Barrel House Z (BHZ) 5k Race Report – Keelin Brennan

Race: Barrel House Z (BHZ) 5k

Runner: Keelin Brennan

Race Date: 08/27/2023

Location: Weymouth, MA

Results: 8th in Age Group

Strava Activity Link: https://www.strava.com/activities/9730991752/overview

3 Bests – What aspects of the race did you like the most?

I really enjoyed hearing all the runners cheer each other on during the race.

Weird factor – What’s the weirdest thing about this race?

During this race we runners definitely started to circle around cars (not a closed course). Found that odd, never saw that happen before. As far as I know everyone turned out fine.

Highlights of your race – What did you do well and enjoy about your race in particular?

My biggest highlight for this race was racing a negative split. I’m bouncing back and feeling optimistic for races to come.

Lessons for others – Share your pro-tips on the race to help the next runner

Don’t be afraid to tackle hills. Hills are tough but everything balances out in the end. Remember, running hills just builds strength.

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

The biggest lesson I learned for this time is to not be afraid to push a little more. A body in motion stays in motion.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

Starts uphill but awesome downhill to finish.

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

It starts and ends at a brewery so a bit industrial there. The course does go through neighborhoods of Weymouth.

Organized and well run – Did it feel like a well-oiled machine or were they flying by the seat of their pants?

This is a very well organized race. BHZ hosts 2 races a year, one in February and this one. They are always a good time.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

Yes, there is a strong field, however, there is a good group of runners that join for fun and exercise. This race is part of the New England Runner Magazine Pub Series and there are lots of great prizes.

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.

This race you can register day of. Many teams sign up a head of time, but you don’t have to.

Aid Stations – Standard fare or anything special to know about the aid stations in terms of what’s available or when?

There is a water station right around the half way mark.

Weather and typical race conditions

Typically humid, but manageable.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

The best place to spectate is at the finish.

How’s the Swag?

T-Shirts are available for those that have registered and great prize swag.

The Overall Score – How many stars do you give this race and do you recommend that others run it?

I’d give this a solid 8/10. There are some potholes on the course. It’s also pretty packed at the beginning, but does spread out over time.

James Joyce Ramble 10k – Eli Queen

Race: James Joyce Ramble/USATF Masters 10k Championships

Runner: Eli Queen

Race Date: 04/30/2023

Location: Dedham, MA

Results: Chip time: 37:35. Gun time: 37:38. 6th M4549.

Strava Activity Link: https://www.strava.com/activities/8985148633

3 Bests – What aspects of the race did you like the most?

  • Part USATF National Masters Championship series
  • Separate championship start
  • Championship competitors are given age/gender back bibs (so you know who you’re racing)

Weird factor – What’s the weirdest thing about this race?

Being James Joyce themed, there are people in costume reading from his works throughout the course.

Highlights of your race – What did you do well and enjoy about your race in particular?

Went out boldly in the first 3 miles … gave myself a shot at a great day. The 4th mile was tough. Steep punchy hills. Constant up and down. Stopped paying attention to the watch, and just tried to keep pushing in that section. I made a real mental effort not to let that mile be the “story” of my race. With the wind and the hills in my legs, the last 2 mi were hard. Happy with how I responded. Competed well, and reengaged with the race. Kicked it in at the end.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

The fourth mile, on the Noble and Greenough School campus, is hard. Lots of turns, and 90ft of elevation gain and loss in non-stop quick ups and downs. It will knock you off your rhythm, but know that the course gets easier for the last 2 miles.

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

It is a pretty course. Much of it is on rolling tree-lined streets.

Organized and well run – Did it feel like a well-oiled machine or were they flying by the seat of their pants?

The event was very well organized. This was the 38th running, and the 9th consecutive year as the masters 10k championships (it’s possible that they have hosted the championships more times than that.) The race starts and ends at the Endicott Estate. It was was a wet/rainy day this year, but the post-race festivities on the lawn (food, live music) seemed like they would be great in better weather.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

Yes, as a national age-group championship there were athletes representing USATF clubs from across the country. There is also a “Citizens Ramble” (open race) that starts 5 min after the masters. The fastest runners form that field get to chase down, and move through, the age-group competitors.

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.

The championship and open races start 5 min apart. There are also separate check-in locations for each race, so make sure you’re standing on the right line.

Aid Stations – Standard fare or anything special to know about the aid stations in terms of what’s available or when?

Standard. It’s a 10k, so even though there are ample water stations, you probably won’t need them unless it’s an unusually hot day.

Weather and typical race conditions

Spring in New England can be anything. This year it was rainy and in the 50’s. Next year … ?

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

The first and last 1+ mi of the course share the same roads, so it’s easy for spectators to catch both the beginning and end

The Overall Score – How many stars do you give this race and do you recommend that others run it?

9/10

Boston Marathon Race Report – Brandon Tower

Race: 2023 Boston Marathon

Runner: Brandon Tower

Race Date: 04/17/2023

Location: Boston, MA

Results: 2:56

Strava Activity Link: https://strava.app.link/KOgakjL19yb

3 Bests – What aspects of the race did you like the most?

  1. Taking part in something with such a rich tradition and significance to the running community
  2. Overwhelming crowd support
  3. Very well organized/executed event

Not so much – Aspects of the race that didn’t do it for you

Only thing, and this is nit-picking, it was difficult for family to see you more than once along the course. My family tried to get from Natick (mile 10) to the finish line in time to see me, but they weren’t able to make it on time

Weird factor – What’s the weirdest thing about this race?

The 3/4 walk just to get to the start line. It makes warming up a little tricky, but there’s an element of it that’s fun too.

Highlights of your race – What did you do well and enjoy about your race in particular?

Just taking moments to be intentional about appreciating and enjoying the fact that I was at the Boston Marathon. I ran as hard as I could, but made sure to have fun doing it.

Lessons for others – Share your pro-tips on the race to help the next runner

If you have a ride to Hopkinton in the morning, and don’t need gear check, getting dropped off at the Hopkinton shuttles is super easy and lets you sleep in a little longer.

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

I might think about doing more training at goal marathon pace. I started cramping early in my calves, and wasn’t able to recover from there.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

The Newton hills during miles 17, 18, 20 and 21 aren’t crazy, but you’ll need something left in the tank for them.

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

Very much so, especially as you get to the back half of the course.

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

It’s got the hills in Newton, but it’s not too bad. It’s got a lot more downhill than up.

Organized and well run – Did it feel like a well-oiled machine or were they flying by the seat of their pants?

After 127 years, they know what they’re doing.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

Eliud Kipchoge showed up, and finished 6th. That tells you all you need to know.

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.

Runners generally need a qualifying marathon time. Once you’re in, don’t wait to book hotels and flights.

Aid Stations – Standard fare or anything special to know about the aid stations in terms of what’s available or when?

Tons of them. Every mile after mile 2.

Weather and typical race conditions

April in Boston has really random weather, and there’s no way to know what you’ll get. Could be anything.

Gear – Did you need anything special or is there anything you’d recommend for the next runner?

Bring clothes for any climate!

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

It’s hard to get around on race day, especially if they’re trying to get to the finish line. The portions of the course during the first half are a lot easier to move around through.

How’s the Swag?

Great shirts, and the expo has a ton of merchandise if you’re looking for more.

The Overall Score – How many stars do you give this race and do you recommend that others run it?

It’s as good as it gets. I hope to do it again next year.

Hyannis Marathon Race Report – Keith Nadeau

Race: Hyannis Marathon

Runner: Coach Keith Nadeau

Race Date: 03/05/2023

Location: Hyannis, MA

Results: 2nd place OA – 2:41:20

Strava Activity Link: https://strava.app.link/hyhTOBUP6xb

3 Bests – What aspects of the race did you like the most?

The course is beautiful! Some beachfronts and backroads out on picturesque Cape Cod. The marathon is two loops of the half marathon course, so it is kind of nice to know whats ahead on the second time around. Lastly, the people are great. Very supportive community of runners, and even had Frank Shorter to send us off and greet runners post race!

Not so much – Aspects of the race that didn’t do it for you

The only thing I didn’t love was that it started at 10am on Sunday. I prefer Saturday races to have the Sunday to relax before going back to work, but it is what it is!

Weird factor – What’s the weirdest thing about this race?

The 10km, half marathon, marathon relay, and marathon all start at the same time. So right off the start it is a a mix of everyone trying to find their groove. The first loop was filled with people, second loop nobody around.

Highlights of your race – What did you do well and enjoy about your race in particular?

This was a marathon PR for me! I eased in nicely, then maybe went a bit too fast for miles 14 to 18 which led to a tough last few miles. I was happy to have not fallen off pace too much grinding it out to the finish. Also, we got extremely lucky with the weather today! The day before had high winds and rain/sleet, but this day was sunny and mild winds.

Lessons for others – Share your pro-tips on the race to help the next runner

This course has some sneaky hills mixed throughout. I had done a course preview a few weeks prior so knew that going into it, and made sure I didn’t overwork myself on the hills. Other than that the beachfronts can be very windy, so similar to the hills trying to relax through them instead of tensing up and straining.

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

Stay steady through the middle! I think I would have had a faster time had I stayed more steady in the middle and finished stronger. Tough game to play with marathons distance and I think I was close to my best execution.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

Two loops, can be windy, crowded start but lonely finish.

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

Very pretty course!

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

Not too hard, but the hills and wind keeps you honest! Not the fastest course but also not extremely difficult.

Organized and well run – Did it feel like a well-oiled machine or were they flying by the seat of their pants?

This event has been going on for a long time and is organized very well!

Competition – Is there a strong field?

This race doesn’t see a very competitive field compared to bigger marathons. Some fast locals out there but not many.

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.

Easy to get in, and a Boston Qualifying race which got me in for 2024 with this year!

Aid Stations – Standard fare or anything special to know about the aid stations in terms of what’s available or when?

Plentiful water stops. They had water and blue Gatorade which actually was very nice to switch things up a few times throughout the race.

Weather and typical race conditions

It’s late winter in New England, so weather could pretty much be anything! This year it was about as good as it gets.

Gear – Did you need anything special or is there anything you’d recommend for the next runner?

With the warm ish weather I went with shorts, upper base layer and TRR jersey, light gloves, a hat and sunglasses. Also, first time running in the Hoka Carbon x2 which worked very well.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

First loop many spectators, second loop it thins out a good amount. Easy to spectate many different locations.

How’s the Swag?

The race comes with a nice athletic long sleeve. They have many other options you can add on, and some cool free things in the race expo before and after race including a full gear shop for last minute purchases!

The Overall Score – How many stars do you give this race and do you recommend that others run it?

I would give this race a 4 out of 5 star rating. Overall it is a great race and run very well!

Keith Nadeau is a coach with Team RunRun. To learn more about him or to work with him, check out his coach profile.

Boston Marathon Race Report – CJ Albertson

Who was that guy leading the first 21 miles of the Boston Marathon? CJ Albertson, of course! We at Team RunRun knew who that rockstar runner and coach was! Read on for CJ’s Boston Marathon Race Report.

