Inspired by the 1896 Summer Olympics in Athens, the Boston Marathon has welcomed the toughest of the tough along a 26.2-mile journey for well over a century. Marking its 122nd year, the Marathon has grown from just 15 to now 30,000 participants -- and that doesn’t even include a fraction of the fans. Last year, 1 million spectators made their way to watch the runners zoom on by.
With an incredible spirit from participants and all who watch, the Marathon is a testament to “Boston Strong,” felt in the race, in the stands and around the world. Now five years since the Boston bombings, crowds will come together to witness another year of triumphant moments in so many lives.
This year, the Marathon, organized by the Boston Athletic Association, celebrates a “Year of Service” -- an ode to the 1918 Boston Marathon Military Relay and all firefighters, doctors, nurses, military, law enforcement and BAA volunteers serving the local community and country.
So get your signs ready and prepare to wreck your voice, here’s what you need to know before the big day.
When does the race start and end?
Marathon Monday kicks off on April 16, or Patriots' Day, with the first race starting before 9am. See below for all start times: 8:40am: Mobility impaired 9:02am: Men’s push-rim wheelchair 9:04am: Women’s push-rim wheelchair 9:25am: Handcycle & duos 9:32am: Elite women’s 10:00am: Elite men’s and Wave One 10:25am: Wave Two 10:50am: Wave Three 11:15am: Wave Four *Start times are tentative and subject to change
According to the BAA’s website, participants will have until 5:30pm to cross the finish line as awards commence at the Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel from 5-6pm.
What else is going on around the Marathon?
Marathon Weekend has plenty of activities to get you ready for the main event including the BAA’s 5K, Invitational Mile, Relay Challenge on Saturday, April 14 and pre-race dinner at City Hall Plaza from 4-8pm on Sunday, April 15.
In addition, the John Hancock Sports & Fitness Expo (free and open to the public) will be taking place Friday through Sunday at 200 Seaport Boulevard in downtown Boston. While you’re there, you can catch a glimpse of the elite athletes picking up their bibs, scope out some official race swag, and sit in on the inspirational “Runner’s Seminar Series,” with topics led by former Marathon winners.
What's the route like?
The course map begins in Hopkinton and ends at the legendary finish line on Boylston Street in Copley Square. While en route, runners will pass through Ashland, Framingham, Natick, Wellesley, Newton, and Brookline before reaching the city. The route also follows along Commonwealth Avenue and Beacon Street before hitting the final and most famous turns of the Marathon, “Right on Hereford, left on Boylston.” Check out BAA’s course map for a complete look at the race.