All details are based on the 2022 Boston Marathon.
Prices and dates should be used as a guide only.
All details are based on the 2022 Boston Marathon.
The Boston Marathon is the world’s oldest continuously run annual marathon and ranks as one of the world’s most prestigious road racing events.
The historic course is a point to point event starting on Main Street in the rural New England town of Hopkinton and follows Route 135 through Ashland (the original 1897 starting point) Framingham, Natick, and Wellesley, to where Route 16 joins Route 135.
It continues on Route 16 through Newton Lower Falls to Commonwealth Avenue, turning right at the fire station onto Commonwealth which is Route 30. The route continues on Commonwealth through the Newton Hills, bearing right at the reservoir onto Chestnut Hill Avenue to Cleveland Circle. It then turns left onto Beacon Street, proceeding into Brookline, passing iconic Coolidge Corner. Reaching Kenmore Square with one mile to go, the route then follows Commonwealth Avenue inbound.
The course turns right onto Hereford Street (NOTE: against normal traffic flow) then left onto Boylston Street, finishing near the John Hancock Tower in Copley Square.
Running Boston was my ultimate goal and was so happy to finally get there. The Travel Doc App was the best! Was great not to carry and not worry where I packed my paperwork. The hotel was in a great location and the pre-race pasta dinner put on by Travelling Fit was delicious as it took away the hassle of finding somewhere to eat the night before the race. It was great to have Boston Marathon as my final major to complete my six stars and thankful to get the opportunity through Travelling Fit.
The support and service from the Travelling Fit team was outstanding, the reminders when items were due and the personal touch was much appreciated.
This was my 10th Travelling Fit running package and I can’t say enough about the individual attention and time given to me in making sure I have a great customer experience. Staff are always quick to reply and proactive in offering to handle and do additional things for me like flight suggestions, side trips, reminders to get visas, ESTA, etc. Plus having done a few trips now I love meeting up with familiar friends over the years and getting to know the different staff members better. Keep up the brilliant work Travelling Fit. The move to the SmartTrips app was a great idea this time as well to eliminate additional reword my paper you needed to carry. I look forward to completing my 6 majors with you later this year. Thanks for making that possible Thank you Travelling Fit for all your great work and making it so seamless for me to do what I love - run and travel.
I came across Travelling Fit over 5 years ago when I decided to embark on my first marathon! And with every marathon event since then, I have had the Travelling Fit staff supporting me! It’s one of the reasons why I am motivated to keep doing marathons! There's never been anything too small or too big for Travelling Fit to help me with! The addition of "exotic" race events has been of tremendous value add and gives Travelling Fit the differentiator! Thank you for getting me to Boston this year!
They say that what does not kill you makes you stronger. You all know the conditions we had in Boston and I am pretty certain Travelling Fit are under selling the major part they played in looking after us all. A big thank you from me but I know I speak from all the Travelling Fit runners when I say, without Travelling Fit’s help it would have been a lot harder. Honestly we were going to run in any conditions, but you walked us all to the bus pickup area and worst still stayed in the pouring rain and cold until the last finisher crossed the line, and made sure we were all OK throughout the night and the next day. Thank you!
Boston marathon was a truly incredible experience. The pre -departure support from Travelling Fit was great, replies were prompt, questions always answered, I felt very well supported. The event itself and finishing the 6 world majors was amazing! Despite the cold weather, rain and snow it really was the best day. Thanks for helping make this happen Travelling Fit!
We have just returned from Boston and completed the 6 majors with Travelling Fit. It has been an amazing journey over the last 5 years. Thanks to all the staff for making it so simple and enjoyable. I would do it all again if my wife would let me
The marathon. Where do I start? It was the most amazing experience. We were treated like royalty wherever we went in Boston. Everyone thanked us for coming to Boston and thanked us for running. It was very cold a few days before but on the day perfect (for me who hates cold). The crowd was enormous both sides of the road the whole 42k course probably dozens deep in most places all shouting and cheering. The Travelling Fit shirts were perfect. Many called out "go Australia" or "ozzie ozzie ozzie" or by our names. More importantly it was a very comfortable shirt to wear so congrats to those involved. I would not have missed it for the world.
Thanks so much for organising everything in such a professional way & excellent service and for giving me the opportunity to compete & complete such a great event as the Boston Marathon.
All details are based on the 2022 Boston Marathon.
Prices and dates should be used as a guide only.
All details are based on the 2022 Boston Marathon.
The entry fee for the Boston Marathon is included in your Travelling Fit Marathon Package (unless booking an accommodation only package).
