The Boston Marathon, the holy grail race for serious distance runners, has become even harder to get into. Race organizers announced that the qualifying standards for the 2020 race will be 5 minutes faster for every age group.

For the sixth year in a row, the race turned away applicants who had met their qualifying time. In order to enter the 2019 race, which will be held on April 15, runners had to be at least 4 minutes, and 52 seconds faster than their qualifying standard, Boston Athletic Association (BAA) officials said on Thursday.

So far, 23,074 runners have been accepted into the 2019 race. That left 7,384 runners, out of 30,458 who applied, shut out of registration, even though they did achieve the posted standards.

Runners were learning of their registration status for the 2019 race by email.

Related Story

The field for Boston is capped at 30,000. More than 80 percent of those are time qualifiers, and the time required varies based on a runner’s age and gender. The rest of the field gains entry by running for charities or through a different connection to the race.

Registration for Boston happens over a two-week period, with fastest runners able to register during the first week, which was September 10 through 15. Runners who bettered their qualifying standard by more than 20 minutes had the first crack at registration, followed by those who were 10 minutes faster, followed by those who were 5 minutes faster. The BAA has used the rolling registration system since 2012.

Related Story

If space remains in the field—and it did this year—registration would continue that following Monday for all runners who had met their time standard. Some who made last-minute qualifying attempts at marathons on September 15 and 16 were able to register with times earned at those races.

Every year, the BAA evaluates registration data and the appropriateness of qualifying standards, the officials say. The times were last tightened for the 2013 race.

“We have adjusted the qualifying standards for the 2020 Boston Marathon, as the number of marathoners who have submitted applications to run the Boston Marathon has increased significantly during the most recent two registration years,” said Tom Grilk, BAA chief executive officer, in a press release. “We forecast the interest in running Boston as continuing. We know that the running community pays close attention to our qualifying times for their age group because they are important factors in their training, racing and race selection. As such, for the 2020 Boston Marathon, adjustments to all age group qualifying standards will be five minutes (5:00) faster than previous standards.”

The qualifier breakdown for the 2019 race is:

  • 5,256 qualifiers who were 20:00 or more under their standard.
  • 8,620 qualifiers who were 10:00 or more under their standard.
  • 8,545 qualifiers who were 5:00 or more under their standard.
  • 220 qualifiers who were 4:52–4:59 under their standard.
  • 433 qualifiers with an active streak of at least 10 years.

For the 2018 race, the cutoff time was 3:23, and 5,062 runners were denied entry. That time jumped more than a minute from what was needed for the 2017 race: a time 2:09 faster than the qualifying standard, when 2,957 runners were turned away. The last year that all qualifiers were able to register was 2013.

Contents

Boston Marathon Cutoff Times By Year: 2013-2019

Brian Cariaga

Each year, as the registration period opens and closes, runners speculate about where the cutoff time will land, and those who don’t make it commiserate on social media with others who were denied entry. Ray Charbonneau, who writes the Mathematical Runner blog, predicted early in September that qualifiers would need to be 4:03 faster.

New Boston Marathon Qualifying Standards

Brian Cariaga Sarah Lorge Butler Sarah Lorge Butler is a writer and editor living in Eugene, Oregon, and her stories about the sport, its trends, and fascinating individuals have appeared in Runner’s World since 2005.

Is the Boston Marathon still on your bucket list? It’s one of the hardest races to get into, but it’s not impossible.

The 122nd running of the Boston Marathon will be held onApril 16, 2018, otherwise known as Marathon Monday or Patriots’ Day in Massachusetts. But the field has been filled since September and the runners fortunate enough to get will soon start training while everyone else will start thinking about the 2019 race. (The Boston Athletic Association will release its official 20-week training plan for the 2018 Boston Marathon on Nov. 20.)

It’s not unusual for popular races to sell out quickly, but Boston’s qualification requirement is definitely unique for such a big race. Even with the added hurdle, the rush of applicants remains, giving it special cache for marathon devotees, exactly the opposite of what the BAA intended when they instituted the requirement.

“We first instituted qualifying standards in the 1970s to reduce the interest in the race, but the move had the opposite effect,” says T.K. Skenderian, Director of Communications for the Boston Athletic Association. “We regularly receive more applications from qualified participants than we can accept.”

There’s nothing in running quite like the final few hundred yards of the homestretch on Boylston Street. Photo: Kevin Morris/PhotoRun.net

If all the excitement has given you a case of Hopkinton Fever, you’re going to need to run fast. Luckily the qualifying standards are based upon age and gender, meaning with hard work and focus, a BQ (Boston Qualifier) is possible. Entrants accepted to run in 2018 had to be had to be 3 minutes and 23 seconds under their qualifying age-group standards.

Boston caps the race at 30,000 runners. Out of 28,260 applicants, 23,198 were accepted. Yes, that means more than 5,000 qualified runners didn’t get into the race. The remaining slots go to invitational and charity runners.

The chart below shows the qualifying standards for the 2018 Boston Marathon. They will remain the same for 2019.

Age Group Men Women
18-34 3hrs 05min 00sec 3hrs 35min 00sec
35-39 3hrs 10min 00sec 3hrs 40min 00sec
40-44 3hrs 15min 00sec 3hrs 45min 00sec
45-49 3hrs 25min 00sec 3hrs 55min 00sec
50-54 3hrs 30min 00sec 4hrs 00min 00sec
55-59 3hrs 40min 00sec 4hrs 10min 00sec
60-64 3hrs 55min 00sec 4hrs 25min 00sec
65-69 4hrs 10min 00sec 4hrs 40min 00sec
70-74 4hrs 25min 00sec 4hrs 55min 00sec
75-79 4hrs 40min 00sec 5hrs 10min 00sec
80 and over 4hrs 55min 00sec 5hrs 25min 00sec

If these times seem daunting, you can also gain entry to the Boston Marathon by running on behalf of a charity organization through the marathon’s Official Charity Program. There is a fundraising requirement, and the minimum amount varies by charity, but expect to raise in the neighborhood of $5,000-$7,500 at a minimum. The race is working with 34 charities for 2018. You can find out more on the marathon’s website and also at CharityTeams. Even with the hefty fundraising aspect, slots go fast. But, you still have a chance to get into the 2018 race.

If you want to earn a BQ for 2019, the first step is to follow a performance-oriented training plan that matches your ability. (The Boston Athletic Association will release its official 20-week training plan for the 2018 Boston Marathon on Nov. 20.) You should also consider training with a local group of runners who will both inspire you and push you to run faster. It might take more than a year (or several years) to reach the qualifying time for your gender and age group, but the excitement is real, and even if you only run Boston once, you’ll never forget the experience.

“Qualifying for the Boston Marathon remains a goal for runners everywhere and we applaud all those training to accomplish it,” Skenderian says. “To the aspiring qualifiers around the world, we’re cheering you on!”

If you’re ready to go for a BQ for 2019 or later, you might want to consider one of the following 10 races. They had the highest likelihood of qualifying for 2018 according to Marathon Guide. Always double check to make sure your chosen marathon is on the approved list and to confirm the latest qualifying standards.

Snickers Marathon

March 3, 2018
Albany, Georgia

More than 27 percent of finishers qualified for Boston in 2017 on this flat, fast course, with a figure-eight layout through the streets of downtown Albany.

Boston Marathon

April 16, 2018
Boston, Massachusetts

So this one is a bit of a trick, but if you are a charity runner in 2018, you have the chance to earn a BQ for 2019. Just over 30 percent of the field ran qualifying times this year. There may be something to the point-to-point course with a net elevation loss!

REVEL Mt. Charleston

April 28, 2018
Las Vegas, Nevada

With a net elevation loss of more than 5000 feet (!!) this fast, point-to-point course saw 40 percent of finishers running a BQ this year. The course is also beautiful, taking racers through the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest on their way from Kyle Canyon to Las Vegas.

May 20, 2018
Pocono Summit, Pennsylvania

This point-to-point route from Pocono Summit to Stroudsburg does have some climbing (821 feet) but lots of descending (2225 feet) with a track finish. In 2017 more than 33 percent of finishers earned a qualifying time for the Boston Marathon.

Mountains 2 Beach Marathon

May 27, 2018
Ojai, California

You literally run from the mountains of Ojai to Ventura Beach, with a beachfront finish near the historic Pier, while enjoying an elevation loss of 700 feet. 32 percent of finishers earned a BQ in 2017.

Light at the End of the Tunnel Marathon

June 2018 (race date will be announced in December)
North Bend, Washington

If the 2,000 feet of vertical drop on this route that goes from east of Snoqualmie Pass to outside of North Bend isn’t enough to make your stride a little faster, perhaps running through a dark, 2.4-mile long tunnel is! Almost 40 percent of finishers qualified for Boston this year.

Last Chance BQ.2 Marathon

September 8, 2018
Geneva, Illinois

More than half of all finishers qualified for the Boston Marathon at the race this year due to the flat course, which usually has near ideal racing conditions with cool temperatures and low wind. It’s set on an eight-loop course for easy spectating.

Erie Marathon at Presque Isle

September 9, 2018 (tentative date)
Erie, Pennsylvania

This two-loop, flat course takes place at Presque Isle State Park, with plenty of shade, aid stations each mile and everyone cheering you on for a BQ, which more than 40 percent of finishers earned in 2017.

Lehigh Valley Health Network Via Marathon

September 9, 2018
Allentown, Pennsylvania

You may feel like you’re flying on this slightly downhill, point-to-point course that loses 240 feet in elevation from beginning to end. Not only did more than 33 percent of finishers earn their right to apply to the Boston Marathon, they got an eyeful of historical architecture, like a covered bridge, canal locks, and even a few miles in a National Heritage corridor.

Tunnel Light Marathon

September 2018 (race date will be announced in December)
North Bend, Washington

If you like the mostly downhill course of the Light at the End of the Tunnel Marathon, you’ll love this one…. because it’s run on the same route! You may want to reconsider wearing racing flats though as this is a gravel course, but one were roughly 35 percent of finishers qualified for the 2018 Boston Marathon this year.

Allison Pattillo Motiv Running senior editor Allison Pattillo writes about running, health, nutrition, gear and travel from her home in Colorado. When it comes to gear, she’s a fan of tall running socks, short running skirts and wearing her hat backwards. Even with a BQ and a few podium finishes (all triathlons should be run, bike, canoe!), Allison finds more inspiration from running in beautiful places and exploring on the run instead of the numbers on a stopwatch. She looks forward to the day when she finds her ultimate running dog, which, at this point, may be more bulldog than border collie.

This is it – the day that qualified Boston Marathon runners have been waiting for for a very long time! This is the day that the 2020 Boston Marathon registration opens! However, even if you have a qualifying time, it may not be time for you just yet to jump in with your $200+ and registration form! Read here to find out what you need to know!

2020 Boston Marathon Registration Begins

Make sure you check back throughout the week as I will be writing posts to layout hotel and airline options and how to nail down your travel to the 2018 Boston Marathon – for (almost) free!

The 2020 Boston Marathon Registration Procedure

It is strange to think that, not to long ago, a marathoner could actually run a qualifying race as late as March and still run that year’s Boston Marathon! In fact, it was called the Last Chance Marathon.

Now, registration opens and closes in September – seven months before the Boston Marathon. This year’s registration procedure is the same as the last few years – a rolling registration that opens each day based on the amount of time the runner cleared the qualification time. Remember: however, it is a little faster than last year for qualifying times! See this post for more information

Confused about anything? Try out this quick and easy calculator to see exactly when you will be able to register for the 2020 Boston Marathon! This page is having some problems so if it does not work, check back again!

Facts

  • Race Day – April 20, 2020
  • Registration opens – September 9, 10:00AM
  • Race Fee – $205 for US residents, $255 for international residents
  • Qualification window for the 2019 Boston Marathon started September 15, 2018 and closes when the field is filled
  • Field Size: 30,000 official runners
  • Registration Application – BAA
The Important Dates for the 2019 Boston Marathon Registration
  • Monday, September 9, 10:00 a.m. ET – Qualifiers who have met the qualifying standard by 20 minutes, 00 seconds or more are able to submit an entry form.
  • Wednesday, September 11, 10:00 a.m. ET – Qualifiers who have met the qualifying standard by 10 minutes, 00 or more are able to submit an entry form.
  • Friday, September 13, 10:00 a.m. ET – Qualifiers who have met the qualifying standard by 5 minutes, 00 or more are able to submit an entry form.
  • Saturday, September 14, 10:00 p.m. ET – Registration closes for Week 1.
  • Monday, September 16, 10:00 a.m. ET – If space remains, all qualifiers who have met the qualifying standard by any amount of time are able to submit an entry form. The fastest runners among submissions from Week 2 will be accepted until the maximum field size is reached.
  • Wednesday, September 18, 5:00 p.m. ET – Registration closes for Week 2.
  • Monday, September 23, 10:00 a.m. ET – If space remains after the first two weeks of registration, all qualifiers who have met the qualifying standard by any amount of time are able to submit an entry form. During Week 3, submissions will be taken on a first-come, first-served basis until the maximum field size is reached.

What It All Means for You

Remember, registration remains open for the qualified entrants until the field is full. If it is full with those who beat the time by 10 minutes (which it won’t be), then those who beat it by 5 minutes will not be able to enter. For the first two weeks of registration, all entries are not first-come-first-served but are processed by qualifying time. So, if you were to register on September 13 at 10:01AM with a qualifying time +30 seconds clearance, your entry time will not allow you to beat out the individual who had a 80 second clearance time on their qualifying time.

However, if there is still space available, when the registration reopens on September 23, it will be first-come-first-served.

Historically, it has been seen that that final wave of registration dates, Week 3 starting September 23, will not be needed. Last year, it bumped up to a almost 5 minutes clearance! That should not happen this year since the lowered the qualifying times by 5 minutes so my guess is that it will not be that big of a clearance time as in the past.

What You Need for the 2020 Boston Marathon Registration

REQUIRED INFORMATION FOR REGISTRATION

  • Your legal full name (if you recently had a name change, please register under the name you qualified under. Upon your acceptance please email the B.A.A. to have your application updated accordingly)
  • Birthdate
  • Mailing address and phone number
  • Email address
  • Your qualifying race name, date run, and your qualifying time (please provide your net/chip time)
  • Two emergency contact names and phone numbers (must be two different phone numbers)
  • Your credit card information (we ONLY accept Visa and Mastercard)
    • The registration fee is $205 USD for U.S. residents and $255 USD for internationals residents.

Good luck and enjoy the process. Remember, whether you make it into the 2020 Boston Marathon or not, you are still a Boston Marathon-qualifed runner! Congratulations! Make sure you check back throughout the week to see how you can get your 2020 Boston Marathon travel for (almost) free!

Featured image courtesy of Marcio Jose Bastos Silva via

Some of the links on Running with Miles are affiliate links that pay a commission if a purchase is made. Running with Miles is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

The Boston Marathon 2020

Report Error Email It Write a Review

The Boston Marathon is the world’s oldest annual marathon and ranks as one of the world’s most prestigious road racing events. The Marathon is run on the 3rd Monday in April (Patriot’s Day).
The Boston Athletic Association manages this American classic, which is sponsored by John Hancock Financial Services.
The Boston Marathon has distinguished itself as the pinnacle event within the sport of road racing by virtue of its traditions, longevity and method of gaining entry into the race (via qualification).
The Course
The legendary Boston Marathon course follows a point to point route from rural Hopkinton to Boston, and is certified per the guidelines set forth by the IAAF and USA Track and Field. Of course, the most famous hill in all of running is almost certainly “Heartbreak Hill”, located between miles 20 and 21 of the Boston Marathon course in Newton, MA. Heartbreak is the last of the three Newton Hills that determines the ultimate
success or decomposition at the Boston Marathon.
Distance
The distance of the Boston Marathon is exactly 26 miles, 385 yards (42.195 Kilometers).
Viewing the Race
The Boston Marathon is run from the town of Hopkinton to downtown Boston on the 3rd Monday in April (Patriot’s Day) each year. This nationally televised event draws hundreds of thousands of spectators to cheer on runners from all over the world.
You can pick a spot on the 26.2 mile course to cheer on runners from around the globe as they head to the finish line near Newbury Street.
Find the perfect location to watch the race with the Marathon course overview.
Marathon Start Times
Mobility Impaired Start: 9am
Wheelchair Division Start: 9:25 am
Elite Women’s & USA Championship Start: 9:31 am
Elite Men’s Start and Main Start: 10am
Qualifying
To qualify to run the Boston Marathon, entrants must run a qualifying time at a certified marathon. Qualifying times are determined by your age on the date of the Boston Marathon in which you will be participating.
All participants must adhere to the guidelines set forth by the B.A.A., USATF or foreign equivalent, Wheelchair Athletics USA, and the International Stoke-Mandeville Wheelchair Sports Federation and must meet the standards for eligibility as outlined by these organizations. Qualifying times must be met in competitions observing these same rules. All times are subject to verification. Participants must be 18 years or older on race day.
Boston Marathon History
The First Boston Marathon
After experiencing the spirit and majesty of the Olympic Marathon, B.A.A. member and inaugural US Olympic Team Manager John Graham was inspired to organize and conduct a marathon in the Boston area. With the assistance of Boston businessman Herbert H. Holton, various routes were considered, before a measured distance of 24.5 miles from the Irvington Oval in Boston to Metcalf’s Mill in Ashland was eventually selected. On April 19, 1897, John J. McDermott of New York, emerged from a 15-member starting field and captured the first B.A.A. Marathon in 2:55:10, and, in the process, forever secured his name in sports history.
In 1924, the B.A.A. moved the starting line from Ashland to Hopkinton. In 1927, the Boston Marathon course was lengthened to the full distance of 26 miles, 385 yards to conform to Olympic standards.
The Marathon Distance
The 1896 Olympic marathon distance of 24.8 miles was based on the distance run, according to famous Greek legend, in which the Greek foot-soldier Pheidippides was sent from the plains of Marathon to Athens with the news of the astounding victory over a superior Persian army. Exhausted as he approached the leaders of the City of Athens, he staggered and gasped, ‘Rejoice! We Conquer!’ and then collapsed.
The marathon distance was later changed as a result of the 1908 Olympic Games in London. That year, King Edward VII and Queen Alexandria wanted the marathon race to begin at Windsor Castle outside the city so that the Royal family could view the start. The distance between the castle and the Olympic Stadium in London proved to be 26 miles. Organizers added extra yards to the finish around a track, 385 to be exact, so the runners would finish in front of the king and queen’s royal box. Every Olympic marathon run since the 1908 Games has been a distance of 26 miles, 385 yards.
On a Monday: The Patriots’ Day Race
From 1897-1968, the Boston Marathon was held on Patriots’ Day, April 19, a holiday commemorating the start of the Revolutionary War and recognized only in Massachusetts and Maine. The lone exception was when the 19th fell on Sunday. In those years, the race was held the following day (Monday the 20th). However, in 1969, the holiday was officially moved to the third Monday in April. The 2004 race will mark the 36th consecutive year the race has been held on a Monday. The last non-Monday champion was current Runner’s World editor Amby Burfoot, who posted a time of 2:22:17 on Friday, April 19, 1968.
Women Run to the Front
Roberta Gibb was the first woman to run the full Boston Marathon in 1966. Gibb, who did not run with an official race number during any of the three years (1966-68) that she was the first female finisher, hid in the bushes near the start until the race began. In 1967, Katherine Switzer did not clearly identify herself as a female on the race application and was issued a bib number. B.A.A. officials tried unsuccessfully to physically remove Switzer from the race once she was identified as a woman entrant. At the time of Switzer’s run, the Amateur Athletics Union (A.A.U.) had yet to formally accept participation of women in long distance running. When the A.A.U. permitted its sanctioned marathons (including Boston) to allow women entry in the fall of 1971, Nina Kuscsik’s 1972 B.A.A. victory the following spring made her the first official champion. Eight women started that race and all eight finished.
First to Sponsor the Wheelchair Division
The Boston Marathon became the first major marathon to include a wheelchair division competition when it officially recognized Bob Hall in 1975. With a time of two hours, 58 minutes, he collected on a promise by then Race Director Will Cloney that if he finished in less than three hours, he would receive an official B.A.A. Finisher’s Certificate. American wheelchair competitors Jean Driscoll and Jim Knaub helped to further establish and popularize the division.
Olympic Champions at Boston
Three-time defending women’s champion Fatuma Roba became the fourth person to win the Olympic Games Marathon and the B.A.A. Boston Marathon when she posted a 2:26:23 to win the 1997 Boston Marathon. Roba, who won the 1996 Olympic Marathon, joined fellow-women’s champions Joan Benoit, who won Boston in 1979 and 1983, before adding the 1984 Olympic Games title; and Rosa Mota (POR), who won a trio of Boston crowns (1987, 1988, and 1990), while adding the 1988 Olympic title. Gelindo Bordin (ITA) is the only male to win the Olympic (1988) and Boston (1990) titles.
Marathon Monday is also known in Massachusetts as Patriots Day. Find Patriots Day events going on near you in our Boston Patriot’s Day Events Guide.

HOURS top

DIVISION START TIMES
Mobility Impaired 8:50 a.m.
Push Rim Wheelchair 9:17 a.m.
Handcycles 9:22 a.m.
Elite Women 9:32 a.m.
Elite Men & Wave One 10:00 a.m.
Wave Two 10:25 a.m.
Wave Three 10:50 a.m.
Wave Four 11:15 a.m.

WEBSITE top
LOCATION top

Downtown, Boston, MA map
Phone: 617-236-1652
Thousands run the 26 mile, 385 yard course of the Boston Marathon between Hopkinton and Boston

TIPS top
  • The Newton Hills area is a good family-oriented place to spectate.
  • Don’t drive into Boston!
  • Choose your T stop exit carefully. You will not be able to cross Boylston St. except via T underpasses, and they’ll be packed.
RELATED LINKS top
  • Profiles
    • Races/Walks
    • School Vacation
  • Localities
    • Boston
  • Events
    • The Boston Marathon 2020, 4/20/20-4/20/20

Info changes frequently. We cannot warrant it. Verify with The Boston Marathon 2020 before making the trek. If you find an error, please report it… Report Error

Popular Resources Boston with Kids
Free Things to Do
Family & Kids Events
Mass RMV – DMV
Boston Birthday Parties
Boston Museums
Boston Aquarium
Boston Massachusetts
Boston Kids Furniture
Boston Baby

The Best Running Routes in Boston by Distance

From favorite spots like the Esplanade to lesser-known gems, here’s where you need to run now.

By Tessa Yannone·

Read all about the latest gym openings, healthy events, and fitness trends in our twice weekly Wellness newsletter.

Photo by Lisa Decotis

It’s no secret that Boston is one of the best cities to lace up your sneakers and hit the ground running. The city has been named the third best running city in America by Runners World, and there are plenty of reasons to back up the claim.

We don’t have to convince you to get outside and start tracking your mileage, because you’re most likely already doing it—with hopeful Boston Marathon dreams down the pipeline. But if you’re traveling to our beloved city, or just need a change of scenery, mapping out a new route isn’t always the easiest, and may lead to some extra miles you weren’t particularly planning on adding to your after-work run.

We’ve taken it upon ourselves to provide you a breakdown of some of Boston’s best routes, by distance, so whether you’re looking for a 5k or a 20k, you’ll know just how far to run.

If you’re looking for a short jaunt (1-3 miles)…

Chestnut Hill Reservoir
Distance: 1.5 miles:

Easily accessible on the Green Line. Hop off at Cleveland Circle and take this paved 1.5-mile loop around the reservoir with views of Boston College and the skyline.

Commonwealth Avenue Mall, Public Garden, Boston Common
Distance: 1.5 miles

Starting from the northern end of the Common and finishing at the very end of Commonwealth Avenue Mall, a straight shot will get you 1.5-miles on the books. Perfect for when you’re too busy to get out to the trails on the outskirts of the city but want to enjoy some green spaces. Access the Common at Park Street or Boylston on the Red or Green Lines. If you want to start from the other direction, get off at Hynes on the Green Line.

Jamaica Pond
Distance: 1.5 miles

The largest standing body of water in the Emerald Necklace, the pond, located in Jamaica Plain on the border of Brookline, provides a peaceful 1.5 mile loop. It was formerly used as a source of ice and is now home to many outdoor activities. If you don’t already live in Jamaica Plain, add an extra mile to your route by taking the Orange Line to Stony Brook and running along Boylston to Moraine Street before making your way to the park.

Back Bay Fens
Distance: 1.5 miles

This little oasis of green space enclosing the Fenway Victory Gardens makes a very manageable 1.5 mile loop within easy walking distance from Fenway or Back Bay and a short hop, skip, and jump from the Hynes and Northeastern stops on the Green Line.

Franklin Park
Distance: 2.1 mile loop

The primary path around the park features a lake and some shaded stretches with views of the zoo and golf course. Hop off the Orange Line at Forest Hills for easy access.

Fresh Pond Reservation
Distance: 2.5 miles

On the other side of the river, take this more secluded loop in Cambridge. If you’re not from the area, your best bet will be to take the Red Line to Alewife and add a mile to your trip there and back.

Arnold Arboretum
Distance: 2.6 mile trail

Run this loop around the bustling arboretum for views of the skyline and a plethora of different plants. Get off the Orange Line at Forest Hills for the most direct shot.

Esplanade Harvard Bridge to Longfellow Bridge
Distance: 2.8 mile

Take your pick on the Esplanade by picking two bridges and forming a loop. The most storied of them will be the Harvard and Longfellow bridges. Watch boats, ducks, and duck boats, and run in good company with many others along the river.

Boston Waterfront from the USS Constitution to Institute of Contemporary Art
Distance: 3 miles one way

Split this up to make for a manageable loop, but if you’re looking for the best views along the water, take it the whole way from Charlestown through the North End and to the Seaport and experience the waterfront in all its glory.

If you’re looking for a solid mid-week mileage boost (4-9 miles)…

Charles River running paths, Harvard Bridge to River Street Bridge
Distance: 4 miles

Running along the Charles is about as synonymous to Boston as lobster rolls and great sports teams, and you’ll always be in good company. For the best views of the river and the city and a pretty doable mid-week run, take the loop between Harvard Bridge and River Street Bridge. If you want to easily double your mileage, start at the Museum of Science Bridge and head to the Anderson Foot Bridge for a full loop of the Charles.

Southwest Corridor Park
Distance: 4.1 miles

Follow this four mile stretch one way along the Orange Line from Back Bay to Forest Hills, connecting the South End, Roxbury, and Jamaica Plain, ending at the Arnold Arboretum and Franklin Park (additional mileage opportunities!). With 11 playgrounds, two spray pools, seven basketball courts, five tennis courts, two street hockey rinks, and two amphitheaters, you won’t have any shortage of things to look at. Either turn around and head back for an 8-miler or hop on the Orange Line home.

Emerald Necklace from Fenway near Museum of Fine Arts to Jamaica Pond
Distance: 5 miles

Start at the Museum of Fine Arts and follow the Emerald Necklace all the way to Jamaica Pond, turning around at Perkins Street for a beautiful 5 mile loop through the greenery on the edge of the city.

Middlesex Fells Reservoir Trail
Distance: 7 miles

If you’re really looking for some secluded trail running but don’t have time to take an hour trip all the way out of the city, hop on the Orange Line up to Malden Center or Oak Grove and take a seven minute Uber to the trailhead for the Skyline Trail at Middlesex Fells Reservoir. Start the trail leading to the left so you can enjoy views of the skyline when you’re finished. Be warned: The trail is very rocky, lined with roots, and a big portion of it is uphill, so if you’re looking for a challenge, this one’s a good pick.

South Boston Castle Island along Pleasure Bay to JFK Library and UMass Boston
Distance: 7.8 miles

From Castle Island, run along the beaches at Pleasure Bay until you get to JFK Library/UMass and turn around for a 7.8-mile loop on South Boston’s shore.Turn around at Carson Beach for a shorter 4.8 mile loop. When you’re done, post up on the beach with a towel and take a dip in the bay.

If you’re looking for a long weekend run (10+)…

Newton Hills Carriage Road and Heartbreak Hill
Distance: 10 miles (last part of the Boston Marathon)

Not ready to tackle a full marathon yet, but think you have the chops to conquer Heartbreak Hill? Hop on the D Green Line and get off at the Waban Stop in Newton and run the last 10 miles of the Boston Marathon route. Pass through Boston College and Fenway and then make your way into Back Bay, stopping on Boylston.

Somerville Community Path to the Minuteman Bikeway
Distance: 12 miles total (2 miles on Somerville Community Path and 10 miles on the Minuteman Bikeway)

Access the Somerville Community Path from the Red Line at Davis Square and take the path for two miles until you hit the historic Minuteman Bikeway, which stretches for 10 miles to the Bedford Depot along the path where the American Revolution started. If you want to bypass the path, take the Red Line to Alewife Station. If you make the one way trip all the way to Bedford, hop on the 62 bus back.

Science Museum and Mt. Auburn Street loop, Charles River paths
Distance: 17 miles

Follow the Charles as far as you can (kinda) from the Science Museum bridge to Mt. Auburn Street, and loop around and follow the river all the way back for a long marathon training run. If you’re feeling the burn, turn around at any of the bridges you pass for a shorter loop.

The Boston Harborwalk
Distance: 40 miles of paths

From Charlestown all the way down the coast to the Neponset River Greenway, this near-continuous 43-mile stretch offers runners plenty of opportunities to log longer runs. Hit the Freedom Trail in the North End and run along the coast to the Seaport or reach the Emerald Necklace and the Esplanade for even more running route opportunities. Because the Boston Harborwalk is so extensive, we haven’t included it in our map, but you can access it via Boston Harbor Now’s website here.

Did we overlook your favorite route, and you think it needs to be included? Let us know.

The marathon may have ancient roots, but the foot race’s official length of 26.2 miles wasn’t established until the 20th century. The first organized marathon was held in Athens at the 1896 Olympics, the start of the Games’ modern era. The ancient games, which took place in Greece from around 776 B.C. to A.D. 393, never included such long-distance races. The idea for the modern marathon was inspired by the legend of an ancient Greek messenger who raced from the site of Marathon to Athens, a distance of about 40 kilometers, or nearly 25 miles, with the news of an important Greek victory over an invading army of Persians in 490 B.C. After making his announcement, the exhausted messenger collapsed and died. To commemorate his dramatic run, the distance of the 1896 Olympic marathon was set at 40 kilometers.

For the next few Olympics, the length of the marathon remained close to 25 miles, but at the 1908 Games in London the course was extended, allegedly to accommodate the British royal family. As the story goes, Queen Alexandra requested that the race start on the lawn of Windsor Castle (so the littlest royals could watch from the window of their nursery, according to some accounts) and finish in front of the royal box at the Olympic stadium—a distance that happened to be 26.2 miles (26 miles and 385 yards). The random boost in mileage ending up sticking, and in 1921 the length for a marathon was formally standardized at 26.2 miles (42.195 kilometers).

Today, marathon races take place everywhere from the North Pole to the Great Wall of China. In America alone, there are now more than 1,100 marathons each year. For decades, marathons were only open to male athletes. The Boston Marathon, which kicked off in 1897 and is the world’s oldest annual marathon, began allowing female competitors in 1972, while the first Olympic marathon for women wasn’t held until 1984. In 1976, an estimated 25,000 runners finished marathons in the United States; by 2013, the estimated number of competitors who completed a 26.2-mile course had soared to 541,000.

How long does the Boston Marathon last? Here’s when most runners cross the finish line.

The 2017 Boston Marathon gets underway on Patriots’ Day in Beantown Monday.

The race — which begins in rural Hopkinton and ends in Boston’s Copley Square — took less than two and a half hours for the top finishers to complete in 2016.

But how long does it last for the rest of the more than 30,000 runners to make the turn down Boylston Street and cross the finish line?

Runners had to meet age- and gender-based qualifying standards just to participate in the 121st running of the race on Monday. Racers must be able to run a marathon in three to five and a half hours, based on their age bracket and gender, according to Runner’s World.

The average finishing time in 2015 was three hours and 46 minutes, according to a statistical analysis.

The event officially runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern.

In 2016, nearly 97% of those who participated in the marathon finished the punishing race.

Boston bombing survivors celebrate as they cross the finish line in the 2016 marathon.Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

The 2017 race will mark four years since the Boston Marathon Bombing, which left three dead and hundreds wounded. The city is expected to honor victims of the attack on the anniversary of the bombing Sunday and at the marathon on Monday.

TIMING AND SCORING

Athletes have six hours (6:00:00) from the time the last starter cross the start line to complete the course.
  • The B.A.A. uses a timing tag attached to the back of your bib number to score the race.
  • This bib number with timing tag must be worn on the front of your running jersey or outermost garment from start to finish in order for you to be recognized as completing the race and receiving an official finish time.
  • Those unable to complete the entire Boston Marathon course within the period of time in which official race times are recorded (six hours from the time the last official starter in the fourth wave crosses the start line), you will not be recorded in the official race results.
  • It is important that your bib not be forcefully bent, creased, or heavily wrinkled, as damaged timing tags may not work on race day.
  • The timing tag identifies your bib number and should not be worn by any other entrant. All you must do is wear the bib; computers do the rest.
  • The B.A.A. uses “net” time as your official time. Your time, which will appear in the official results, will begin when you cross the start line.
  • This will enable us to provide you with and score you by the net time that it took you to run the 26.2 miles of the race.
  • It is this net time which can be used as your qualifying time for the next Boston Marathon, and it is the time printed on your finisher’s certificate.

The Boston Marathon is the oldest marathon in the United States. (Related: 6 Boston Marathon Runners Share Their Tips for Making Long Runs More Enjoyable) (To register for the race, for example, you would have had to run your. It’s a wonderful course if you want to experience camaraderie, history, The 10th place woman in Boston ran a time that would have gotten her. “run on kid power” should consider running with our marathon team, regardless of is only $2, If you’re interested or if you have more questions, email us at.

Just how far under the standard do you think it will be? another marathon, and that qualifying time has to have been run with a set date range. The Boston Marathon is an annual marathon race hosted by several cities in greater Boston in The Boston Marathon was first run in April , having been inspired by the revival of the marathon for the Summer Olympics in Athens, .. A: No, please do NOT run if you have not been officially entered in the race. For the Boston Marathon, qualifying times must be run on or after Saturday, You must directly contact the race you wish to qualify at to see if they have a This length of time may vary and can be as long as several days, depending on.

Athletes have six hours () from the time the last starter cross the start line to complete the course. All you must do is wear the bib; computers do the rest. The range of how long it takes is from Mutai to whoever had the slowest finish ever. How fast do you have to run a marathon to qualify for the Boston?. The BQ time standards can change from year to year. To qualify, you must run a marathon that is one of the designated Boston Qualifier races.

The Boston Marathon gets underway on Patriots’ Day in Beantown Monday. But how long does it last for the rest of the more than 30, runners to Racers must be able to run a marathon in three to five and a half. If you run, especially if you’re a marathon runner, then running a Boston Marathon What do you have to do to qualify for the Boston Marathon? . Boston Marathon is a goal that remains at the top of a runners list of goals often for many years. It’s a wonderful course if you want to experience camaraderie, history, The 10th place woman in Boston ran a time that would have gotten her.

If you’re an experienced runner, you can qualify for the Boston race by The times must be from a certified full-length marathon in order for Use a running app like Runkeeper or Strava to see how long it takes you to run a. Whether you’re running the Boston Marathon this year or hoping to qualify My best advice is to do at least one long run at your scheduled start time and test. How much prize money do you get for winning the Boston Marathon? Heading to watch the The marathon is run on Patriots Day, which is the third Monday in April. Advertisement How long is the route? The short answer.

 

The First Boston Marathon

After experiencing the spirit and majesty of the Olympic Marathon, B.A.A. member and inaugural US Olympic Team Manager John Graham was inspired to organize and conduct a marathon in the Boston area. With the assistance of Boston businessman Herbert H. Holton, various routes were considered, before a measured distance of 24.5 miles from Metcalf’s Mill in Ashland to the Irvington Oval in Boston was eventually selected. On April 19, 1897, John J. McDermott of New York, emerged from a 15-member starting field and captured the first B.A.A. Marathon in 2:55:10, and, in the process, forever secured his name in sports history.

In 1924, the course was lengthened to 26 miles, 385 yards to conform to the Olympic standard, and the starting line was moved west from Ashland to Hopkinton.

The Marathon Distance

The 1896 Olympic marathon distance of 24.8 miles was based on the distance run, according to famous Greek legend, in which the Greek foot-soldier Pheidippides was sent from the plains of Marathon to Athens with the news of the astounding victory over a superior Persian army. Exhausted as he approached the leaders of the City of Athens, he staggered and gasped, “Rejoice! We Conquer!” and then collapsed.

The marathon distance was later changed as a result of the 1908 Olympic Games in London. That year, King Edward VII and Queen Alexandria wanted the marathon race to begin at Windsor Castle outside the city so that the Royal family could view the start. The distance between the castle and the Olympic Stadium in London proved to be 26 miles. Organizers added extra yards to the finish around a track, 385 to be exact, so the runners would finish in front of the king and queen’s royal box. Every Olympic marathon run since the 1908 Games has been a distance of 26 miles, 385 yards.

On a Monday: The Patriots’ Day Race

From 1897-1968, the Boston Marathon was held on Patriots’ Day, April 19, a holiday commemorating the start of the Revolutionary War and recognized only in Massachusetts and Maine. The lone exception was when the 19th fell on Sunday. In those years, the race was held the following day (Monday the 20th). However, in 1969, the holiday was officially moved to the third Monday in April. Since 1969 the race has been held on a Monday. The last non-Monday champion was current Runner’s World editor Amby Burfoot, who posted a time of 2:22:17 on Friday, April 19, 1968.

Women Run to the Front

Roberta Gibb was the first woman to run the full Boston Marathon in 1966. Gibb, who did not run with an official race number during any of the three years (1966-68) that she was the first female finisher, hid in the bushes near the start until the race began. In 1967, Katherine Switzer did not clearly identify herself as a female on the race application and was issued a bibnumber. B.A.A. officials tried unsuccessfully to physically remove Switzer from the race once she was identified as a woman entrant. At the time of Switzer’s run, the Amateur Athletics Union (A.A.U.) had yet to formally accept participation of women in long distance running. When the A.A.U. permitted its sanctioned marathons (including Boston) to allow women entry in the fall of1971, Nina Kuscsik’s 1972 B.A.A. victory the following spring made her the first official champion. Eight women started that race and all eight finished.

First to Sponsor the Wheelchair Division

The Boston Marathon became the first major marathon to include a wheelchair division competition when it officially recognized Bob Hall in 1975. With a time of two hours, 58 minutes, he collected on a promise by then Race Director Will Cloney that if he finished in less than three hours, he would receive an official B.A.A. Finisher’s Certificate. American wheelchair competitors Jean Driscoll and Jim Knaub helped to further establish and popularize the division.

Olympic Champions at Boston

Three-time defending women’s champion Fatuma Roba became the fourth person to win the Olympic Games Marathon and the B.A.A. Boston Marathon when she posted a 2:26:23 to win the 1997 Boston Marathon. Roba, who won the 1996 Olympic Marathon, joined fellow-women’s champions Joan Benoit, who won Boston in 1979 and 1983, before adding the 1984 Olympic Games title; and Rosa Mota (POR), who won a trio of Boston crowns (1987, 1988, and 1990), while adding the 1988 Olympic title. Gelindo Bordin (ITA) is the only male to win the Olympic (1988) and Boston (1990) titles.

Boston Marathon Facts:

Boston Athletic Association: Among the nation’s oldest athletic clubs, the B.A.A. was established in 1887, and, in 1896, more than half of the U.S. Olympic Team at the first modern games was comprised of B.A.A. club members. The Olympic Games provided the inspiration for the first Boston Marathon, which culminated the B.A.A. Games on April 19, 1897. John J. McDermott emerged from a 15-member starting field to complete the course (then 24.5 miles) in a winning time of 2:55:10. The Boston Marathon has since become the world’s oldest annually contested marathon. The addition of principal sponsor John Hancock in 1986 has solidified the event’s success and ensures it well into the future.

Patriots’ Day: Since its inception, the Boston Marathon has been held on the holiday commemorating Patriots’ Day. From 1897-1968, the Boston Marathon was held on April 19, unlessthe 19th fell on a Sunday. Since 1969, the holiday has been officially recognized on the third Monday in April. The last non-Monday champion was current Runner’s World editor Amby Burfoot, who posted a time of 2:22:17 on Friday, April 19, 1968.

Record Field Size at Boston: The all-time record for the world’s largest marathon was established at the centennial race in 1996, when 35,868 finishers out of 36,748 official starters participated in the 100th running of the Boston Marathon. The Centennial Boston Marathon had 38,708 entrants and was recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records.

Four Olympic Champions Have Won Boston: Three-time women’s champion Fatuma Roba (ETH) became the fourth person to win the Olympic Games Marathon and the B.A.A. Boston Marathon, when she posted a time of 2:26:23 to win the 1997 Boston Marathon. Roba, who won the 1996 Olympic Marathon, joined fellow women’s champions Joan Benoit Samuelson, who won Boston in 1979 and 1983, before adding the 1984 Olympic Games title; and Rosa Mota (POR), who won a trio of Boston crowns (1987, 1988, and 1990), while adding the 1988 Olympic title. Gelindo Bordin (ITA) is the only male to have won the Olympic (1988) and Boston (1990) titles.

Most Boston Marathons: The legendary John A. Kelley started a record 61 Boston Marathons and finished 58. Kelley, who won the race in 1935 and 1945, first competed in the race in 1928,but it was not until 1933, in his third attempt, that he completed the course, placing 37th in 3:03:56. He last completed the course in 1992 at the age of 84. Kelley, who lived to be 97 (1907-2004), had a larger than life-size sculpture, entitled “Young at Heart,” created in his likeness and dedicated in his name at the base of Heartbreak Hill, a landmark which had its name coined in reference to one of Kelley’s seven runner-up performances. The sculpture stands in tribute to his longevity and spirit. From 1995 through 2004, Kelley, a three-time U.S. Olympian, served as the Boston Marathon’s grand marshal (missing only 1999 due to illness). He preceded the race in a pace car. Kelley is a member of both the USA Track & Field Hall of Fame and the National Road Running Distance Hall of Fame. He was selected as “The Runner of the Century,” by Runner’s World magazine, for his contributions to the sport of running and the millions of athletes who he has inspired.

Only B.A.A. Running Club Champion: The only B.A.A. Club member to win the Boston Marathon was John J. Kelley, who established a then-course record 2:20:05 to capture the 1957 race. Kelley finished second on five other occasions. A runner from the B.A.A. has finished in the runner-up spot on ten different occasions, including Patti Lyons in 1979, 1980 and 1981.

First to Sponsor Wheelchair Division: The Boston Marathon became the first major marathon to include a wheelchair division competition when it officially recognized Bob Hall in 1975.

Second Largest Single Day Sporting Event: In terms of on-site media coverage, the Boston Marathon ranks behind only the Super Bowl as the largest single day sporting event in the world. More than 1,100 media members, representing more than 250 outlets, receive credentials annually.

Spectators: Approximately 500,000 spectators line the 26.2-mile course annually, making the Boston Marathon New England’s most widely viewed sporting event, according to estimates by police and public safety officials from the eight cities and towns along the route.

Charity Program: The Boston Marathon Charity Program enables selected charitable organizations to raise millions of dollars for worthwhile causes. In 2012, 31 charities raised more than $11 million.

