The historic and fabled Boston Marathon is like a beacon that annually beckons the world’s best long-distance runners who want nothing more than a crack at the tough 26-mile, 385-yard course, which includes such famous sections as Heartbreak Hill.

Well, on Monday, April 19, barring injury or other setback, 13 Midcoast residents will accept the challenge to run that course — several for the first time.

The runners from Knox and Waldo counties will be among the 206 Mainers registered to compete in the event, which tests the months of training and physical and mental fortitude of those who participate.

The event usually draws about 25,000 runners from around the world. This year, 28,000 are registered. The course stretches from Hopkinton Center to Boylston Street in Boston.

The area runners who have qualified to compete in the prestigious race are Robyn Thibodeau, 45, Northport; Pamela Wallace, 47, Rockland; Art Warren, 75, Camden; Philip Roberts, 60, Lincolnville, David Root, 40, Hope; Lawrence Salvador, 34, Belfast; Ellen Spring, 57, Thomaston; Melissa Poulin, 26, Union; Amanda Labelle, 26, Rockland; C. Douglas Johnstone, 61, Camden; Geoffrey James, 43, Rockport; Thomas Hedstrom, 34, Camden; and Bonnie Gallagher, 46, Camden.

This more than doubles the number of locals who usually compete in the event. Last year, there were only five, including Hedstrom, Johnstone, Gallagher and Spring, who were joined by Cynthia Battel of Union.

This year, the wheelchair group will start the race at 9:22 a.m., the elite women at 9:32 a.m., the elite men and Wave I runner at 10 a.m. and the Wave 2 runners at 10:30 a.m.

Spring is a veteran of the Boston Marathon as this will be her 16th straight and 18th overall. Among those challenging the course for the first time will be Roberts, Wallace and Poulin. Some of the other area runners also may be first-time marathoners or first-time participants in Boston.

Labelle is one of Maine’s top marathoners and could challenge for a top spot in the women’s division, while Hedstrom is a talented triathlete, having competed in the world Ironman competition in Hawaii in the past. He also is a veteran runner at Boston.

Warren is a longtime runner and has competed in marathons, half-marathons and triathlons in recent years. Gallagher also is a veteran marathoner, including running Boston many times.

All locals competing at Boston have plenty of Midcoast road race experience.

Last year, nearly 23,000 runners competed in Boston, as Hedstrom, who has run the Beantown marathon several times, finished the grueling course in two hours, 53 minutes and 11 seconds. He was 485th in his age division, 613th among men and 648th overall.

Johnstone, who has run other marathons previously, competed in his first Boston event last year. He finished in 3:57:2 and was 248th in his age division, 9,903rd among men and 14,969th overall.

Gallagher raced in Boston last year and this year will be her fourth time officially competing in Boston since 2005 (she also ran one year as a “bandit” and was not registered). Last year, she finished in 3:47:20 (her fastest time in Boston), including 12,377th overall, 3,639th among women and 321st in her age division.

Spring finished in 5:06:19, including 275th in her age group, 8,833rd among women and 21.947th overall.

Two years ago, Hedstrom finished 691st overall (2:54:44), while Spring finished 20,050th (4:48:59).

The Boston Marathon is the world’s oldest annual marathon and ranks as one of the world’s most prestigious road racing events. The Boston Athletic Association manages the American classic, which is sponsored by John Hancock Financial Services. The Boston Marathon has distinguished itself as the pinnacle event within the sport of road racing by virtue of its traditions, longevity and method of gaining entry into the race (via qualification).

To qualify to run the Boston Marathon, entrants must run a qualifying time at a certified marathon. Qualifying times are determined by a runner’s age on the date of the Boston Marathon in which they will be participating.

The 2010 qualifying standards were:

Ages 18-34 — Men (3 hours, 10 minutes), women (3 hours, 40 minutes).

Ages 35-39 — Men (3 hours, 15 minutes), women (3 hours, 45 minutes).

Ages 40-44 — Men (3 hours, 20 minutes), women (3 hours, 50 minutes).

Ages 45-49 — Men (3 hours, 30 minutes), women (4 hours).

Ages 50-54 — Men (3 hours, 35 minutes), women (4 hours, 5 minutes).

Ages 55-59 — Men (3 hours, 45 minutes), women (4 hours, 15 minutes).

Ages 60-64 — Men (4 hours), women (4 hours, 30 minutes).

Ages 65-69 — Men (4 hours, 15 minutes), women (4 hours, 45 minutes).

Ages 70-74 — Men (4 hours, 30 minutes), women (5 hours).

Ages 75-79 — Men (4 hours, 45 minutes), women (5 hours, 15 minutes).

80 and older — Men (5 hours), women (5 hours, 30 minutes).

VillageSoup Regional Editor/Sports Director Ken Waltz can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail at