Pro Tips for Boston Marathon Spectators

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

boston marathon water

Water Photo via

Beat the Bonk

We, as spectators, have a very important job to do: get runners to the finish line. But what to do when they look like they’re about to hit the wall?

Seek Middle Ground: Sure, watching from the start or finish lines might be more exciting, but Adam Naylor, of Telos Sports Psychology Coaching, says that your cheering is most useful somewhere in between. By picking a mile marker in advance, you can give runners a much-needed boost and an energy gel or two—carbs!—right when they need it the most.

Don’t Overdo It: If your friend is dogging it, you may think you’re helping by shouting, “You can make it!” or “Don’t give up!”—but cheers that imply a marathoner is struggling can dent his or her confidence, says Richard Ginsburg, a sports psychologist at MGH. Better to go with simple encouragement that reinforces how well they are doing. —Jason Schwartz


How to Hand Off H2O to a Runner

Lauren Jones, co-captain of the BAA’s 25-mile hydration station, and Chris Chesmore, a longtime race-day volunteer, show us the pro way to help hydrate racers on Marathon Monday. —S. I. Rosenbaum


Make Some Noise

Choose an instrument wisely to ensure your runner hears you above the din. —S. I. Rosenbaum


Sources: CBC Sports, the Center for Hearing and Communication, and the Telegraph.

Going Solo

Before you dismiss the red plastic cup as a vestige of college parties past, consider this: It’s the ultimate tool for assembling carefully calibrated cocktails. Even the pros are onboard. “This is how I roll—this is how we tailgate,” says Jackson Cannon, Eastern Standard’s beverage director. The key, he says, is to use the lines of the cup to measure ingredients. We asked Cannon and two other bartenders to offer up creative quaffs that can be crafted entirely in an 18-ounce cup*—with nary a jigger in sight (a spoon or stray chopstick, however, may come in handy). —Leah Mennies

* These diagrams were created with a generic red cup. Solo overhauled its basic design a few years ago; if you opt for the brand’s new square-bottom cup, note that similar measurements can be achieved by using the letters on the side of the cup and its wavy top lines.

Grand Finales

Cross the line in style with one of these photo finishes.


+ Extra points for executing any of these moves while carrying a shot or beer procured from the spectators.

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Check out more from our Boston Marathon guide.