(source: BAA.org)

THIS DAY IN HISTORY

On April 19, 1897, John J. McDermott of New York won the first Boston Marathon with a time of 2:55:10.

The Boston Marathon was the brainchild of Boston Athletic Association member and inaugural U.S. Olympic team manager John Graham, who was inspired by the marathon at the first modern Olympic Games in Athens in 1896. With the assistance of Boston businessman Herbert H. Holton, various routes were considered, before a measured distance of 24.5 miles from the Irvington Oval in Boston to Metcalf’s Mill in Ashland was eventually selected.

Fifteen runners started the race but only 10 made it to the finish line. John J. McDermott, representing the Pastime Athletic Club of New York City, took the lead from Harvard athlete Dick Grant over the hills in Newton. Although he walked several times during the final miles, McDermott still won by a comfortable six-minute, fifty-two-seconds. McDermott had won the only other marathon on U.S. soil the previous October in New York.

The marathon’s distance was changed in 1908 in accordance with Olympic standards to its current length of 26 miles 385 yards.

The Boston Marathon was originally held on Patriot’s Day, April 19, a regional holiday that commemorates the beginning of the Revolutionary War. In years when the 19th fell on a Sunday, the race was held the following Monday. In 1969, Patriots Day was officially moved to the third Monday in April and the race has been held on that Monday ever since.

Women were not allowed to enter the Boston race officially until 1972, but Roberta “Bobbi” Gibb couldn’t wait: In 1966, she became the first woman to run the entire Boston Marathon, but had to hide in the bushes near the start until the race began. In 1967, Kathrine Switzer, who had registered as “K. V. Switzer”, was the first woman to run with a race number. Switzer finished even though officials tried to physically remove her from the race after she was identified as a woman.

In the fall of 1971, the Amateur Athletics Union permitted its sanctioned marathons (including Boston) to allow female entry. Nina Kuscsik became the first official female participant to win the Boston Marathon in 1972. Seven other women started and finished that race.

In 1975, the Boston Marathon became the first major marathon to include a wheelchair division competition. Bob Hall won it in two hours, 58 minutes.

  • Registration for the 2020 Boston Marathon will opened up on Monday, September 9, 2019 at 10 a.m. and closes on September 18.
  • As in previous years, runners with the fastest times get to register first. On September 17, the BAA announced on Twitter that there will be a cutoff for the 2020 race.
  • The 2020 race will take place on April 20. Registration will take place at baa.org.

The Boston Marathon is unlike other marathons, which is part of its appeal. You can’t just sign up whenever you wish. Most runners need a qualifying time from another marathon, and that qualifying time has to have been run with a set date range on a certain type of course.

Registration for the 2020 Boston Marathon begins at 10 a.m. eastern on Monday, September 9, at baa.org. But not everyone can sign up at the start.

As in recent years, fortune favors the fleet, and for the 2020 race, the standards became a bit harder, so find your qualifying time now and adjust your training goals accordingly. Here is what you need to know to find your way to the starting line in Hopkinton.

• Those with marathon qualifying times (from September 15 of 2018 or later) who are 20 or more minutes faster than the standard for their age and gender are allowed the first crack at registering on a Monday, September 9. Those fast folks alone can sign up during the first 48 hours.

• At 10 a.m. on Wednesday, September 11, registration opens for those who are 10 or more minutes faster than their qualifying time.

• And on Friday, September 13, runners who have met the qualifying standard by five or more minutes can enter. Registration then closes from Saturday afternoon until Monday.

• If space in the field remains, registration reopens at 10 a.m. on Monday, September 16. Then, anyone with a qualifying time can apply for entry. At 5 p.m. on Wednesday, September 18, registration closes.

• Boston Marathon organizers encourage runners to sign up as soon as they are eligible to sign up. Last year, many runners who had met the qualifying standard by more than five minutes waited until the second week to register. If they all signed up during the first week, the BAA might not have opened registration for a second week, according to BAA chief executive Tom Grilk. Because the qualifying standards are tougher this year, the race is unlikely to fill in the first week, but runners should still sign up as soon as they are allowed.

• Race organizers also encourage runners to take their time with the registration process and make sure they spell their names correctly and input accurate address information.

Related Story

Below are questions and answers about what we know today about registration for the 2020 Boston Marathon.

Q. When is the 2020 Boston Marathon?
A. The race will be held on Monday, April 20, 2020, which is Patriots’ Day in Massachusetts. It will be the 124th running of the marathon.

Q. How many people can run it?
A. The BAA has not announced the official 2020 field size. In most recent editions, the field size was around 30,000, and about 80 percent of entries were reserved for time qualifiers.

Q. When does registration open?
A. Registration typically opens for time qualifiers in the second week of September for the following year’s race. For the 2020 race, registration opens September 9 at 10 a.m.

Related Story

Q. How does registration work?
A. As it has in recent years, registration occurs on a “rolling admission” schedule, beginning with the fastest qualifiers, and remained open until all qualifier spots had been filled. Preference was given to those who had run the fastest under their age and gender qualifying standard (see below for the 2020 standards).

For the last several years, some runners with a qualifying standard did not gain entry, because more than 24,000 (the rough number of qualifier spots) tried to register. For the 2019 marathon, more than 7,000 time qualifiers were not accepted. For the 2019 race, runners needed to better their age and gender standard by at least 4:52.

Until registration closes, there is no way of knowing how much faster than one’s standard it will be necessary to run to ensure gaining entry. The BAA announced on Twitter and its website on September 18 that not every qualifier who applied will be accepted into the 2020 race.

Registration for #Boston2020 is now closed for qualified open athletes. Due to field size limitations, we are unable to accept all entries for next April’s race. We recognize and thank all who have worked hard to achieve their goal of qualifying for the #BostonMarathon. pic.twitter.com/lMc98yfwsj

— Boston Marathon (@bostonmarathon) September 18, 2019

Watch: From Hopkinton to Boylston, here’s what to expect on the Boston Marathon course.

Because of the high number of runners left on the sidelines, the BAA changed the qualifying standards for the 2020 Boston Marathon. Across all age groups for both genders, runners must now be 5 minutes faster than the previous qualifying standards.

Related Story

Q. What are the qualifying standards?
A. For 2020, the qualifying standards adjusted by 5 minutes across all age groups.

Brian Cariaga

Runners younger than 18 aren’t allowed to register for the marathon. A runner’s age on the day of the 2020 marathon is the one that determines what age-group standard that runner must meet. The qualification window for the 2020 Boston Marathon began on Saturday, September 15, 2018 and the qualifying period will remain open until the conclusion of registration.

Q. Have those always been the qualifying standards?
A. No. Qualifying was first introduced for the 1970 race, and the standards have changed a number of times since then.

Related Story

Q. Are net times or gun times used for qualifying standards?
A. Net times (i.e., from when a runner crossed the start line to when the runner crossed the finish line) are used for qualifying standards.

Q. Where can qualifying marathons be run?
A. In the U.S., marathons must be run on a course certified by USA Track & Field. Overseas marathons must be certified by that country’s athletic federation. A searchable database of certified courses in the U.S. can be found here.

Related Story

Q. How can non-qualifiers enter the marathon?
A. The BAA sets aside a few thousand numbers for runners affiliated with one of the marathon’s official charities. These runners do not have to run a qualifying marathon. The charities are given numbers to distribute to runners, who usually pledge to raise a substantial amount of money for the charity. Charity runners go through the charity they’re running for, rather than the qualifier registration system, to sign up for the marathon. Charities open registration for their available numbers at various times during the year.

Find the BAA’s guide here.

Q. Are there ways to get in other than a time qualification or charity?
A. There are, but you need to either be really fast or know somebody. Invited elites don’t necessarily have a previous marathon qualifying time (though they’ve all run impressive non-marathon distances). A certain number of entries for sponsors, the cities and towns along the course, and the media are set aside each year, along with promotional entries and other special invitations.

4 Items You Need to Pack for Your Marathon

Stay Slick

BodyGlide Anti Chafe Balm
Stop unwanted friction
$8 | Amazon
Buy Now

Prevent Sunburn

Neutrogena Sport Face Sunscreen
Protect your game face
$6 | Amazon
Buy Now

Fuel Up

Clif Bar Energy Bar x6
Regain energy post-race
$6 | Amazon
Buy Now

Rest and Recover

Biofreeze Pain Relief Gel
Rub the pain away
$11 | Amazon
Buy Now

Scott Douglas Scott is a veteran running, fitness, and health journalist who has held senior editorial positions at Runner’s World and Running Times.

Boston Marathon Route Mile by Mile

You can find terrific viewing spots along most of the Boston Marathon route.

However, if you want to be sure to watch the winners as they maintain their lead position at most points during the race, you need to be strategic when you pick your viewing location.

In this article, we’ll give you the big picture of the Marathon route, plus a race course map and a mile-by-mile description.

We’ll also point out challenges the runners encounter along the course.

