Your Guide to the Best Marathon Ever

Our unofficial, irreverent, and completely idiosyncratic guide to Boston’s biggest day. —Edited by Courtney Hollands

This guide originally appeared in the April 2014 issue of Boston magazine.


Armed with stencils and spray cans, and assisted by his two daughters and friends, Ashland resident Jack LeDuc has painted the Boston Marathon starting line for more than 30 years. He’s also run the race 15 times. / Photograph by Scott M. Lacey

In 2013, Boston vowed to finish the race. On Marathon Monday, starting in the wee hours, runners, families, Sox fans, and college kids will take to the streets to celebrate the one event that ties Greater Boston together in a single, unbroken line. Hundreds of thousands will come to cheer on friends and strangers. Thousands more will come to celebrate Boston’s strength and diversity. In fact, we’re certain that this marathon—all 138,336 glorious, sign-plastered, blister-inducing feet of it—will be the best attended in the race’s history. And so, for the uninitiated and the seasoned spectators alike, we present our unofficial, irreverent, and completely idiosyncratic guide to Boston’s biggest day.

Mile Guide

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

Pro Tips for Spectators

Learn how to cheer, how to hand off water, and what to stock in your Solo cup.

Her Big Finish

In 2014, Marblehead native Shalane Flanagan will get one more shot at redemption.

Are You Faster Than a (Minor) Celebrity?

See how long it took your favorite B-listers to conquer Boylston Street in recent years.

Back to Boylston

Runners whose shoes were featured on our May 2013 cover talk training, memories, and what the marathon means to them one year later.

Web Extra: Boston Marathon Google Map

Browse notable sights along the route.