Race: Boston Marathon

Runner: CJ Albertson

Race Date: 10/11/2021

Location: Boston

Results: https://boston-iframe.r.mikatiming.net/2021/?pid=leaderboard

Strava Activity Link: https://www.strava.com/activities/6097591246

cj albertson boston marathon
Photo: Kevin Morris

3 Bests – What aspects of the race did you like the most?

1. Leading the first 21 Miles.
2. Interacting with the crowd.
3. Blasting down the hills.

Not so much – Aspects of the race that didn’t do it for you

You can’t complain about anything in Boston.

Lessons for others – Share your pro-tips on the race to help the next runner

Train for the downhills.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

There’s a lot of downhill; train for the downhills.

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

It’s Boston!

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

Did I mention there’s downhills! Lots of downhills!

Competition – Is there a strong field?

It’s not bad 🙂

Aid Stations – Standard fare or anything special to know about the aid stations in terms of what’s available or when?

Best water passers in the world!

Weather and typical race conditions

Could literally be any weather. But October, 11th 2021 was very nice.

Gear – Did you need anything special or is there anything you’d recommend for the next runner?

Brooks jersey, Brooks shorts, Hyperion Elite 2’s.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

My friends (and complete strangers) told me they had a wonderful time watching on TV 🙂

How’s the Swag?

Not as good as Brooks.

The Overall Score – How many stars do you give this race and do you recommend that others run it?

10/10

CJ Albertson is a coach with Team RunRun. To learn more about him or to work with Coach CJ, check out his coaching page.

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

boston marathon dakotah lindwurm
Photo: @vspicturescom

3 Bests – What aspects of the Boston Marathon 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 the entire way, and that is not something you find in many marathons.

I was also really impressed in how many water stops there are. They have one every mile after mile 2, again, this is something I have never seen before.

Not so much – What aspects of the Boston Marathon didn’t do it for you?

There wasn’t anything I would say that I didn’t like about the race or the experience, but the course was more difficult than I had anticipated. For me Heartbreak Hill was not the problem, but more so the first hill you encounter in Newton. For me that felt more like a mountain than a hill. After that, the other three Newton Hills were small in comparison.

Highlights of your race – What did you do well and enjoy about your marathon in particular?

Something I felt I did well was staying calm under pressure and in situations I wasn’t necessarily comfortable with. From the gun, the other elite women were running a strategic race, and no one wanted to take the lead into the headwind. I had a race pace in mind that I planned to stick to, and to my surprise that was enough to lead the race.

I personally use visualization all of the time, so I certainly didn’t feel unprepared for this situation, but never in my wildest dreams did I feel like I would actually be leading. Even though I tried mightily to allow someone else to take the charge, the other women were content with me setting the pace. I had to stay calm and keep my emotions in check during that time of the race.

Lessons for others – Share your pro-tips on the Boston Marathon to help the next runner

While you may not ever find yourself leading a World Marathon Major; you will more than likely find yourself in a position during a race that is less than ideal. You can combat these situations with visualization.

When you’re training you have a lot of time to think about your race. It is super fun to think about all of the ways the race could go well and imagine all the great possibilities that could unfold. And I encourage you to visualize those situations and enjoy that time. BUT also take time to imagine the weather being too warm, too cold, and too wet. Think about how you will feel and how you will adjust not only your race, but also your mindset. With all of the training you put into longer races you have time to think through thousands of scenarios.

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

Next time I will have more appropriate expectations for the hills. For those who haven’t run Boston and want to train for it, I would train on hills bigger than you imagine the Newton hills to be.

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.

Book hotels and flights early, they get expensive quickly.

Aid Stations – Standard fare or anything special to know about the aid stations in terms of what’s available or when?

Every mile they had water and gatorade. They also had three Maurten stops.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

It is a straight shot, so in the aspect of friends and family seeing you on the course, it is not spectator friendly.

The Overall Score – How many stars do you give this race and do you recommend that others run it?

5/5!

Dakotah Lindwurm is a coach with Team RunRun. To learn more about her or to work with Coach Dakotah, check out her coaching page.

New Boston Half Marathon Race Report – Nathan McBride

Race: New Boston Half Marathon

Runner: Nathan McBride

Race Date: 5/16/2021

Location: New Boston, NH

Results: 1:40 (137 OV/10 Division)

Strava Activity Link: https://www.strava.com/activities/5306983424

3 Bests – What aspects of the race did you like the most?

1) The corral system they used for race starting – extremely safe and very very well organized
2) The course was a very nice lollipop loop with some good rollers right when you needed them
3) Good finish line treats

Not so much – Aspects of the race that didn’t do it for you

1) The last 4 miles were on a high camber on road…no escaping it
2) It was 80 minutes from my house and a 7:18am start…not their fault, but this race was rescheduled and moved so many times due to pandemic
3) Nothing else to really moan about…very well run..they must have spent a fortune to do it so well

Weird factor – What’s the weirdest thing about this race?

A ton of pros showed up from around the US…odd considering where the race was and how hard it was to get to.

Highlights of your race – What did you do well and enjoy about your race in particular?

In the back of my head all morning, I had two thoughts: 1) I wish I was not so hungover and 2) I have 5 more races this week so don’t kill myself. That being said, I decided to take out the 10k hard and then just sit back and cruise it in which I did quite well.

Lessons for others – Share your pro-tips on the race to help the next runner

1) Mexican food and margaritas are not good pre-race food…especially when the race is on an exposed course in 75 degree heat.
2) Don’t take out a half marathon that hard unless you have a back half that is even better. Build into the half or at least even split it.
3) Carry food or fuel with you – I didn’t carry anything and that was a BAD mistake.
4) Look at the course map before you go – I am used to just winging it at races but I ran right past a turn and had to go back about 30 yards.
5) See #1.