But most important, we’ll show you where to get the best views of the winners – without getting crushed by the crowds at the finish line.

More about the Boston Marathon

“Big Picture” of the Marathon Route

The Boston Marathon route covers 26 miles and 385 yards of sometimes hilly, sometimes flat terrain between Hopkinton, Massachusetts and Copley Square in Boston.

The race starts in Hopkinton, located to the west-south-west of Boston, on Route 135. It continues east on Route 135 through Ashland, Framingham, Natick, and Wellesley.

In Wellesley, Route 135 merges into Route 16. The race continues east on Route 16 into the Newton Lower Falls area of Newton, just to the east of Route 128, where it merges right at the firehouse onto Commonwealth Avenue (Route 30).


Team Hoyt gets a thumbs up – Mile 21

The race continues on Comm Ave through the four challenging Newton Hills, including the notorious Heartbreak Hill.

At the Reservoir, racers bear right at Chestnut Hill Ave to Beacon Street until they reach Fenway Park and Kenmore Square, where they veer right onto Comm Ave again and run a few more blocks toward the city.

At Hereford Street, the Marathon route turns right (don’t ever try this in your car – normally Hereford is a one way street going left), and then turns left onto Boylston Street for the final 4 blocks.

The race finishes in Copley Square near the Boston Public Library.

Best Places to See the Boston Marathon Winners


Mile 21 on the Boston Marathon Route

You’d expect the best place to see the Marathon winners would be near the finish line in Copley Square, right?

That would be true – except for the exuberant crowds packing both sides of Boylston Street 20 people deep. This give you a low chance of seeing the winners cross the finish line – and a high chance of not being able to see the runners at all.

But you can still see the winners…just not at the finish line.

Position yourself a few miles before the finish line, and you can be almost positive that the winner of each division will be among the first five or six racers.

The most challenging stretch of the race takes place between Miles 18-21 when the four Newton Hills flatten many of the competitors (see below for mile-by-mile details). By the time the runners hit the 4th hill, the infamous “Heartbreak Hill,” all but the top contenders have fallen behind. Catching up with the lead pack may not be impossible at this point – but is is close to it.

You could position yourself after Heartbreak Hill, in Mile 22…but this area around Cleveland Circle tends to be crowded – and the crowds grow even larger as you get closer to Boston.

For this reason, Mile 21, right before Heartbreak Hill, is the sweet spot for seeing the soon-to-be Marathon winners. Crowds are less intense so you can easily get a great view. And chances are good that whoever is in the lead group of runners for each division has a fair shot at being the first across the finish line.

Boston Insider Tip: Marathon Road Closures

Planning to drive into the city to watch the Boston Marathon? More streets are closed this year than ever before, and parking on many others is restricted. See our advice about getting to the Marathon on public transportation instead, and check out road closures and a map showing commuter rail and subway stations closest to the route.

Hotels Overlooking the Boston Marathon Route

For the best Boston Marathon views from your room, stay in a hotel over looking the Marathon route, such as the luxurious Lexox Hotel on Boylston Street:

More top hotels near Boston’s North End:

  • Buckminster Hotel
  • Hotel Commonwealth
  • Charlesmark Hotel

Check out more Boston Marathon hotels

Mile by Mile Marathon Route – Where to See the Race

Mile 0 to Mile 1: Hopkinton
Elevation at start: 490 feet
Runners gather at the Athletes’ Village behind Hopkinton’s Middle/High School.

The Boston Marathon route begins in Hopkinton Common, a grassy green space in this once-rural, now-suburban town.

The race route’s elevation is at its highest here – 490 feet. Almost immediately, the elevation drops (except for a small hill after the first kilometer) as runners begin the first of several mostly enjoyable downward miles winding through the countryside past open fields and widely-spaced suburban houses. The total drop during this first mile is 130 feet.

You’ll see lots of large crowds of spectators clustered along Main Street here.

Mile 1 to Mile 2: Hopkinton
Elevation at start: 360 feet
Slightly rolling terrain, but generally pleasant and uneventful. Crowds become much thinner.

Mile 2 to Mile 3: Ashland
Elevation at start: 320 feet
Pleasant and uneventful. More rolling hills. Route 135 is just 2 lanes here – meaning one lane in each direction. The village of Ashland produces some cheering crowds, but otherwise there aren’t too many spectators along this stretch.

Mile 3 to Mile 4: Ashland
Elevation at start: 265 feet
Pleasant and uneventful. More rolling hills. The route becomes less rural, with commercial areas and small strip malls.

Mile 4 to Mile 5: Ashland – Framingham
Elevation at start: 180 feet
Runners encounter the first significant upward slope – a long half-mile incline as they enter Framingham toward the end of the mile.

Mile 5 to Mile 6- Framingham
Elevation at start: 205 feet
Runners leave country behind as they proceed along the Boston Marathon route through Framingham. The route becomes hillier also – three small rolling hills, resulting in a net drop of 25 feet by the end of this mile. Front runners begin to emerge, with other racers dropping back a bit.

Plenty of spectators usually line up to watch here.

Mile 6 to Mile 7 – Framingham
Elevation at start: 180 feet
Development becomes denser, with office buildings, factories, and stores lining the road around the intersection of Route 135 and Route 126. The route is mostly flat, with a drop by the end of the mile of another 25 feet. Experienced runners take it easy along this stretch, as the biggest challenges lie ahead.

Mile 7 to Mile 8 – Framingham – Natick
Elevation at start: 155 feet
Hard to tell where Framingham ends and Natick begins. Mostly flat, with a gradual rise of about 25 feet by the end of the mile.

Mile 8 to Mile 9- Natick
Elevation at start: 180 feet
Stores and more stores line the route. Mostly rolling terrain, but still fairly flat.

Mile 9 to Mile 10 – Natick
Elevation at start: 150 feet
Mostly flat, and less commercial as the runners first pass Lake Cochichuate, and then run through Natick’s historic district.

Mile 10 to Mile 11 – Natick
Elevation at start: 170 feet
The road is flat through Natick, where the intersection of Routes 135 and 27 in Natick Center mark the first 10 miles. Lots of crowds gather around Natick Center.

Mile 11 to Mile 12 – Natick
Elevation at start: 180 feet
Development thins out, as the runners approach more suburban Wellesley. The route drops slightly, and the peaceful wooded area just to the west of Wellesley gives no hint of what is about to happen in Mile 12.

Mile 12 to Mile 13 – Wellesley
Elevation at start: 165 feet
The course inclines rather sharply downhill but then climbs up toward the end of the mile.

Wellesley College, located near Mile 13, cancels classes for the day. Wellesley students begin lining up soon after Mile 12 to create what they call the Scream Tunnel – a wall of sound, unbroken for the duration of the race and amplified by loud music, colorful signs, high fives, hugs, and kisses to cheer on the runners as they stream past.

Mile 13 to Mile 14 – Wellesley
Elevation at start: 145 feet
Mostly flat.

Less than 200 yards into Mile 13 is the halfway mark. Runners turn left onto Route 16, and head through blocks lined with ritzy shops as the Boston Marathon route leads them east from Wellesley Center.

Mile 14 to Mile 15 – Wellesley
Elevation at start: 130 feet
Mostly flat.

Runners pass the picturesque village houses and more shops on the outskirts of Wellesley, and then cross Route 9. Crowds are usually fairly thin here.

Mile 15 to Mile 16 – Wellesley Hills – Newton Lower Falls
Elevation at start: 160 feet
After crossing Route 9 there’s a slight rise – and then after about half a mile comes the sharpest descent of the race, an abrupt 100-foot drop into Newton Lower Falls. This is where the terrain changes, and for the next 9 miles, the runners will be challenged by a series of rippling hills.

Crowds are still fairly thin here.

Mile 16 to Mile 17- Newton Lower Falls – Newton
Elevation at start: 60 feet
Almost immediately, runners pass the “Entering Newton” sign, and start a long half-mile plus uphill climb taking them along the Route 128 overpass. Traffic roars by below, with lots of honking from drivers who look up and spot the Marathon runners. The elevation of the overpass exacerbates whatever unpleasant weather elements may be at play – strong winds, driving rain, searing (remember, our Boston weather in April can bring nasty surprises). The course drops a bit around Newton Wellesley Hospital, and finally gets a little flatter.

Not too crowded here.

Mile 17 to Mile 18 – Newton
Elevation at start: 115 feet
After going through a mostly flat residential area, runners turn right at the firehouse (which is on their left) onto Commonwealth Avenue (Route 30). Newton’s four difficult hills lie ahead, and the first, “Firehouse Hill,” is about to begin. This is a steep hill, although less than a half-mile long, beginning just past the Brae Burn Country Club on the right.

Large crowds gather around the firehouse and along Comm Ave. From here on in, expect lots of spectators lining both sides of the route.

Mile 18 to Mile 19 – Newton
Elevation at start: 145 feet
The course curves around quite a bit, but is mostly flat, with a small net drop of 15 feet.

