Back in 1897, John J. McDermott of New York ran faster than the 14 other contestants to win the first Boston Marathon. In 2011, 24,349 runners competed, with Kenyans Geoffrey Mutai and Caroline Kilel winning the men’s and women’s portions, respectively.

What hasn’t changed since the first Boston Marathon was run are the pains, aches and stiffness experienced by runners—which is why massage therapy is now a key component of runner care at the marathon.

Massage therapy will be provided pre- and post-race to participants in the 2012 Boston Marathon on April 16.

Massage therapists provide care to include emergency cramp management. Volunteers will distribute water, assist with table set-up, move supplies, and escort athletes; however, therapists are responsible for supplying their own equipment, the Boston Marathon’s website notes.

Massage therapists interested in volunteering may visit to download an application, or call (617) 236-1652.