2014 Boston Marathon Mile Guide

Runners and spectators, follow these game plans to have the best Boston Marathon experience ever.

MILE 0

In the Beginning

All is still on Marathon Monday morning. Once runners get off the bus in Hopkinton, there’s only way back: on foot.

MILE 13

Game Plan: Wellesley

In this tony suburb, it’s all about the “Scream Tunnel,” that infamous wall of sound created by the students at Wellesley College just before runners hit the halfway mark. Undergrads are known to dole out motivational kisses to exhausted marathoners, too.

MILE 21

Game Plan: Boston College

The coeds that station themselves at the top of Heartbreak Hill know their beer-soaked enthusiasm gives runners a much-needed spike in adrenaline as they hit the Heights.

MILE 25

Game Plan: Kenmore Square

Expect ebullient Sox fans to pour out of Fenway just as the mid-pack of runners swarms Kenmore Square.

MILE 26.2

Game Plan: The Finish Line

All eyes will be on Boylston Street this year, and there’s no better place to celebrate our resilience.

 

boston marathon starting line

Runners get ready at the starting line of the 2012 Boston Marathon in Hopkinton. / Boston Marathon 2012 Photo by Marcio Jose Bastos Silva via Shutterstock.com

MILE 0

In the Beginning

All is still on Marathon Monday morning. Slowly, lithe, Lycra-clad runners begin converging on Boston Common, waiting for the buses to whisk them to Hopkinton. It’s a 40-minute ride to the starting line. But once you get off the bus, there’s only way back: on foot.

Runners are everywhere you look. Some are massaging tight muscles; some are tying and retying their shoes; many are waiting in growing port-a-potty lines. Questions hang in the air—Did I train on enough hills? Should I pee again? What the hell am I doing here?—but the “what ifs” stop mattering in the queue. “When there are three or four minutes to go, it gets quiet, almost eerily quiet,” says longtime starting-line painter and announcer Jack LeDuc. “Once in a while you hear a cowbell, but other than that, the runners are all focused and just can’t wait to get going. All that pent-up energy and all that training—this is the big dance.” Time for one last prayer, one last double knot, one last stretch—and then it’s one foot in front of the other for 26.2 miles.


RELATED: The Boston Marathon, By the Numbers »


Runners’ Poll:

We asked 78 past and present Boston Marathon participants for the inside track on their race experiences.

Q:
How many times do you visit the port-a-potty before the race starts?

boston marathon pie chart bathroom

Q:
Describe your thoughts as you wait for the race to start.

“I can’t f***ing believe I’m in the Boston Marathon!” —Cheryl Flynn, 47, Concord

“Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God. I hope I finish and don’t disappoint anyone that donated money on my behalf!” —Rob Sutfin, 34, Boston

boston marathon brain map start feelings

—Caitlin Hynes O’Callaghan, 32, Cambridge


Catch a Glimpse of Your Favorite Marathoners in Action at the Starting Line

• Wheelchair Division (Men and Women): 9:17 a.m.
• Elite Women: 9:32 a.m.
• Elite Men: 10 a.m.
• Your Friend: 10:50 a.m.

(Calculations based on 2014 starting times and the pace of last year’s top finishers.)

 

NEXT: Mile 13, Wellesley »


boston marathon wellesley poster

Photo by Toan Trinh

MILE 13

Game Plan: Wellesley

In this tony suburb, it’s all about the “Scream Tunnel,” that infamous wall of sound created by the students at Wellesley College just before runners hit the halfway mark. Undergrads are known to dole out motivational kisses to exhausted marathoners, too. —Loren Savini

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What to Pack

A picnic setup is ideal if you’re planning to watch from Hunnewell Park, which has tables and benches for al fresco dining.

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How to Get There

Parking tickets will be handed out in abundance, so your best bet is to take the commuter rail’s Framingham/Worcester line to the Wellesley Square or Wellesley Hills stations, which will remain open during the race.

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Where to Eat

The marathon route runs right through Wellesley’s business district, so there are plenty of places to fuel up; slices at the Old School Italian Pizzeria are a perennial favorite, as are the discounted large pies.

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Where to Drink

All that whistling and shouting will leave you parched. The Local, right off the route on Forest Street, has a nice selection of craft beers on tap.

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When to Arrive

Because the first wave of runners typically reaches the area at about 10 a.m., setting up around 9 is ideal.

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Where to Sit/Stand

In the Wellesley College area you’ll find more screaming girls than at a One Direction concert; downtown offers a crowd that’s decidedly more adult. For a laid-back experience, try Hunnewell Park: Located on a hill, it offers the best overall view of the race.

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Bathroom Break

Hunnewell Park has a public-restroom facility—lines will be long, but there are few other options in the area.