Mile 19 to Mile 20 – Newton
Elevation at start: 130 feet
Runners encounter Newton’s second hill . . .

Just after Mile 19 begins, runners cross Walnut Street, where the “Forever Young” statue of John A. Kelley shows Boston’s famous Marathon runner as a young athlete next to his older self. Almost immediately, the course – now quite curvy – begins a gradual incline. By this point, the runners are looking tired and stressed, but soon the hill becomes steeper. It flattens out a little – and then climbs again near Centre Street.

Mile 20 to Mile 21 – Newton
Elevation at start: 150 feet
. . . and the third hill, another sharp incline just after Newton City Hall.

Mile 20 begins almost at Centre Street. Heartbreak Hill, Newton’s fourth hill along this stretch of Comm Ave, comes just after the shops near Centre Street and forces the runners up a winding half-mile rise to Hammond Street. The hill itself isn’t horrible – but it does come at a point in the runners are already exhausted by the previous hills and all those miles. Prudential Tower comes into sight at the summit, and crowds along this stretch are large and enthusiastic.

Crowds get even bigger after this point, so if being in large crowds makes you feel uncomfortable, stake out a spot at or before Mile 20.

Boston Insider Tip: Why is Heartbreak Hill So Hard?

If you look at this rise while watching the Marathon, you hardly even realize it is a hill. But the runners have already covered almost 21 miles and 3 previous difficult hills.

Their stamina starts to ebb, and then they hit this hill that seems to go on and up forever.

Mile 21 to Mile 22 – Newton / Chestnut Hill
Elevation at start: 230 feet
Runners pass Boston College at Mile 21 as the course plummets around the Reservoir, with minor ups and downs. The downward portions of this stretch are considered especially difficult – perhaps after the recent strain of Heartbreak Hill. BC’s Screaming Eagles shriek, along with the rest of the large exuberant crowds. The Chestnut Hill Reservoir is on the right, just as the runners head toward the Mile 23 mark.

Mile 22 to Mile 23- Boston / Brighton
Elevation at start: 150 feet
Parts of this mile are flat, and parts go downhill – tough for the runners at this point. Crowds line Cleveland Circle, and become increasingly thicker from this point on.

Mile 23 – Brookline
Elevation at start: 95 feet
Crowds grow even thicker.

Mile 24 – Brookline
Elevation at start: 60 feet
Boston University students line both sides of Commonwealth Ave, cheering almost as loudly as the Wellesley students.

Boston Insider Tip: Boston Marathon Route

  • Crowds are biggest the closer you get to Copley Square – so for less congested viewing, pick a spot in a location along the way, such as Newton.
  • Do not drive into the city! Streets start being blocked off and parking restricted two days before the race, and the number of streets affected grows each year.

Mile 25 – Boston / Back Bay
Elevation at start: 15 feet
Runners go through Kenmore Square. From Kenmore Square, they run along Commonwealth Ave for a couple of blocks in the Fenway neighborhood and then a couple of block in Back Bay until they reach Hereford Street, where they turn right.

Every year, the Red Sox play a home game at nearby Fenway Park on Marathon Day that normally starts at 11:05 (you can confirm the schedule here). As soon as the game is over, the crowd surges out of Fenway Park and pours into Kenmore Square. The fastest runners have already gone past by the time the game ends – but the crowds loud cheer the rest of the runners as they strive to complete the final mile.

Mile 26 – Boston / Back Bay
Elevation at start: 10 feet
Runners pass the big stores along Boylston Street.

Mile 26 + 385 yards – Copley Square
Elevation at start (and finish): 10 feet
The finish line!

More Fun Ways to See Boston

Check Out More Top Boston Events Each Month

January | February | March | April | May | June | July | August | September | October | November | December | Year at a Glance

Recommended for You

  • For dates, times, and best T stations: Boston Marathon
  • To find out how to qualify to run: Boston Marathon Qualifying Times
  • To find out where to stay, whether you’re running or watching: Boston Marathon hotels
  • Boston Marathon weather history – you may be surprised!
  • For more information: BAA Website; 617-236-1652
  • Questions (and our answers) about the Marathon

How to Save on Boston Hotels

Check out all our tips on how to find discounts, deals, and promo codes for Boston hotels. Whether you’re looking for bargain accommodations or want to pay less for luxury, we’ll show you How to Save on Hotels in Boston.

Booking.com

More about how to save on Boston hotels

WATCH IN HOPKINTON (START AREA)

It all starts here
  • Hopkinton Center is a busy place on race morning.
  • If you want to see the start of the race, please note that roads in Hopkinton close at 7:00 a.m. and no street parking will be available.
  • There is parking for spectators at Hopkinton State Park, and a shuttle service will run on race morning to bring spectators to the start line area in Hopkinton Center.
  • Athlete transportation to the Athletes’ Village is separate, with busses leaving from Boston Common on race morning at designated times.
  • Spectators boarding B.A.A. Shuttle Buses may carry a small bag containing personal items.
  • Using a clear plastic bag will enhance public safety and expedite the security screening process.
  • All persons boarding, or on, B.A.A. shuttle buses are subject to security screening.
  • In all cases, runners and spectators should keep their personal items under their immediate control at all times.
START TIMES
  • More information coming soon.
AREA MAP
  • For a map of the start line area, click the image below:

Boston Marathon 2018: Start times, route map

(AP photo)

By Kristin LaFratta

The 122nd Boston Marathon will take place this Patriots’ Day, on Monday, April 16. Once again, thousands of athletes will test their skills on a challenging route that spans 26-plus miles from Hopkinton to Boston’s Copley Square. Another couple hundred thousand people will line the streets along eight cities and towns to cheer racers on.

Here’s what you need to know if you’re heading to the 2018 Boston Marathon.

Don’t Edit

Runners cross the line at the start of the 2017 Boston Marathon in Hopkinton, Mass., Monday, April 17, 2017. (AP Photo/Mary Schwalm)

When and where does it start?

The marathon is held each year on Patriots’ Day. All divisions begin at the official starting line in Hopkinton, near the town’s middle-high school.

The thousands of athletes gather there beforehand in a makeshift “Athletes Village.” In order to stagger racers, the separate divisions kick off at different times:

The elite divisions finish the race in a little over two hours. Last year, the men’s elite winner Geoffrey Kirui finished the race with a time of 2:09:37, while the women’s elite winner Edna Kiplagat finished in 2:21:52.

Don’t Edit

(Boston Athletic Association)

What is the marathon route?

The Boston Marathon is considered the world’s oldest marathon, and it has a distinct route that weaves through eight cities and towns from Hopkinton to Boston. The race begins on Main Street in Hopkinton and runs through multiple MetroWest cities and towns, including Framingham, Natick and Wellesley on Route 135.

The route then transitions into Newton, where — after 20.5 miles — runners meet Heartbreak Hill. The half-mile incline from Center Street to Hammond Street is known as the most difficult stretch of the course.

Racers continue toward Boston as they turn first onto Commonwealth Avenue, then Chestnut Hill Avenue, then Cleveland Circle, then Beacon Street by Kenmore Square. Runners then hit the last leg of the race as they turn onto Boylston Street, where they will finish in Copley Square.

Don’t Edit

A Wellesley College student located at the “scream tunnel” holds up a sign during the 2017 Boston Marathon that says, “Kiss me, I’m unathletic.” (Michelle Williams/MassLive)

Where should I watch the marathon?

There are few poor viewing spots along the Boston Marathon route, though some areas quickly become crowded. Some of the most popular spots include the starting line in Hopkinton, the finish in Copley Square, the Wellesley “scream tunnel” where students from the all-women’s college display provocative signs for runners and downtown areas along the way.

Check out MassLive’s list of the 15 best places to watch the Boston Marathon for more.

Don’t Edit

Crowds stand behind barriers waiting for the first runners to cross the 2017 Boston Marathon. (Kristin LaFratta/MassLive)

How many people are expected in Boston?

On top of the tens of thousands of runners, there will likely be up to 1 million spectators lined along the marathon route, as was estimated for the 2017 race. Those who have never participated will find the enormous crowds create a jubilant atmosphere akin to a parade. The start and finish areas crowd up quickly, so it fans who want to be where the action is should find spots early on race day.

Don’t Edit Don’t Edit

Boston Police stand guard around the finish line during the 2017 Boston Marathon race. (Kristin LaFratta/MassLive)

What will security look like?

The 2018 race marks the fifth anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings that left three dead and hundreds injured. Local, regional and federal authorities have worked together for six months to devise a security plan for the marathon this year, which will include three tethered drones, nearly 8,000 public safety personnel, and a mixture of uniformed and plain-clothed officers. Learn more about this year’s security measures here.

Don’t Edit

Spectators watch runners near the finish line at the 121st Boston Marathon on April 17, 2017. (Kristin LaFratta/MassLive)

Don’t Edit

Run the boston marathon

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *