, 2015, is sure to be an occasion for remembrance of the tragic crimes that were committed at the race two years ago. As the city continues to recover from that wound, it's also worth remembering that the marathon has long been a symbol of perseverance, in which runners can conquer obstacles both personal and societal. Here's a look back at some of those victories.

Read about the history of the Boston Marathon, here in the TIME Vault: A Long Running Show

All products and services featured are based solely on editorial selection. TIME may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website.