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Must-Have Item

Make like a coed and apply ChapStick before kissing your favorite runner good luck (but maybe not if you’re suffering from a cold that week).


Sign-Making, Wellesley-Style

Chugging through the Scream Tunnel is a rite of passage for runners, as cheering undergrads wave banners to signify the marathon’s midpoint. It’s a campus-wide tradition at Wellesley College, and one anchored by a very official creative team: the house council at Munger Hall dorm. Weeks before the race, this group takes requests from marathoners’ loved ones via Facebook or email, then handpaints neon posters each night leading up to the big day. The signs are then distributed among students to wave along the course.

To accommodate the projected spike in demand this year, house council president Molly Tyler says Munger Hall’s Scream Tunnel Signs Facebook page will take requests right up until the Friday before the marathon. Making your own? Tyler suggests using your runner’s name, not just the bib number; keeping your message concise; and squeezing in an inside joke so the placard can double as a memento. —Leah Mennies


RELATED: How to Hand Off H2O to a Runner »


Runners’ Poll:
We asked 78 past and present Boston Marathon participants for the inside track on their race experiences.

Q:
What’s the weirdest or funniest thing you’ve seen along the course?

 “A husband holding a sign saying, “No more early-morning runs means more late-night _______.” —Lauren Pepe, 29, Boston

“Saw a guy running virtually naked in 2011. He had a loincloth on. That’s it. Wasn’t even wearing shoes.” —Wendy Akeson, 45, Ashland


Catch a Glimpse of Your Favorite Marathoners in Action at Mile 13.1

• Wheelchair Division Men: 10 a.m.
• Wheelchair Division Women: 10:10 a.m.
• Elite Women: 10:45 a.m.
• Elite Men: 11:05 a.m.
• Your Friend (assuming a 9:30 pace): 12:54 p.m.

(Calculations based on 2014 starting times and the pace of last year’s top finishers.)

 

NEXT: Mile 21, Boston College »


boston marathon boston college mile 21

Young spectators pass out water during the 2012 Boston Marathon at Mile 21, Boston College. / Boston Marathon 2012 Photo by Dani Villanueva on Flickr

MILE 21

Game Plan: Boston College

The coeds that station themselves at the top of Heartbreak Hill know their beer-soaked enthusiasm gives runners a much-needed spike in adrenaline as they hit the Heights. —Janelle Nanos

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What to Pack

Water, sunscreen, and sneakers—just in case you get the urge to sprint the last curve of Comm. Ave.

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How to Get There

Hop off the Green Line at BC, Reservoir, or Chestnut Hill Avenue.

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Where to Sit/Stand

The largest crowds gather at Cleveland Circle, where students coach runners through the turn onto Beacon Street.

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Where to Eat

For a respite from the crowds, hit Fuel America, on Chestnut Hill Avenue, where you’ll find homemade sodas at half off during the race.

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Where to Drink

Find a spot on Cityside’s rooftop patio to get a bird’s-eye view of the race. Other than that, there are only two words: Mary Ann’s. If there’s one day to experience BC’s most notorious bar, this is it.

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Bathroom Break

If you’re close to campus, befriend a student and ask to use his loo.

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When to Arrive

Students will likely start their “marathon of beers” (that’s 26 beers in 24 hours) at midnight, but for the average spectator, getting situated just before 9 a.m. is a safe bet.

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Must-Have Item

A gold Superfan shirt (or anything yellow, really) will help you blend in.


Runners’ Poll:
We asked 78 past and present Boston Marathon participants for the inside track on their race experiences.

Q:
Have you ever had a beer while running the marathon?

boston marathon pie chart beer


RELATED: Three Creative Drinks You Can Craft in a Solo Cup »


Catch a Glimpse of Your Favorite Marathoners in Action at Mile 21

• Wheelchair Division Men: 10:26 a.m.
• Wheelchair Division Women: 10:41 a.m.
• Elite Women: 11:29 a.m.
• Elite Men: 11:44 a.m.
• Your Friend (assuming a 9:30 pace): 2:10 p.m.

(Calculations based on 2014 starting times and the pace of last year’s top finishers.)

 

NEXT: Mile 25, Kenmore Square »


boston marathon kenmore square

FEVER PITCH: The Red Sox, the runners, the screaming throngs—that’s why Kenmore Square is the best place to be on the best day of the year in Boston. / Photo by Steven Wolfe

MILE 25

Game Plan: Kenmore Square

Expect ebullient Sox fans to pour out of Fenway just as the mid-pack of runners swarms Kenmore Square. —Melissa Malamut

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What to Pack

Earplugs—the crowds can be even rowdier here than at the finish line. Aspirin will also come in handy, especially if you plan on throwing back a few early-morning bloody marys.