Qualifiers for the Boston Marathon must meet the designated time standard that corresponds to their age group and gender. The qualifying window for the 2022 Boston Marathon began on the 1st September 2019 and closed at 5:00 p.m. ET on Friday 12th November 2021 in marathons which have been certified by USA Track and Field or AIMS (Association of International Marathons and Distance Runners) or foreign equivalent certified courses.
Qualifying standards for the 126th Boston Marathon can be found by clicking here. Proof of qualification must accompany the application. Participants must be 18 years or older on race day.
NOTE: The B.A.A. accepts net times from electronic scoring systems.
Travelling Fit has an extremely limited number of invitational entries for those who are unable to qualify but can make the 6 hour cut off time.
- Elite Women Start – 9:32 am
- Elite Men & Wave One Start – 10:00 am
- Wave Two Start – 10:25 am
- Wave Three Start – 10:50 am
- Wave Four Start – 11:15am
Starting times are subject to change.
The Boston Marathon has a 6 hour cut-off limit.
The Boston Marathon uses the ChampionChip computer timing system.
Digital clocks displaying elapsed time are located at every mile and also at five-kilometre markers.
In early April, accepted applicants will receive, via first class mail, an official Number Pick-Up card and extensive information regarding the B.A.A. Boston Marathon and related race week activities.
Note: Bib numbers will not be distributed on race day and must be picked up from the John Hancock Sports & Fitness Expo located at:
John B. Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center
900 Boylston Street
There are no official pace setters for this event
Poland Spring Water and Gatorade Endurance Formula Sports Drink (lemon/lime flavor) are the official fluids provided approximately every mile along the course as well as the start and finish areas.
Clif Energy Gels will also be available along the course
Portable toilets (Port-a-johns) will be located at each fluid and each first aid station. Stations are every mile beginning at mile two.
Personal Refreshments and Clothing
Warm up clothing may be checked onto buses that will bring your baggage to the finish in Boston.
Affix the baggage label provided to you in your race packet to the plastic bag you received at packet pick-up and give it to the attendant at the appropriate baggage bus on your way to the start area.
Buses will be clearly marked according to your bib number.
The ONLY guaranteed way to get to the start on race morning is by the official B.A.A. buses located at Charles Street between the Public Garden and Boston Common. Buses start loading at 6.00am on race morning and will be loaded according to the wave to which you have been assigned.
NOTE: Transportation to the start is for official runners only. Each runner must show his/her bib number upon boarding. There is no transport provided to the start from Boston for family or friends.
Limited transportation from Boston to Hopkinton to both parking areas will be available after the race at no charge. Buses leave from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. from the corner of Stuart and Berkeley Streets. You must show your race number upon boarding.
This service is included as part of the marathon race package
The 2022 John Hancock Sports and Fitness Expo will be held at:
John B. Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center
900 Boylston Street
Opening Times are as follows (subject to confirmation):
Fri 15 April, 11am – 6pm
Sat 16 April, 9am – 6pm
Sun 17 April, 9am – 6pm.
Finishers T-shirts, Medals and Certificates
All finishers receive a commemorative medallion.
The average April temperature in Boston is 9 degrees Celsius (48 degrees Fahrenheit) although the temperature at the race start (Hopkinton) is normally between 13 – 23 degrees Celsius (55 – 75 degrees Fahrenheit).
BAA Boston MarathonBoston Marathon Team Thomo recap An absolutely awesome event...would love to do it again. Scott’s Six-Star Medal Run. Despite managing an injury throughout the training cycle, I went into ...
Boston Marathon Team Thomo recap
An absolutely awesome event…would love to do it again. Scott’s Six-Star Medal Run.
Despite managing an injury throughout the training cycle, I went into Boston feeling the strongest and fittest and most prepared to run a marathon than ever before. I was ready. A PB was a real chance. Scott was carrying an injury too, but we knew we could make it.
We awoke on marathon morning to thunderstorms with weather predictions suggesting the rain would pass, then there would be sun, then there would be more rain with wind thrown in, but the wind should be a tail wind 🙂 Overall, not too bad of a forecast. Bring on the rain I say; the sun is my nemesis.
The start line is in Hopkinton, a 45-minute bus ride out of Boston, so to get there the B.A.A. transport you to the start line by way of yellow school buses from Boston. It was raining when we left Boston, but it had reduced to showers by the time we got to the start. Due to the inclement weather forecast, the B.A.A. made a change to the start line procedure so we precious athletes didn’t have to stand around in the mud getting wet and cold for too long, a lesson learned from last year. After the first two waves took off, waves 3 and 4(ours) headed for the start line (about a 1km walk away) in one big rabble, and rather than have us stand around in the cold and rain waiting for a starting gun in our corrals, we all just wandered towards the start line, and just pressed ‘go’ on our watches when we crossed the first timing mat & started running. It was all a bit underwhelming and anti-climactic, but I appreciated how our health and safety was a top priority.
