Race: Boston Marathon
Runner: Dan S
Location: Boston, MA
Results – 3:32:23
3 Bests – what aspects of the race did you like the most
The whole opportunity to run and experience of participating in this event.
The aura and energy surrounding the event.
The unprecedented spectator and volunteer support.
Not so much – aspects of the race that didn’t do it for you
We sat in the “Athlete’s Village” in Hopkinton for the better part of two hours waiting to go to the start corrals. There must be a reason why the official busses from the finish area in Boston arrive in Hopkinton so long before the race starts, but I do not know the reason.
Weird factor – what’s the weirdest thing about this race
Nothing about the race struck me as particularly “weird.”
Highlights of your race – what did you do well and enjoy about your race in particular
This is a tough response to put in words… I did not run a particularly fast marathon (one of my slowest ever) and at the same time, the event was a remarkable experience. As outlined in the “three bests” above, the whole energy around and support for the event and the runners is unprecedented and humbling. It is really something to be experienced and not done justice in a print description.
Lessons for others – share your pro-tips on the race to help the next runner
I understand that going out too fast (and then suffering in the hills later in the run) is a common mistake. I am sure that there are literally books written about Boston Marathon strategy and tactics – I don’t really have any professional tips to add to the body of knowledge that’s already out there.
Lessons you learned that will help you next time around
Nothing strikes me as a major lesson learned from this event. Maybe staying to the right of the road (a *little* more shade earlier in the course) would have been of marginal benefit with the sun exposure.
Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race
I don’t have much to present here, either. As noted above, this is such a hallowed race that there are likely books full of course specifics. I have no insight to add.
Aesthetics – is it a pretty course
Yes. The course runs through a series of small New England towns as it wends its way to Boston. The course also runs through some pretty parts of Boston.
Difficulty – is it a tough course
Deceptively, yes. Despite the net negative elevation gain, the heat (during 2017) and the hills later in the course were factors to reckon with – even though we had a tail wind (in 2017). As outlined above, this was the slowest marathon I have run in over two years. I would not recommend underestimating the course.
Organized and well run – did it feel like a well–oiled machine or were they flying by the seat of their pants?
This event (Athlete’s Village wait aside) was the most well-oiled marathon production machine I have seen.
Competition – is there a strong field?
Yes. Some of the best runners in the world compete in this event.
Logistics – Does it require a special handshake, registration a year in advance, hotels all booked? Give us the low down on the nuts and bolts of making the race happen.
Yes, this event takes advanced planning. Registration occurs over six months in advance and requires time qualification. I would recommend booking travel early – there were almost 30,000 runners in the event in 2017. The event is a big deal in Boston and I expect that flight and hotel costs and availability reflect this fact.
The best I have ever seen. Deep aid stations, staffed by qualified volunteers literally ever mile, on both sides of the road. Spectacular runner aid.
Weather and typical race conditions –
This is an early-mid spring event in the northeast – it could be warm and sunny or cold and wet. It was warm (well into the 70s, at least) in 2017. In years past, I understand that it has been raining, windy, and cool. I also understand that Wednesday after the (2017) race, temperatures were forecast to be into the 30s.
Gear – did you need anything special or is there anything you’d recommend for the next guy?
No, I did not bring anything special, nor do I recommend anything special. This is a big, very well supported road race.
Spectators – is this a friendly course for your friends
Yes, the majority of the course is lined with spectators.
There are also spots where the course goes very close to “T” (metro) stations and I understand that intrepid spectators can ride the train to see runners at several spots along the course.
I also understand that with all of the spectators along the course and near the finish, it is unlikely to expect to see a runner along the course *and* to meet them at the finish. It is very busy near the finish on race day and the streets are literally packed with spectators. As such, it can be difficult to move around the finish area.
I believe that the winners receive well over $100,000 each.
The Overall Score – how many stars do you give this race and do you recommend that others run it
This event earns as many stars as possible. Boston Marathon really does set the bar as a spectacular event. If you get the opportunity to run this race, I highly recommend that you do whatever you can to take advantage of the opportunity. A really powerful event.