boston marathon race infoDate: 4/15/19

Location: Boston, MA

Start Time: 10am (wave starts)

Avg Temps (f): 56/40

Time Limit: 6 hours

Lessons Learned from Race Reports

  • Be ready to spend a lot of time in the Athlete’s Village in Hopkinton before the start, so plan accordingly with clothing and food/water. You have to check a finish line gear bag before going to the start, so wear only what you plan to keep on or what you’re willing to shed and not get back.
  • It’s a deceptively hard course, as most people go out too hard on the initial downhill, then pay for it on the later hills, and if temps are hot and humid (seems to happen frequently), then it’s all the more challenging
  • Weather is anything but predictable with April on the East Coast. Weather has been all over the place in previous years, so plan accordingly with bringing different clothing options
  • So easy to go out too fast with the energy and excitement of the race, and the downhill start; can’t emphasize this enough. Seasoned veterans make the mistake time and again.
  • Rolling hills from miles 16-21, a tough section since your legs are already tired, and if you’ve gone out too fast, they are all the more difficult
  • Sunscreen! If it’s sunny, you’ll definitely get sunburnt, especially with such a late start time
  • You run the entire race on the road. Watch for some potholes and avoid running in line with the road turtles (bumps between lanes) to avoid a twisted ankle.


Type: Point to Point, start in Hopkinton and run back to Boston

Start/Finish Info: Shuttles to the start; be sure to know where to go to get the shuttle, and how to get home (likely using the train system); have a plan ahead of time because your brain and body aren’t likely to be very helpful post-race.

Hills: 7 total climbs; Longest climb is “heartbreak hill,” gaining about 100ft of elevation over less than half a mile. Not super steep, but you definitely feel it after all the downs.

Course Map; Elevation Gain/Loss is about 700/1100


  1. The start is energizing, with helicopter flyovers, a massive crowd of runners, and spectators already cheering and offering you beers! Don’t let the excitement get to you, encouraging you to go out too fast!
  2. You lose about 300ft of elevation in the first 4 miles. If you aren’t stuck in crowds slowing you down it’s really easy to go too fast here – DONT! Be patient. If you are stuck in the crowd don’t do too much jockeying to get around people as you’ll waste a ton of energy and won’t go that much faster. Either way, be patient and it will payoff later!
  3. Mile 4 to mile 16 is mostly flat with some slight rolling hills, and ending with another downhill losing about 120ft over half a mile. Keep it chill in these middle miles and stick to your plan.
  4. Miles 16 to 21 have a series of 4 hills that will test whether you held it together at the beginning of the race, and if you prepared for the hills in your training. The first 3 hills range between 50 and 75ft gains, and finally culminate in the climb up “heartbreak hill” starting about mile 20.3 and ending just before 21, gaining about 100 feet.
  5. If you’ve made it this far keeping it together you’re at the fun part! You have 3 miles of downhill and then 2 miles of flat to the finish! Gobble up those that are paying back the debt for not being disciplined early in the race and cruise home to the huge Boston finishing line crowds.

Aid stations

Gatorade and Poland Spring water are available about every mile along the course as well as at the finish line, and Cliff Energy Gels are available (not noted where).

Spectator access

With the enormous crowds at Boston it can be difficult to see your runner at many spots. Pick 2 or 3 that are easily accessible from the train.

Boston qualifier?

Yes, you can re-qualify for Boston at Boston

Race reports

Andrew K’s 2018 race report

Alan V’s 2018 race report

Ather H’s 2018 race report

Dan S’s 2018 race report

Dan S’s 2017 race report

Matt U’s 2017 race report

Strava links

Race Website

Are you running Boston or trying to qualify for Boston? Hiring a running coach could help you run your best and achieve your goals! Find an experienced marathon running coach today.