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How to Get There

Take the Green Line to Kenmore. Yes, meters are free because of the holiday, but driving to (and through) Kenmore Square is hard enough on a game day, never mind when there are an extra 100,000 people in the neighborhood—and major road closures.

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When to Arrive

Really early. The Cask ‘n Flagon, on Brookline Avenue, has a line of 150 to 200 people as early as 8 a.m., according to owner Dana Van Fleet.

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Where to Sit/Stand

Your best bet is to try to snag a spot along Beacon Street before reaching the square. If you do end up on Commonwealth Avenue, keep in mind that the only sure-fire way to cross the street on Marathon Monday is through the T tunnel.

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Where to Eat

Eastern Standard offers top-notch fare and prime spectating perches—if you’re lucky enough to snag a table, that is. Locals in the know arrive after the Red Sox game starts, between 11 and 11:30 a.m.

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Where to Drink

Party with industry folks at Cornwall’s, an English pub just off the route, after they’ve clocked out for the night. The Hawthorne offers a low-key space for sipping craft cocktails with your crew.

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Bathroom Break

Head to Bertucci’s. “We won’t turn you away,” says shift manager Kara Canole, “even if you don’t order anything.” The restaurant is also a popular (and relatively quiet) place for runners and their families to refuel after the race.

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Must-Have Item

A Sox cap, even if you’re not going to the game.


Runners’ Poll:
We asked 78 past and present Boston Marathon participants for the inside track on their race experiences.

Q:
What’s the funniest thing you’ve seen along the marathon course?

“A guy with a cigarette hanging from his mouth and holding a beer yelling at me, saying I was going too slow.” —John D., 41, Stoneham


RELATED: Make Some Noise As You Cheer for Runners »


Catch a Glimpse of Your Favorite Marathoners in Action at Mile 25

• Wheelchair Division Men: 10:39 a.m.
• Wheelchair Division Women: 10:57 a.m.
• Elite Women: 11:51 a.m.
• Elite Men: 12:04 p.m.
• Your Friend (assuming a 9:30 pace): 2:48 p.m.

(Calculations based on 2014 starting times and the pace of last year’s top finishers.)

 

NEXT: Mile 26.2, The Finish Line »


boston marathon finish line rita jeptoo

Kenyan Rita Jeptoo wins the elite women’s race of the 2013 Boston Marathon. / Photo by Regina Mogilevskaya

MILE 26.2

Game Plan: The Finish Line

All eyes will be on Boylston Street this year, and there’s no better place to celebrate our resilience. —Janelle Nanos

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What to Pack

Nothing. Lightening your load will make it easier on you (and the police), says Tom Meagher, the Boston Marathon’s finish-line coordinator.

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How to Get There

The Copley T station is closed on Patriot’s Day, so opt for the Arlington, Mass. Ave., or Hynes Convention Center stops to get near the finish.

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When to Arrive

As early as possible. With heightened security and twice as many spectators as usual anticipated along the route, getting a prime spot will be tougher than ever.

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Where to Sit/Stand

The south side of Boylston Street is slightly wider, making it easier to maneuver through the crowds—and enjoy a little elbow room once you do find a place to stand.

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Where to Eat

Forum was hit hard last year, but it’s back in 2014 with a remodeled space and a menu for the whole family.

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Where to Drink

The Pour House opens its doors at 7 a.m., serving the most dedicated spectators their Marathon Monday mimosas.

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Bathroom Break

The Prudential Center’s stalls are far cleaner than any port-a-john.

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Must-Have Items

Tissues and waterproof mascara, as the finish line promises to evoke an array of emotions.


Runners’ Poll:
We asked 78 past and present Boston Marathon participants for the inside track on their race experiences.

 “Stop running.” —Rob Brecher, 31, Newton

“High-five and hug somebody. Likely the first person I see. Even if I don’t know them.” —Vincenzo DiGirolamo, 29, Charlestown


RELATED: Shalane Flanagan Seeks Redemption in 2014 »

PLUS: Are You Faster Than a Minor Celebrity? »


Catch a Glimpse of Your Favorite Marathoners in Action at the Finish Line

• Wheelchair Division Men: 10:43 a.m.
• Wheelchair Division Women: 11:02 a.m.
• Elite Women: 11:58 a.m.
• Elite Men: 12:10 p.m.
• Your Friend (assuming a 9:30 pace): 2:59 p.m.

(Calculations based on 2014 starting times and the pace of last year’s top finishers.)

 

MORE: Pro Tips for Boston Marathon Spectators


Source URL: http://www.bostonmagazine.com/news/article/2014/03/25/boston-marathon-2014-mile-guide/