So we were off. We’d studied the course carefully before the day and had a conservative plan of attack, especially as the first few Kms were downhill. The rain had stopped, and it was warm, a balmy 19ish degrees, so a few Kms in I ditched the raincoat and tried to find my rhythm. 5kms down and I was in need of a wee stop as I didn’t get one at the start area. I picked a quiet stop, short queue -should be in and out in a minute…but noooooo…..not THIS time…everybody in front of me was spending forever in those plastic cubicles, so 5+ excruciatingly long minutes later I emerged and got back into the race. This put me 4 mins behind our goal time, so things weren’t looking good for the rest of the day for a PB, but that didn’t really matter; I just wanted to finish well. For some reason though, I wasn’t feeling comfortable & things were way harder than they should have been. By the 10km mark I realized that the discomfort I was feeling was largely due to my right hip inexplicably and unexpectedly seizing up, and then that evil ball of fire in the sky came out and turned all of the aforementioned rain on the ground into 88% humidity. Ugh!
By 15kms in, I was really struggling. The hip was a real problem and I was suffering with the heat as well, so as much as it shattered me that my race had turned pear-shaped so early on, we had to get this thing done. Enter walk/run strategy: 2min run, 30 second walk for the remaining 27km. I was so disappointed for Scott too, as this was his Six-star run, and due to his injury walking was painful for him…we HAD to finish this by the cut-off and I was holding him back and making him walk.
The run itself is absolutely wonderful, as it has a real community spirit and small-town vibe, as the route takes you through several smaller towns along the way where all of the locals come out to support the runners and boy do they support well! They brought out food, drinks, paper towel, ice, beer, dogs, and so much good-will it was simply amazing. Even the security and emergency services people cheered you on as you passed through their town.
All through our training we were preparing for the series of three hills that start at the 30km mark, and it was really good to get them done. It was such a welcome sight at the 35km mark to see Michael from Travelling Fit waiting for us to give us a much-needed hug and morale boost. Being an international runner with no other family or friend support, Travelling Fit really make you feel like you are part of their family, and a simple gesture like this means a lot, making it so much more than a tour company. They go above and beyond to ensure their clients have the best experience possible.
After the 35km mark, it’s pretty much a downhill run to the finish, and it’s not until the last 4ish Kms where you actually enter Boston. There is a huge Citgo sign you can see from a few Kms away that signifies 1mile to go, and it was so fantastic to get to this landmark which is in the Centre of Boston. This last mile is where the crowds have swollen to epic proportions and lift you to carry you home. When you turn in to the final street the finish line is about 500m straight in front of you and is the most glorious sight. Scott really drew on this support in the final stretch and got lots of extra cheers for his cheeky antics 😉
As we approached the finish line, Scott grabbed my hand and held it high as we crossed over the final timing mat at the finish line. We made it, and most importantly, Scott got his Six-star medal. He was so patient with me throughout and was my voice of reason when I wasn’t thinking clearly. Without him my day would have been a disaster. It’s thanks to him I made it in time. Overall, we were 30ish minutes slower than what we’d trained for, but you get that in distance running; you have to adapt to the conditions and adjust your expectations accordingly when things go awry.
Our sincere thanks and gratitude to those who sent messages of support and cheered us on from afar… and for Travelling Fit for getting us to the start line in the first place.
BAA Boston MarathonBOSTON MARATHON RACE REPORT Let's put it out there right now. The Boston Marathon is one of the "must do" marathons, indeed it's the hardest of the World Marathon Majors (WMM) to get into. We ...
BOSTON MARATHON RACE REPORT
Let’s put it out there right now. The Boston Marathon is one of the “must do” marathons, indeed it’s the hardest of the World Marathon Majors (WMM) to get into. We were lucky enough to run the 123rd Boston Marathon on Monday 15th April, which is Patriots’ Day in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Drew + Paul + Alison are onto our fourth WMM following Tokyo (2014), New York (2015) and Berlin (2018). We’re joined by Kristy who is a WMM veteran, with Boston to be her fifth event in the series.
Just to recap, there are six marathons in the WMM series, each called a star. When you complete all six you get a ‘Six Star’ medal and your life becomes complete! We are slowly but surely making our way through them
We arrive in Boston after 30+ hours travel and are greeted by signage on the baggage carousel, welcoming all the runners to Boston. Our preparation this year was on par with Berlin, a good training base but with that nagging feeling we should have done more! There had been a good number of runs over 30km and a solid mix of training efforts.
We arrive and settle into our hotel, the very nice Westin Copley. We grab a bite to eat and then hit the finish line area for a quick selfie.
