Your guide to navigating Marathon Madness.
It’s been nearly 30 months since Boston last hosted its famous Marathon in person, but it’s finally back this Monday, October 11. Even if you’re not competing, the Marathon is a great day to cheer on runners as they complete the marvellous feat of running 26.2 miles through the Hub! And considering that the Sox will probably have playoff game that night, the energy in Boston on Monday will be incredible.
If you’ve never attended the Marathon before, here’s a breakdown of what to expect.
Where to watch:
The three main spots that attract the most spectators are the starting point, finish line, and Heartbreak Hill (the most gruelling stretch of the race). According to the BAA, spectators who want to catch the beginning of the race at Main St. in Hopkinton should arrive at roughly 8:30 AM, and for the finish line at Boylston St. in Boston, they recommend arriving at around 10:30-11 AM. For Heartbreak Hill, near Rt. 30 in Newton, spectators should plan to arrive at 10 AM.
Now, aside from those three main points, the experience is pretty similar in most places along the route. Ultimately, the best place to watch the Marathon is anywhere you can walk to—we do not recommend driving and parking on this particular day of the year. If you must drive, try to stay on the same side you live on.
Crossing the marathon route isn’t always easy or possible at all, so plan to stay on one side of it wherever you end up. While there are areas where you can cross, they are only open at certain times and once the pack thickens, they close for over an hour at a time.
What to expect for COVID-19 regulations:
The race might look a little different this year due to COVID. There’s about two-thirds of the normal number of participants, and they are required to show proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID-19 test to get to the starting line.
For those watching on the sidelines, the BAA suggests getting vaccinated and strongly encourages spectators to get tested for COVID-19 in advance of traveling to Boston. When spectators are unable to socially distance, the BAA suggests wearing a mask.
What to bring/not bring:
For watching the race, we recommend bringing lawn chairs to kick back and relax in while the runners approach. Plus, signs of encouragement are always appreciated to cheer on the runners.
As for what not to bring: BAA officials have warned that spectators entering official event venues may be asked to pass through security checkpoints and have their bags inspected by law enforcement officers or contracted private security personnel. Spectators are discouraged from bringing backpacks, suitcases, coolers, and bulky handbags, as well as glass containers.
Have a happy Marathon Monday, Boston, and see you at the finish line!
[featured image: facebook.com/BostonMarathon]