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

1) Don’t register for a half marathon that has a 4:30am wake up call.
2) Bring at least a handheld with Tailwind if I am going to actually race a half marathon. I can always dump the balance of it if not needed.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

Be prepared for lots of unavoidable camber.

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

Very pretty – follows several rivers in central New Hampshire.

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

Not at all. 292 feet of elevation overall.

Organized and well run – Did it feel like a well-oiled machine or were they flying by the seat of their pants?

Super duper organized – they had my start time down to the second and literally hit it on the nose. It was so well put together from the communications to the parking, etc.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

There was a ridiculous amount of top talent here and I don’t know if thats because people are so starved for races that they are willing to fly to central New Hampshire or what but the top 50 people had very fast times.

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.

Nah super simple – just a basic race form. It is part of an overall points series which you can also participate in.

Aid Stations – Standard fare or anything special to know about the aid stations in terms of what’s available or when?

Every 2 miles through mile 10 and then the last 5k you are on your own.

Weather and typical race conditions

It was low 70’s and sunny at the start. Got hotter as the race went on but perfect day otherwise.

Gear – Did you need anything special or is there anything you’d recommend for the next runner?

Nothing special but I would recommend at least a handheld for next time.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

Very spectator-friendly but none of my friends are getting up that early to watch me run.

How’s the Swag?

Nice technical shirt and medal.

The Overall Score – How many stars do you give this race and do you recommend that others run it?

I would give it 5 out of 5 stars but it’s just too far of a race for me when I can suffer so much closer to home.

Blue Hills Skyline Trail Double Out and Back FKT Trip Report

Blue Hills Skyline Trail Double Out and Back FKT Trip Report – Keith Nadeau

Race: Blue Hills Skyline Trail double out and back FKT

Runner: Keith Nadeau

Race Date: 5/08/2021

Location: Blue Hills Reservation, MA

Results: 5:25:43

Strava Activity Link: https://strava.app.link/tlHx5zMz7fb

Blue Hills Skyline Trail Double Out and Back FKT Trip Report

3 Bests – What aspects of the race did you like the most?

The scenery, terrain, and location are my 3 favorites. Beautiful views all along the way and you can see the Boston skyline from a few spots. The terrain is super challenging for most of the trail and is amazing that something so close to Boston can be so tough. The location is perfect for me as I can go do this in the morning and be home before noon! It is perfect training for running in New Hampshire’s mountains while not having to do the long drive.

Not so much – Aspects of the race that didn’t do it for you

The idea of running the same trail 4 times is not the best, but I think it is good training for loop style races. I prefer course that are point to point or looped so that you get new scenery the whole time.

Weird factor – What’s the weirdest thing about this race?

The weirdest part is that technically it is a point to point trail, but in the middle there is a separate North and South section. For this FKT you have to do both trails each out and back, but also reverse the order for the second out and back.

Highlights of your race – What did you do well and enjoy about your race in particular?

I managed my effort all day better than ever before. It’s so hard to push this hard while still being smart and I think for the most part I nailed it this time around. I was flying on the flats and downhill, but right from the start made sure not to kill myself on the ups. This made it so that even nearing the end I was still moving well on the ups and only a little slower than the start.

Lessons for others – Share your pro-tips on the race to help the next runner

Practice this course! Since my last FKT run over a year ago I spent a lot of time on these trails learning the ins and outs. It’s incredible how far course knowledge can take you on a race effort.

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

This run broke through mental and physical barriers for me. I learned mostly to not limit perceived ability to what is comfortable or that you know you can achieve. Last year I maxed out at 6 hours and 30 minutes, and going into this I thought maybe I could go under 5 hours and 40 minutes but the thought of that was hard to conceive. It is during these efforts that we can become the runner we dream of and that all starts in the mind and believing it’s possible. I stayed in the moment and got into a different headspace than ever before.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

The course is gnarly! Over 8k climbing in the 30 miles and almost all of the trail is filled with large and medium sized rocks/roots. Very important to be confident running fast over technical terrain and holding that focus from start to finish. It becomes mentally exhausting towards the end and thats where you need to be most careful.

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

The course moves across the Blue Hills just south of Boston. Many great views and scenery to take in along the way. You can easily feel very remote until you pop out to see the skyline and realize where you actually are. It’s amazing that this place exists and is reserved for us to play in.

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

For 30 miles this feels hard. The climbing and terrain make this very tough!

Organized and well run – Did it feel like a well-oiled machine or were they flying by the seat of their pants?

Partly why I love these FKT efforts is the flexibility. You can choose the perfect day and start whenever you want. This day was perfect being around 50 degrees and overcast so it wasn’t too hot. It was on a Saturday however so I ran into multiple large groups that I made sure to stay respectful of. It’s easy to forget you are on a trail being used by others and it’s important to give people space and not just run straight through.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

This has seen much more attention recently and this is the 7th lowered time on the FKT site. I’m hoping the locals will go back out to try and better this time soon!

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.

Go whenever you want! It’s always open!

Aid Stations – Standard fare or anything special to know about the aid stations in terms of what’s available or when?

Since it is a double out and back, it is perfect for a single re-supply mid way.

Weather and typical race conditions

This day was close to perfect. Not many bugs yet, surprisingly dry, and cool temps. One of the rare days of the year where this trail is fastest.

Gear – Did you need anything special or is there anything you’d recommend for the next runner?

I went very minimal for this in hopes that I would feel free and light. I used 2 x .5 liter handheld bottles, one with water and the other with cherry nuun tabs. I wore a Nathan waist belt and had in it my phone, Gu’s, honey stinger waffles, and honey stinger gummies. Other than that I wore some aftershocks headphones with good tunes on the whole time from my phone. This was much better I thought than wearing a full kit for such a hard effort.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

I ran by a few people I knew on this run, and let them know I’d love to stop and chat but didn’t have the time. You can easily do sections of this trail from many different parking spots which is very cool.

How’s the Swag?

No swag 🙁

The Overall Score – How many stars do you give this race and do you recommend that others run it?

I rate this a solid 6/10 with trying to have a non biased perspective. This course and FKT mean a lot to me personally so in that sense I give it a 10/10, but for someone without that background I think it’s still a great FKT route and/or training run for other races and adventures.

Blue Hills Skyline Trail Double Out and Back FKT Trip Report

boston marathon race info

Boston Marathon Race Reports and Info

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 – Brandon Tower

Race: 2023 Boston Marathon Runner: Brandon Tower Race Date: 04/17/2023 Location: Boston, MA Results: 2:56 Strava Activity Link: https://strava.app.link/KOgakjL19yb 3 Bests – What aspects of the race did you like the most? Taking part in something with such a rich tradition and significance to the running community Overwhelming crowd support Very well organized/executed event Not so much – Aspects of ...

2022 Boston Marathon – Matthew Bigman

Race: 2022 Boston Marathon Runner: Coach Matthew Bigman Race Date: 04/18/2022 Location: Boston, MA Results: 2:40:15 Strava Activity Link: https://www.strava.com/activities/7003642888 3 Bests – What aspects of the race did you like the most? The fan support, never being alone on the course, and the history! Not so much – Aspects of the race that didn’t do it for you Late ...

Boston Marathon Race Report – CJ Albertson

Who was that guy leading the first 21 miles of the Boston Marathon? CJ Albertson, of course! We at Team RunRun knew who that rockstar runner and coach was! Read on for CJ's Boston Marathon Race Report. Race: Boston Marathon Runner: CJ Albertson Race Date: 10/11/2021 Location: Boston Results: https://boston-iframe.r.mikatiming.net/2021/?pid=leaderboard Strava Activity Link: https://www.strava.com/activities/6097591246 3 Bests – What aspects of ...

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 Boston Marathon 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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...

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, ...

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.

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 showed up, cheering for the runners all the way to the finish.”

boston marathon race report

Race: Boston Marathon 2018

Runner: Ather H

Date: 4/16/2018

Location: Boston, MA

Results: 3:07:08, (2862th place off 26948 starts!)

Strava Activity Link: https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/2628955581

3 Bests – What aspects of the Boston Marathon did you like the most?

  1. If I were the most interesting man in the world, I’d say “I don’t normally run road races, but when I do, it’s either Boston or qualifying for it”.
  2. I ran my first Boston 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 showed up, cheering for the runners all the way to the finish.
  3. Finally, it is really the thousands of volunteers who make this race a success.

Not so much – What aspects of the Boston Marathon didn’t do it for you?

The weather was a bit of a challenge this year but you’ve probably heard that by now! Many of us had to wait (shivering in the cold and rain) upwards of an hour near the gear check, after crossing the finish line. The gear check is divided by bib numbers and given that at the Boston Marathon, your bib number is your seeding, numbers close to each other, finish close to each other as well. The gear check stalls catering to a certain bib range was crowded whereas the rest were empty. Hopefully they can fix this by having, say, 9 sections, based on the first number of your bib.

Weird factor – What’s the weirdest thing about the Boston Marathon?

  • The Boston Marathon was ‘men’s only’ until 1972. Kathrine Switzer famously entered as “KV Switzer” in 1967 and was nearly stopped by an official. She was able to dodge away and finish.
  • This year, the finish rate for women was higher than men, despite the conditions. Take that, race director(s) of 1960s!

Highlights of your race – What did you do well and enjoy about your race in particular?

  • It was fun to strike conversations with fellow race participants and hear their stories on the bus ride to Hopkington and also at the village.
  • I brought extra clothes to the start and was adequately prepared for the weather (given we spend at least 2 hours at the village before the race start at 10am). This included extra fleece, rain poncho and hand warmers. For a race like Boston where there is a noticeable wait time at the start, I highly recommend looking at the weather forecast and dressing accordingly. This implies including throw away clothes. There are clothes bins at the start and the clothes you shred away, get donated.

Lessons Learned – Share your pro-tips on the Boston Marathon to help the next runner or yourself on the next time around

I underestimated the hail and headwind and decided to race in a t-shirt. I left my rain jacket at the gear check (so that I could collect it after crossing the finish line) and in hindsight, I should’ve worn it, like Desiree! It was cold all through the 26.2 miles. At times we had wind gusts and hail and by mile 17, I was shivering uncontrollably and not able to sustain the core temperature.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the Boston Marathon?

The early downhills can easily entice runners into a faster-than-planned start. The latter half of Boston has a few short climbs including the famous heartbreak hill so starting conservatively definitely helps.

Organized and well run – Did it feel like a well-oiled machine or were they flying by the seat of their pants?

It’s the Boston Marathon! Despite the weather, we had 7000+ volunteers show up and help out at the race.

Logistics – Anything special regarding getting to/from the race, hotels around the course, registration…?

Hotels book out months in advance. I had luck booking hostels at the last minute a couple of times in the past (Boston backpackers hostel is 10 min train ride away from the finish). Having said that, if you are planning to run the Boston Marathon, it is recommended that you book a hotel 8-10 months in advance (before you officially apply!)

boston marathon in the rain

Weather and typical race conditions

My first Boston (2014) was 80+F degrees and sunny. 2015 was rainy and in the 50’s – sort of like Seattle weather. This year definitely stands out in terms of the adverse weather conditions. There was ice on the roads in Hopkington when we arrived and it hailed on us multiple times during the race.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

While that number may have been lower than usual this year, upwards of half a million people show up to cheer on the runners – it is definitely one of the most spectated races in the world. The traffic is super slow moving on race day however so plan accordingly.

How’s the swag?

The unicorn medal is pretty cool. The full sleeve tee is one of my favorites for cold weather running. A lot of people purchase the boston ‘celebration’ jacket.

The Overall Score – How many stars do you give the Boston Marathon and do you recommend that others run it?

11/10. Boston is special – will definitely go back and run every few years, as long as I continue to qualify.

Looking for more intel on the Boston Marathon? Read all of our runners’ reviews on our Boston Marathon intel page!

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.

boston marathon race reportRace: 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?

  1. The magnitude of the event. So many people from all over the globe there to run. Walking around Boston seemed like everyone was running or knew someone running and every one of my Uber drivers asked if I was running too.
  2. Super well organized. Didn’t have any issues with anything.
  3. The course is full of spectators, even on a shitty weather day.

Not so much – What aspects of the Boston Marathon didn’t do it for you?

I enjoyed it all!

Weird factor – What’s the weirdest thing about the marathon?

Nothing weird about the race. Just a weird Uber driver.

Highlights of your race – What did you do well and enjoy about your race in particular?

I finished. Other than that it was a sufferfest with the wild weather.

Lessons Learned – Share your pro-tips on the Boston Marathon to help the next runner or yourself on the next time around

Get a hotel early. As you as you find out you’re in, get one. Prices suck the longer you wait.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the Boston Marathon?

It’s an easy course other than 2 or 3 hills that will slow you down. Know when they are and do your hill workouts and you’ll crush them.

Organized and well run – Did it feel like a well-oiled machine or were they flying by the seat of their pants?

Super well organized

Logistics – Anything special regarding getting to/from the race, hotels around the course, registration…?

Plan ahead and you’ll be fine. I used uber the entire time I was there and my hotel provided a shuttle to Boston Commons.

Weather and typical race conditions

This year it sucked. My toes were numb way before the start of the race. At the athletes village it was muddy, rainy, and there was some snow on the ground. During the race it was miserable but memorable. At the finish picking up drop bags, everyone was huddled like those penguins in that documentary (March of the Penguins).

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

Yes, from start to finish it was loud. Even under crappy weather the crowd brought me home.

How’s the swag?

Pretty good.

The Overall Score – How many stars do you give the Boston Marathon and do you recommend that others run it?

5/5. I’ll be back

Looking for more intel on the Boston Marathon? Read all of our runners’ reviews on our Boston Marathon intel page!

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 only to run to bit bigger town squares, taller flag poles ultimately into the city. It’s like going through the evolution of how cities became cities…”

boston marathon race reportRace: Boston Marathon

Runner: Andrew K

Date: 4/16/2018

Location: Boston, MA

Results: 3:18:27

Strava Activity Link: https://www.strava.com/activities/1521185508

3 Bests – What aspects of the Boston Marathon did you like the most?

  1. City/Boston – Marathon Weekend in Boston is great. The entire city morphs from a Celtics, Red Sox, Bruins and Pats town into the mecca of running. Boston’s history is full of pride and the feel of the city on marathon weekend can really be special as runners descend from all over the world.
  2. Course – 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 only to run to bit bigger town squares, taller flag poles ultimately into the city. It’s like going through the evolution of how cities became cities…
  3. Crowds – They really come out and are so great. BBQ on front lawns, porches full of people, kids wanting a high five into downtown Boston where the noise is so loud you ‘feel’ the noise in your body. They are proud of the marathon and it shows. They are proud of you for being there even though they don’t know you.

Not so much – What aspects of the Boston Marathon didn’t do it for you?

  1. Weather – It’s notorious for shifting weather year to year. 2018 was especially epic but just know you could be doing a race in heat, wind, rain, cold as NE Springs has so much variability due to systems from the Great Lakes, Atlantic Ocean, etc.
  2. Bus Ride/Start – It goes smoothly, but taking a hour bus ride to the start super early, to sit around with no gear check can be hard to plan for. It makes your morning very different than you might expect.
  3. Expo / Bib Location – They have moved the expo to the trade center which is not convenient. It used to be right on Boylston near the finish which I preferred. The new spot makes it an endeavor you have to plan around.

Weird factor – What’s the weirdest thing about this race?

Nothing to odd as they don’t allow costumes etc. I guess the Wellesly kissing line could be odd. The screams are awesome at near mid way but I guess some (including the married guy) might find the pleas for a kiss strange with young girls with homemade signs. It’s part of the history and I just giggle but it’s kinda weird.

Highlights of your race – What did you do well and enjoy about your race in particular?

  1. Running with Meb! Meb Keflezighi was in my corral and running the first 10 with him was really special.
  2. Meeting Scott Jurek at the Expo was fun, telling him ‘hi’ from Coach Uli turned into a chat about Seattle running.
  3. Finishing. My goals were destroyed this year. But with the weather, having the flu 3 weeks prior, traveling six time zones all made the challenge somehow less about competing and more about completing. So when I stumbled across the finish, the medal meant so much more than any other year.

Lessons Learned – Share your pro-tips on the Boston Marathon to help the next runner or yourself on the next time around

Prep for the morning by bringing clothes to donate. Bring trashbags to sit on and really think through your fueling strategy. Some people buy stuff at the Goodwill so they don’t have to give up their gear.

Save yourself and know that when you take a sharp right at the Newton Fire Station, it’s now ‘on’. This is where I think the challenge begins mentally and physically.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the Boston Marathon?

1-10 Downhill. You can go tad faster but so easy to over do it.
10-18 – Flats to Rolling. Locking your pace.
18-22 – Hills. Late stage, not steep but subsequent progression is hard as you shift muscles.
22+ Bring it home.