Next morning it’s time for the expo. Those of you who have read previous reports will know that we have a bit of a thing for event merchandise, so operation #GETSOMEMERCH happens! Our credit cards are still recovering, their magnetic strips all worn from so much purchasing (side issue, when are the Americans going to get with the ‘tap and go’ credit card thing – who uses swipe and signature any more?!?!)
Better go for a run!
And it’s time to head off for a run to acclimatise ourselves to the local surrounds.
We’re in Boston with Travelling Fit, who we’ve all run with before. It’s a much smaller group in Boston with only 40 runners, compared to the 300+ that ran New York, a result of the limited places available for international travel firms. Great to get out and stretch the legs after the long plane trip over. The weather is cool and overcast, but happily not raining.
We have a bit of time so head out to check out some of the local sights, including a trip to the Harvard campus and a wander round the city admiring the architecture.
Boston Common, a park in the centre of the CBD
Our trip to Boston is about more than just the run, so we take in some of what the city has to offer. A trip to the baseball was great, we watched the Boston Red Sox vs the Baltimore Arioles at Fenway Park over a few beers and hot dogs under a perfect blue sky. Tough gig, huh?
A somewhat sombre note of remembrance. The 123rd Boston Marathon is run on Monday 15th April, six years to the day since the Boston Marathon bombings on 15th April 2013. We visit the sites of the two bombings, only metres from the finish line that we’re about to cross, where memorials are currently being constructed.
The term ‘Boston Strong’ was created as part of the reaction to the bombing and is emblazoned all over the city during marathon week. Marathon Daffodils are planted between the start at Hopkinton and adorn the streets of the CBD, a constant reminder of the terrible events of 2013.
Race day is here. It’s bucketing rain. The start line is closed due to lightning. The buses to the start must pull over on the freeway because the rain is too heavy. But the weather forecasters claim it will clear in time for the start!!!! How do you get 30,000+ runners from the Boston CBD to Hopkinton, the start line that’s 42.2km away? Simple, get a whole bunch of school buses and drop us at the local school until it’s start time.
We are Go!
The Boston Marathon is happening! The rain stops. The sun comes out. Now just to run 42.2km
How to best describe the Boston Marathon course? One that deserves respect.
It is a beautiful start. 10km of downhill running, with ideal marathon temperatures. We meander through small towns, the crowds cheering us through their streets. Some of us are thinking #BESTMARATHONEVER. From 10km onwards the course undulates through the countryside. It’s picturesque at times, punctuated by some pretty loud Americans shouting a range of comments including one “you’re nearly there!” at the 15km mark. Clearly, he missed the Marathon 101 training program.
The ‘Scream Tunnel’ at the 21km mark is a hoot, where all the young ladies attending Wellesley College come out onto the side of the course and scream a lot, holding placards that range from encouraging to propositioning! But as the course cracks the 30km we’re into new territory, the constantly rolling hills are taking their toll on our quads and the uphill sections become a challenge. Heartbreak Hill at 33km should be called Quadbreak Hill.
We all make it home … no PBs in sight, but this probably isn’t the course for it.
- Paul – landed a finish of 3:15:53 with a good pace for most of the run, until those hills at the 30km+ mark.
- Drew – came home in a 3:35:45 with a similar story to Paul, a good pace initially but the legs were burnt out by the time he hit Heartbreak Hill!
- Alison – made it across the line with a 4:08:52, good effort Al especially battling some inclement weather later in the race.
- Kristy – smashed it with a 3:13:11, damn fine work! Those splits are a work of art, with a strong finish over the last 10km.
We are done, another WMM in the bag
We’re all happy to have Boston under the belt, so it’s time to think about what’s next on our WWM journey! London in April 2020 looks to be a certainty, which will be Kristy’s sixth and final. Paul, Drew and Alison also need to complete Chicago, timing still TBC on that one. By the way, if any of you bump into our husband/wife/partner please tell them it’s important we do Chicago soon, even if only so you get to read another excellent race report
One final comment, a huge congrats to Mari-Mar from Travelling Fit who claimed her six star medal at Boston. Well done!!!
BAA Boston MarathonThe atmosphere at the start of the Boston Marathon was incredible! The buses were so well organised taking runners out to the start line, it all worked easily. No stress. I was feeling excited at ...
The atmosphere at the start of the Boston Marathon was incredible! The buses were so well organised taking runners out to the start line, it all worked easily. No stress. I was feeling excited at the start line – I was running Boston after all! It’s the most iconic marathon i think in the world and I was there! I was with Mari-Mar, who was running her last major to complete her 6, so i was excited for her too.
Right from the start after I left Mari-Mar to go into our allocated start corals the crowd was abuzz in the 700m walk to the start line. Due to the weather, wave 4 start was brought forward 20mins to start with wave 3 although by the time I got across the actual start line I was only 10mins ahead of wave 4s official allocated start time.
