Boston Marathon Mile Guide

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

boston marathon wellesley poster

Photo by Toan Trinh


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

icon 1

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.

icon 5

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.

icon 2

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.

icon 6

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.

icon 3

When to Arrive

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

icon 7

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.

icon 4

Bathroom Break

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

icon 8

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 in 2014, house council president Molly Tyler said Munger Hall’s Scream Tunnel Signs Facebook page would 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

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

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 2013’s top finishers.)


NEXT: Mile 21, Boston College »

Back to full mile guide.

boston marathon shoe icon

Check out more from our Boston Marathon guide.