Organized and well run – Did it feel like a well-oiled machine or were they flying by the seat of their pants?

Very well organized. It’s a machine and they really put on a world class event from newsletters months out, videos, Apps for your phone, partnerships with athletes and even Spotify for a custom running playlist etc.

Logistics – Anything special regarding getting to/from the race, hotels around the course, registration…?

Staying anywhere near the Common or Copley Sq is ideal but pricey. What you save in time, hassle is worth IMHO the extra money. Ask you hotel in advance if they have morning of marathon special breakfasts/hours to make sure you can eat. Prices surge this weekend so booking early before they enforce no cancellation is ideal so you can shift/bail as you need to.

Weather and typical race conditions

Expect anything. Boston weather is unique based on where it is geographically and how weather sets up in the Spring from the Great Lakes, Canada, Atlantic Ocean etc.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

Yes, very. The route allows spectators to take subways/trains/cars out to the course. Anything within the last 1mi likely requires camping out from 9am on. If you have just a spouse etc, they can push their way to the fence on Boylston for 30mins when you expect to pass with a lot of smiles.

How’s the swag?

Great long sleeved T-shirt by Adidas. Goodie bag has little items like bottle openers, stickers etc. Most of the really good stuff is for sale so expect to blow up your credit card at the Expo as somehow you just really need that Boston Marathon Salad Bowl…and oh…Boston Marathon keychain….etc.

The Overall Score – How many stars do you give the Boston Marathon and do you recommend that others run it?

5 (of 5). It’s the grand daddy of them all with history and the only major that is a qualifier. You know when you get in at Boston, you are for a moment in a different echelon of runners for one day.

Looking for more intel on the Boston Marathon? Read all of our runners’ reviews on our Boston Marathon intel page!

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?

  1. It’s Boston. 2018 was a rough year, but the energy associated with this hallowed event is still unique.
  2. The spectators. There weren’t as many spectators as in other years, but those who braved the elements were great. The Wellesley Scream Tunnel still sets the bar – you could hear the Wellesley fans before you could see them, even with the wind and driving rain.
  3. The volunteers. Thousands of people came out and gave their time in miserable weather so that we could run this event.

Not so much – What aspects of the Boston Marathon didn’t do it for you?

  1. The weather. This year, persistent rain (heavy at times), wind (direct headwind at times), and cool temperatures (there was literally freezing rain bermed up against the walls of the Athlete’s Village tent in Hopkinton) made for a particularly unpleasant 26.2 miles. The weather was so bad that there weren’t event helicopters or the fighter jet flyover at the start.
  2. The Hopkinton wait. Athletes get to Hopkinton a significant amount of time before the race start. We timed things to go on the latest of the buses for our start wave and still were in Hopkinton two hours before the start gun. In the 2018 weather, it was not a pleasant wait in Hopkinton.
  3. The gear check wait. There was a long wait – in the miserable weather, wearing drenched clothes from the run – for runners to pick up their finish line drop bags. Runners’ numbers are associated with their qualifying times, and gear check backs are staged according to bib numbers. As such, many runners who finished in the same time range were trying to get their drop bags from the same bib number tables at the same time after the race.

Weird factor – What’s the weirdest thing about this race?

There wasn’t anything notably weird about this event.

Highlights of your race – What did you do well and enjoy about your race in particular?

This was not a particularly enjoyable marathon. I’m grateful that I did some weather preparation (more below), and finished the marathon without major event (e.g., no injuries, accidents), but that’s about it for highlights of my race (other than the spectators and volunteers).

Lessons Learned – Share your pro-tips on Boston Marathon gear to help the next runner or yourself on the next time around

Being a Seattlelite, I am not entirely unfamiliar with running in the cool and rain. Even so, there were some things that I learned (from articles I read leading up to the race, as the miserable weather forecast was more and more likely to be a reality, and one random thing I tried from a previous race) that I think really helped during the race:

  1. Hand warmers on the head. I put two hand warmers directly on my head (held in place with a wool skull cap, beneath a running hat). Since I don’t have hair, a lot of thermal loss occurs through my head. I surmise that having heat coming into my head (from the hand warmers), rather than just leaving my head, helped stave off hypothermia.
  2. A shower cap. I put a shower cap on top of my running hat. The shower cap kept the hat (comparatively) dry, even with the rain, which kept my head drier and kept my head hand-warmers dry (the hand warmers I had are worthless when wet). Again, managing heat loss through my hairless head likely helped stave off hypothermia.
  3. Throwaway shoes. As noted above, runners spend a fair amount of time in the Athlete’s Village in Hopkinton prior to the start. This year, the field where runners wait for the start was a soggy, often muddy, mess. I wore shoes that I was willing to leave in Hopkinton to the Athlete’s Village, and carried my running shoes with me (in plastic bags). This maneuver allowed me to change out of the muddy, sodden, shoes and socks that I wore around the village and into my running shoes (which obviously got wet themselves, during the run – but at least they were not muddy) when I went from the grass-mud field in the Athlete’s Village to the start corrals.
  4. Garbage bag poncho. I fashioned a poncho out of a garbage bag that I wore to the start area. It was originally my intent to discard this poncho once I was up and going in the run. I didn’t end up removing the poncho until after mile 25. The poncho kept my core from getting as wet as it would have been without the poncho, but was funky enough (and didn’t cover my arms) that it was comparatively breathable.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the Boston Marathon

I’ve been told not to get carried away on the downs during the first half of the race, come out too fast, and end up suffering more than necessary on the ups later in 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 is definitely organized and well run. While there are some curious organizational aspects of the race (long wait in Hopkinton, wait for drop bags at the end), Boston is the model of a well-organized marathon.

Logistics – Anything special regarding getting to/from the race, hotels around the course, registration…?

Nothing of note to share here. It’s a big deal event, and Boston is busy and expensive during race weekend. I can recommend taking the shuttles to the start (even though I’ve criticized their early arrival times).

Weather and typical race conditions

In 2017, it was sunny and in the 70s. In 2018, not. It’s a spring marathon in the northeastern United States. It may be nice, it may be miserable.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

There are spectator opportunities along essentially the entire course.

How’s the swag?

Standard big city marathon handouts. A shirt, a finisher’s medal, and promotional items from sponsors.

The Overall Score – How many stars do you give the Boston Marathon and do you recommend that others run it?

As noted above, the weather was awful in 2018, and the race itself was not particularly enjoyable. That said, the whole Boston experience is one to take part in, if the opportunity presents. I can highly recommend the event, even when the weather is terrible.

Looking for more intel on the Boston Marathon? Read all of our runners’ reviews on our Boston Marathon intel page!

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.

boston marathon

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, from the runners, the volunteers, and the spectators. It is a true running spectacle.
  • Well organized. Everything was smooth and easy, except my actual race!
  • The course is not a difficult course and it’s possible to run fast on it (I didn’t do that, but it’s possible!)

Not so much – What aspects of the Boston Marathon didn’t do it for you?

  • Weather wasn’t awesome. With a point to point course, if the wind is wrong, it’s wrong the entire time. The headwind wasn’t horrible, but it was there the entire way. It was also in the 70s which made for more challenging racing conditions. These things aren’t under anyone’s control but for this year in particular, this was the only downside.

Weird factor – what’s the weirdest thing about the Boston Marathon?

  • Not sure if it’s weird, but with all the security present, and the recent history of the bombing at this race, I did find myself thinking about safety out there. I wasn’t inhibited or worried for any particular reason, but it was a unique experience. As I was suffering in the latter stages of the race, I thought about only making it through safely and that my family made it through safely – thoughts get a little wonky when suffering like I was, and this kind of thinking is not my norm, but in this case, I actually had thoughts about safety which is a new one for me.

Highlights of your race – what did you do well and enjoy about your race in particular

  • I still finished decently despite making poor race decisions early and having to hang on. First, I went out too fast. I had a target heart rate range I wanted to be in and within the first three minutes I was much higher than the target. Even though I tried to get it back in check, that was only for a brief moment. I eventually stopped checking heart rate, thinking that the day was special and that I didn’t need to worry about it. It came back to bite me shortly after the halfway point. I was able to keep a decent pace until hitting the hills after 17. The hills with dying legs were a killer and my pace slowed substantially. I was able to keep running and keep a respectable pace though. It was one of my first marathons in a long time where I was merely thinking about ending the misery. I was hanging on for dear life and am simply glad to have finished without having to have suffered longer!
  • Dave was able to get us a place to stay near the start line prior to the race with a charity group. They had an entire house with food and drinks so we could wait inside for the 2+ hours prior to the start. I’ve stayed in the athlete village before and it’s not bad, but this time around, it was nice to be able to chill out in a house, with multiple bathrooms.

Lessons for others – share your pro-tips on the Boston Marathon to help the next runner

  • As best you can, don’t get too caught up in the hype early and stick to your race plan. Everyone always says not to go out too fast. It’s so easy to go out too fast! I’ve done it twice now!

Aesthetics – is the Boston Marathon a pretty course?

  • It’s not pretty as mountains or oceans can be pretty, but for a city marathon, the scenery was good. More suburban early, finishing with the big city. People lined nearly the entire course so if they’re part of the aesthetics, than it’s one of the prettiest races out there.

Difficulty – is the Boston Marathon a tough course?

  • Depends. If you’re a flat-lander, this is a tough course. If you’re dying in the second half, it’s a tough course. If you’re moderately used to hills and you’re racing smartly, the course isn’t that tough.

Organized and well run – did it feel like a well-oiled machine or were they flying by the seat of their pants?

  • One of the best organized races out there.

Competition – is there a strong field?

  • It’s in the World Marathon Majors series. It brings out the best. Plus, you have to qualify for this race which shifts the entire bell curve to the faster side of things.

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.

  • You have to qualify (or do a charity fundraiser). Registration is in mid-September and it goes in order based on qualifying times. You have to be on it to get a spot and you have to get the qualifying time before that! It’s a straightforward process, but it requires fast running and timely registering.

Review the Boston Marathon Aid Stations

  • Tons of them. They were nearly every mile and there were cups on both sides of the road. There was enough to get multiple cups. This was particularly helpful in this year’s race as I could take cups and dump cold water over my head and body.

Weather and typical race conditions 

  • Spring in Boston. Could be cold, could be hot. There could be a headwind or a tailwind. It could be perfect or storming. Be ready for anything.

Gear – did you need anything special or is there anything you’d recommend for the next guy?

  • If it’s cold, having gear that you can ditch at the start is important, and there are no drop bags. There is a lot of waiting around before the start of the race and if you’re not prepared, it could be a tough start if you’re shivering and cold.

Spectators – is this a friendly course for your friends?

  • Julie had Paavo with her so they weren’t trying to get around. My guess is that spectators could reasonably get to 3 or 4 spots along the course depending on how they were getting around. Julie was able to be at the halfway point and then at the finish, using the T to get downtown.

How are the awards?

  • Big $ if you’re a big shot. For the rest, there is a finisher’s medal.

The Overall Score – how many stars do you give the Boston Marathon and do you recommend that others run it?

  • Run this race if you have the opportunity. It’s a unique life experience and being part of such a big, historic event feels special. I encourage everyone to try it once if they can get in.

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.