My run went better than I anticipated. My strategy was to run 40mins walk 5mins not being at my optimal fitness currently and this had worked well for me in Cuba last November so adopted again for Boston.
A downhill start was comfortable but I took it very easy. I always think about trying to negative split my runs so you are passing people in the back end rather than being passed. It lifts me mentally, so I’m ok seeing people bolt past me in the early stages and tend to pull them back later in the race.
I loved the crowds along the beautiful country towns streets. Lots of funny signs and people out cheering. Crowds really do lift you and wearing my Travelling Fit run top I heard lots of “go Jilly!”
I got to halfway in 2:29 and was feeling great. It had started to warm up from the cool wet we’d had earlier and the arm warmers i’d pulled off and was carrying eventually got thrown as i couldn’t be bothered to keep carrying, along with my wind cheater I’d been wearing. Gone. Remembering that we turned right after Newton i got excited as we’d basically been running straight since the start and this meant we were getting closer to Boston. This was at the 17th mile or 23km mark so just over halfway. I was feeling good and having consumed my GU gels, decided to drop the 5 min walking and just run as much as i could. Carrying my own tailwind hydration in a hand held bottle meant I could just run through water stations, only using them when I had to top up, which was only once; I am a bit of a camel only needing to sip a little every 20mins which I do religiously. Always have and do the same in training. I consume a gel after 45mins at the start then every hour. I really do feel a pick me up in my stride about 10mins after taking one.
Passing Boston College at Mile 20, I knew Heartbreak Hill was looming.
The course, so far, had been quite undulating even though if you look at the profile it’s a net downhill but it doesn’t feel all downhill! I had heard Heartbreak Hill was nothing like Sydney’s City To Surf Heartbreak Hill which i was relieved about after 32kms in your legs but it was a steep gradient. I started to run up it but resigned to just walk it thinking to conserve energy. There was a sign at the top saying it was done and behind you which i ‘yahooed’ to myself at.
10km to go. Time to see what I had left. Looking at my watch i was calculating I could go under 5hrs if I sustained my pace that I’d been managing and that would get me my negative split. I was feeling great with lots of energy and wanted to go for it.
I hadn’t run a sub 5 hour marathon for over 18 months. I ran 4:10 on the Gold Coast in 2017 but since then a slow 5:18 in Tokyo last year followed by an even slower 5:28 in London the same year then a 5:15 in Cuba in November. I resigned myself that if I could go better than 5:15 I’d be happy. So i kept pushing. Several other Travelling Fit runners had passed me earlier and I had caught 5 of them in this final 10km. I saw Michael from Travelling Fit near the 35km mark, just where he said he’d be, and I think I may have managed my trademark heel kick as i went past him (which he didn’t capture on film lol) and that lifted me too.
Once I get into single digits I know I’m going to finish. Coming into Boston city the crowds got heavier and the threatening clouds that had been coming in and getting darker opened up about 20mins from the finish. It was a much welcomed downpour as the condition had been warm in the middle – i had resorted to pouring water over me at several water stops after halfway.
With 5km to go I said to myself “only a park-run to go” which lifted me again. That.. and I had 37mins to break 5hrs. I was thinking it was possible. I kept trying to push, passing loads of people since the 30km mark had been uplifting and driving me.
With 3.5km to go I had to walk. I just pulled up. I think there was an under tunnel we went through and coming out of that I walked up. I walked for about 3mins and it was at that point I told myself Jill you’ve let your sub 5 go – you obviously don’t want it that much and I was right.
But that was ok. I was going to go quicker than I had in the past 18 months by about 10mins and I was happy with that. I was finishing strong which I like to do and was happy. Turning right into Hereford St told me there was only 1km to the finish line as you then turn left onto Boylston St and it’s a straight 700m to the end.
I said to myself “c’mon Jill – give it your all” and pushed my speed with all I had. I finished in 5:02:15 and was thrilled. I managed my finish line heel kick just before the line and just raised my hands to my head in satisfaction that it was done. I had ran Boston.
The crowd on Boylston St was incredible. I remember thinking about the runners who had been finishing their race 5yrs earlier on that fateful day of the bombing and my heart went out for them. I felt emotional thinking about it but it just made me run faster. This race is epic and special.
The organisation is spot on and all the volunteers were the best I’ve seen in my 38 marathons. I collected my medal and had a photo taken. I had carried my phone on the run but didn’t take any photos. I walked through to get my space blanket they provided and recovery fruit and water. The family meeting spot was about 400m walk. I met my partner Paul easily under ‘H’ and we walked the easy 700m back to the hotel. Job done – No. 4 major done!
Joining the Travelling Fit team was amazing – can’t fault it. This was no. 10 event and I will be back. Berlin and Chicago are booked for later this year and that will see me complete my 6 star events and join a small special group of people in the world who have achieved that, like my buddy Mari-Mar who has always been a running hero of mine.
Thank you Travelling Fit for all your great work and making it so seamless for me to do what I love – run and travel.
BAA Boston MarathonThese major events, although being very big in terms of numbers, are very well organised. The host city embraces the event and the runners, and a real carnival atmosphere is present. Once you ...
These major events, although being very big in terms of numbers, are very well organised. The host city embraces the event and the runners, and a real carnival atmosphere is present.
Once you get there, having the Travelling Fit team there to help is priceless. The comfort of their experience makes for a calm and collected race with little to worry about.
I actually got my own qualifying spot but chose to do the trip with Travelling Fit after the great experience my wife and I had on the New York marathon trip with them last year.
The atmosphere seemed very calm. Although most of us were soaking wet and knew we would be running in wet shoes, it seemed to be a get on and do it attitude.
This was a really tough race mainly due to my own rookie mistakes. I used to run my block at home which is all hills and found then getting onto marathon courses that were flat, i would feel very strong and fast. I have been doing triathlons and Iron Man events for the last couple of years which has really improved my fitness but most of our running is on beach paths which are quite flat.
When I got onto the Boston course which has very few flat parts, I knew i was in for a tough day. But I love learning from mistakes so I will not be making that one again. It’s the only marathon that I have done where I couldn’t sprint to the finish line. I was totally cooked. But when it came into sight, and the crowds cheering, the hairs on the back of my neck stood tall and i knew it was all worth it.
I ended up doing 3:25 which was slower than I hoped but am always grateful for being able to do these things.
Running has become a part of my life and I am now at the stage in life where my wife and I can travel around the world. I can compete in these events and have her full support and we can enjoy the accomplishment together, especially as the marathon finish line is like no other.
Boston was my second trip with Travelling Fit and we have already requested spots for London next year, and I intend doing all my majors and other marathons with them.
It is especially good for my wife as a supporter as she is made to feel just as important as I am and she is taken to all the best vantage points by the Travelling Fit crew, which is no simple task in these events. I did my first major (Berlin) with another company and the experience was like chalk and cheese.
Needless to say we are sticking with Travelling Fit.
Boston Marathon Race ReviewBoston Marathon is held on the Monday of the Patriot’s Day long weekend. This year’s Marathon Monday for the 119th Boston Marathon was 20 April 2015. I arrived in Boston on the Friday after...
Boston Marathon is held on the Monday of the Patriot’s Day long weekend. This year’s Marathon Monday for the 119th Boston Marathon was 20 April 2015.
I arrived in Boston on the Friday after a short stay in New York that eliminated most of the jet lag. Travel was an AMTRAK train to Boston Back Bay station and a short walk to the Westin Copley Hotel which is also near the finish line for the Marathon.
Friday afternoon was Expo time with bib pickup and shopping for a few BAA branded essentials and souvenirs. There was a great range of products on the Friday but by Sunday there are some empty shelves.
Saturday, BAA has a 5km race from Boston Common although it’s more of a fun run for the majority of the participants. For travellers it’s a good chance to shake out the stiffness and also to have a look at the Marathon finish line. It was also a great chance to meet up with the other Aussies in the Travelling Fit group.
Saturday and Sunday were fine and sunny with temperatures that were maybe a little warmer than ideal for running. The weather forecast for Monday looked doubtful and suggested cold, rain and wind with the showers starting about the same time as the race at 10:00. Who would be a Race Director? They just can’t win.
Monday and it was off to Boston Common to board one of the fleet of school buses for the one hour trip to the start at Hopkinton. Security was tight with a no bag policy. Any extra clothing you were wearing needed to be left at Hopkinton for charity. It was not much of a problem because you learnt after a few days that Marathon weekend means no bags or clear plastic bags for everything.
Boston Marathon is a point to point race with a course that has hardly changed over the history of the race. Because it’s point to point and is net downhill the course does not qualify for world records, not that I was likely to challenge any record.
The drop off at Hopkinton, if you catch the right bus, is about 2 hours before your scheduled start time. The athlete’s village had hot drinks, water, bananas and bagels. There were a few large tents for shelter and plenty of Portaloos (Portajohns for the Americans). The battle in the village was trying to stay warm. The weather forecast had it right: no wind or rain yet but a temperature of only about 3ºC. I was thinking that I needed different running clothes but it was too late to change. At least I had running gloves and a beanie. The beanie looked ridiculous but was essential on the day.
About an hour before my scheduled start time, my wave began to move towards the start line about 600m from the athlete’s village. Out in the open and the rain began. I was towards the back of Wave 3 so the elite runners had heard the National Anthem and departed well before I get there.
After 30 to 40 minutes standing in the rain it was my turn to run. I heeded the advice to take things easy, as the first km is a big downhill drop. After that it was settle into a rhythm and try and keep it smooth over a course that is always slightly undulating. Although there were large numbers of runners, the strict seeding by qualifying times means that there wasn’t much need to swerve around slower runners and I didn’t feel crowded like City2Surf. No road rage incidents and everyone seemed very happy to encourage those around them.
The course is designed so that you run from Hopkinton through the outer towns and suburbs of Boston into Back Bay. Boston has been using a slogan, ‘Everyone in Boston Owns the Marathon’. The locals seem to believe this and in each town you pass, the crowds were 4 or 5 deep along most of the course. The advertising says there are up to a million people out supporting this event. Probably an exaggeration unless they are including television numbers but amazing when you are used to the handful of people we get in some Australian events.
My first half went well. At half way I was still on schedule for the planned 3:45 finish. The only problem was the weather. The temperature had risen to 6ºC but it was still raining and the wind was starting to pick up. The wind chill made the effective temperature close to zero. Hands, feet and face were almost numb. Drink stations became difficult as I couldn’t hold the cups properly. The drinks felt so cold that I could feel them go down to stomach and if I drank more than a mouthful or two the core temperature dropped and shivering started.
My pace after half way was slowing a bit but not by much. I had been warned about the Newton Hills, which are around the 32-35km mark, There are 3 or 4 hills but I was half way up the last one (Heartbreak Hill) before I really noticed. The hills aren’t very steep but have sustained climbs that are energy sapping that far into a marathon. The Boston Heart Break Hill is not even close to the climb of the Sydney namesake.
After the top of Heart Break Hill it’s mostly downhill to the finish but like everyone around me it was difficult to get back on pace. Whether I had gone out a bit fast early and over done the quads on the previous downhill sections of whether it was just the cold, I don’t know. The weather was getting worse and it was no longer possible to miss the big puddles on the road. It would have been very easy to pack it in but the crowds were still out there in the rain with their horns and cowbells, voices or anything else that makes lots of noise. No matter how miserable you feel the crowds will get you through that last few kilometers.
At last you turn into Hereford Street and see the familiar landmark of the Expo in front. Then it’s a left turn onto Boylston Street and the crowd of thousands screaming support for 600m sprint, hobble or crawl to the finish.
Past the finish line its medals and space blankets and lots of congratulations. It felt like everyone in Boston is happy because you finished.
The weather this year made it a tough marathon. When I finished, the medical facilities at the finish were close to full of runners that became hypothermic soon after the finish. I was very glad to have a warm and comfortable hotel just around the corner from the finish line.
My finish time was just under 3:52 but there was still close to half the field behind me and the rain and wind increased about 45min after I finished. Those out on the track at that stage really had it tough.
A few hours later I had defrosted in the hotel and it was time to celebrate. Outside, there were still large numbers of finishers coming over the line. It was still raining and windy. The crowds were still there being noisy and supporting anyone going past.
Boston Marathon Race ReportBoston, New York, Chicago, London, Berlin. Of all the major marathons around the world the one I've always wanted to do is Boston. The world's longest continually held race. The one with the ...
Boston, New York, Chicago, London, Berlin. Of all the major marathons around the world the one I’ve always wanted to do is Boston. The world’s longest continually held race. The one with the strictest qualifying times outside of the Olympics. 2012 would be the 116th Boston Marathon and would include me as one of 27,000 runners entered.
Not having travelled to mainland USA before, I was pleased to see that Boston as a city is modern, pretty and wonderfully well-preserved but with a small-town feel. Cute 19th century brownstone buildings line the streets. The days when those same streets were lit by lanterns can easily be imagined.
The marathon is a huge event for the city. Everywhere you walk there are lean-looking people wearing compression gear, event clothing and fluoro shoes as fashion items. You can easily spot the other runners around town, as with 27,000 people entered, they are everywhere. The atmosphere around town is exciting as people get ready to be part of the world’s oldest race.
The Boston Marathon is a point-to-point run, starting in a town called Hopkinton and finishing in one of the main streets in Boston. Hopkinton, which happens to be 26.2 miles west of Boston, is a picture perfect town with houses which remind you of any movie set in rural New England. The race itself winds through a number of other scenic towns before getting to the city of Boston. For most of the way the run is along a two-lane road. It is only towards the end that the course expands into wide city streets.
The run is net downhill, but it’s not generally known for being a fast course. There are a number of hills in the second half of the course, with the most notable being the last one, known as Heartbreak Hill. These hills are between miles 15 and 20. This is where the race would start to get tough and test out everyone.
North American weather can be fickle in April. When I left Sydney I’d seen a 7-day forecast for Boston, and the temperature for race day was looking to be 6 (min.) to 16 (max.), perfect running conditions. By the time I’d arrived, the forecast had been radically amended and Monday was to be the centre of a one-day heatwave. I wouldn’t be needing any of the cold weather clothes I’d packed in anticipation of it being cold at the start. The Mayor of Boston spoke publicly requesting runners not to run & the BAA took the unusual step of allowing runners to defer their entry to next year because of the forecast hot conditions. That would have been generous for the local runners, but was not much of an option when you’ve already booked flights and planned a holiday around the race. At the same time, the BAA told us by email that “THIS IS NOT A RACE. It is an experience” (their capitals) and advised us to consider running significantly more slowly than normal.
The day of this year’s race turned out to be 31 degrees (or 89 Fahrenheit in their language). It was almost 11am before I crossed the start line, so I knew that I was in for a hot day for the duration, however long that would be. What I couldn’t find was any shade the entire way. Even though some of the course is through the countryside, the trees had come out of their cold winter and were devoid of leaves.
The organisers did their best with drink stations at every mile and misting tents, which is like running through a car wash but without the washers.
The race is always held on Patriots’ Day, which is a state-wide public holiday in Massachusetts. Being a public holiday and the biggest event in town, spectators were lining the streets from start to finish.
What I noticed about the crowds is that they are very loud and they will cheer on absolutely everyone, especially complete strangers. Many runners had their names on the front of their shirt so that people could cheer them especially.
I ran in a canary yellow Wallabies singlet (with Qantas’ name and logo on the front as the sponsor) and green Socceroos shorts. Now, I thought that was as Aussie as I could get. But it appears that Australian green and gold are not very well known in the north-east of America. I heard more shouts of “you go Qantas” than “come on Aussie”. I think that most people thought that my name was Qantas.
Having said that, the crowds really were fantastic. Their support was phenomenal, and so many were there with garden hoses, oranges, ice and wet towels for the runners. This was in addition to what had been provided by the organisers.
I was expecting the field to be around 27,000 runners. This would easily be the biggest race I have ever been a part of. Later I’d find out that many people made the decision not to run and only around 22,500 started the race. Even so, the feeling of being part of the mass of runners all heading in the same direction for so long was amazing.
Given the logistics of getting that many runners transported to the start line, the race doesn’t start until 10am. With the heat, all plans of a PB were out the window. Having run Sydney Marathon last year in similar heat I had some idea of what to expect and aimed to take it slowly. I was optimistically thinking that an extra 10 minutes on top of my 3:30 goal time might be a realistic new target.
As most of the first half is downhill, I tried to conserve my energy for the later stages. A fairly constant 5:15 per km pace got me to halfway in 1 hour 50. Unfortunately, my speed went downhill after around 25km.
It was the heat that got to me more than the hills. The last hill, Heartbreak Hill, is not as steep as the one in Sydney’s City2Surf, but is much harder being at the 20mile stage of a marathon compared to 4km into a 14km fun run. The hills at Boston do slow you down but they are runnable, but the heat was far worse.
I ended up running/walking the last 10km. I’d pick a marker in the distance and run to that, then walk for a bit. The last 10km was where my time blew out, but I probably would have been looking at around 3:50 even without the walking. A lot of that last 10km was a blur, with me hoping that the next mile marker would come around quickly so that there was another drink station (and a chance to walk and not be passed). The crowds were so loud over that section that there was no way you would stop and walk off the course there. In the end I do remember seeing the Citgo sign which meant we were near the city and the last few streets before the finish.
After crossing the finish line I liked the irony of the heat blankets were provided – these are usually used to protect finishers from hypothermia. I was glad that the Westin Copley Hotel organised by Travelling Fit was literally around the corner from the finish. Even though I could barely walk I knew I could make it that far back to the comfort of the hotel.
One day later, the newspaper headlines were calling it a ‘survival race’ and I don’t think they are exaggerating. One reporter who ran the race noted that everyone was probably going 20 to 40 minutes slower than they thought they would be. The winning time was 2:12:40, much slower than 2011’s fastest ever run of 2:03:02. My own finishing time was a personal worst of 4:01, but it still put me in the top half overall, which gives some indication how tough it was for everyone.
Afterwards I saw one comment on facebook from a friend that said “congratulations. Forget about the time. You can now say that you have achieved something very few do.”
Having now run Boston and been a part of their long history, it’s time to enjoy the rest of the holiday. Boston is where there’s Harvard University, famous art galleries, and some modern American culture (eating hot dogs and popcorn while watching a Red Sox game at the 100-year old Fenway Park). Then it’s down to New York to see other world famous sights.
Cheers from Boston.