boston marathon race info

In this post, find all the Boston Marathon race info you could possibly want to know. Read on for our runners’ reviews of the course, the wait before the race, the gear for bad weather, and more!

When is the Boston Marathon?

The Boston Marathon is held annually in April (except in 2021, when it is October 11).

What is the weather like for the Boston Marathon?

The weather in Boston is hard to predict, particularly in the spring. The average temperature for April is around 56 degrees Fahrenheit as a high and a low of 40 degrees. Some years are warm and sunny while others are cold and wet. Our runners have lots of tips for managing the cold weather. Top of the list: bring throw-away clothes for sitting around in Athlete’s Village before the race. There are donation boxes for clothes you won’t wear while running. On the flip side, if it is sunny, don’t forget your sunscreen!

Check out the individual race reports below for more tips from our runners.

What should I know about the Boston Marathon course?

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

Team RunRun runners want you to know that the Boston Marathon course is deceptively hard. 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, then it’s all the more challenging. Also, 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.

Here is a course description from some of our runners:

  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.

What are the aid stations like at the Boston Marathon?

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).

Can my friends and family watch me run the Boston Marathon?

Yes, although there are such enormous crowds that it can be difficult to see your runner at many spots. Pick 2 or 3 that are easily accessible from the train.

Can I qualify for next year’s Boston Marathon by running this year’s?

Yes, you can re-qualify for Boston at Boston

Get more tips from our runner race reports!

Boston Marathon Race Report – Dakotah Lindwurm

Race: Boston Marathon Runner: Dakotah Lindwurm Race Date: 10/11/2021 Location: Boston, MA Results: 2:31:04, 13th Overall, 3rd American Strava Activity Link: https://www.strava.com/activities/6097639897 3 Bests – What aspects of the race did you like the most? The absolute best part of the race is the crowd and the atmosphere. There are almost no silent parts of the race. You have support ...
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boston marathon race report

Boston Marathon Race Report – Ather H

"I ran my first Boston Marathon in 2014 and that was my way of honoring those who lost their lives or were injured during the 2013 Boston marathon bombings. This year was my third. Boston is special because it attracts runners from all over the world. The diversity is electrifying and the crowd, galvanizing. Despite the weather this year, Bostonians ...
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boston marathon race report

Boston Marathon Race Report – Alan V

In this Boston Marathon Race Report, runner Alan shares his experience running the 2018 race, including how he coped with bad weather. Race: Boston Marathon Runner: Alan V Date: 4/16/2018 Location: Boston, MA Results: 2619th in 3:05 Strava Activity Link: https://www.strava.com/activities/1514967816 3 Bests – What aspects of the Boston Marathon did you like the most? The magnitude of the event. So many ...
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boston marathon race report

Boston Marathon Race Report – Andrew K

"The Boston Marathon course has it all. Downhills, late hills, crowds, flats. It's really great course to push you mentally as you need to hold back, save for the back and keep pushing. It's also a course of 'Americana' as you literally start by going down a one lane road, picket fences, home over 200 yrs old, small flag poles ...
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boston marathon

Boston Marathon Race Report – Dan S

In this race report, runner Dan recommends gear for the Boston Marathon so that you will be as comfortable as possible in case of rain! Race: Boston Marathon (2018) Runner: Dan S Date: 4/16/2018 Location: Hopkinton, Massachusetts to Boston, Massachusetts Results: 3:32:45 3 Bests – What aspects of the Boston Marathon did you like the most? It's Boston. 2018 was a ...
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Boston Marathon – Matt U

In this Boston Marathon report, cofounder Matt shares his experience running the 2016 event, including why it is so easy to start too fast. Race: Boston Marathon  Runner: Matt U Date: 4/18/2016 Location: Boston, MA Results – 265th place, 2:45.13 3 Bests – what aspects of the Boston Marathon did you like the most? The energy. So much excitement and energy on the course, ...
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Strava links

https://www.strava.com/activities/946731397

https://www.strava.com/activities/946672688

https://www.strava.com/activities/946505215

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.