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Boston Marathon
Photograph: FayFoto/Boston Boston Marathon

The Boston Marathon route

Everything you need to know about the Boston Marathon, including starting times and the marathon route

By Gerrish Lopez and Time Out Boston Staff
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UPDATE: The 2020 Boston Marathon has been postponed to Sept. 14 due to the ongoing situation surrounding the coronavirus. 

The Boston Marathon dates back to 1897, making it the world’s oldest annual marathon. Held on Patriots’ Day — it’s a highlight of the annual Boston calendar — the event draws more than 30,000 participants from around the world. Regardless of the conditions, runners push their limits while spectators party and cheer their hearts out. Here’s our guide to everything you need to know about the Boston Marathon and the route, including where to watch the race. You can also check out our list of things to do during the Boston Marathon. If you’re running the race, work on your cardio in the comfort of one of Boston’s best gyms, or carbo-load at one of the best bagel shops in Boston or best Italian restaurants in Boston.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best things to do in Boston

When is the Boston Marathon?
Monday, September 14, 2020

When does the Boston Marathon Start?
The marathon begins in waves starting at 9:02am:
Men's Wheelchair 9:02am
Women's Wheelchair 9:05am
Handcycles & Duos 9:30am
Elite Men 9:37am
Elite Women 9:45am
Para Athletics Divisions 9:50am
Wave One 10am
Wave Two 10:25am
Wave Three 10:50am
Wave Four 11:15am
*Start times are tentative and subject to change

Where does the Boston Marathon route start and end?
The Boston Marathon starting line is on Main St. in Hopkinton. The finish line is on Boylston Street.

Where can I watch the Boston Marathon?
There are many thrilling spots along the marathon route where you can cheer on the runners. Here are the highlights:

The starting line: Catch the runners at the start of the race in Hopkinton when they’re pumped and ready to go. You can also see the runners warming up at the Athletes’ Village if you arrive before the start.

“Scream Tunnel”: If you’re a screamer and love to cheer, head to this Wellesley College spot where supporters turn the volume up to 11. It’s halfway through the race, so runners will need a big push. You’ll also see students with decorative signs displaying encouraging messages.

Heartbreak Hill: After 20 miles, runners face a notorious uphill run a half mile long. It’s probably the hardest stretch of the route, so runners need encouragement from the crowd to get them through.

Boston College: BC students bring the party to let runners know the Heartbreak Hill stretch is over. It’s a scenic spot with a great atmosphere.

Coolidge Corner: The race is almost over at this point, but you won’t have to deal with the crowds in the city. Cheer on the runners as they head into the final stretch. Afterwards, there are plenty of shops and restaurants to check out.

Kenmore Square: Head here to feel the energy of the runners beginning their last mile and Red Sox fans spilling out of Fenway Park after a (hopefully winning) Patriots’ Day home game.

The finish line: There’s nothing like seeing the elation on the faces of runners who have completed a marathon, whether it’s their first or one of many. It’s an emotional spot to watch the marathon, and you might end up wanting to congratulate each and every finisher you see.

Home: You can always watch at home if it’s too cold. Just order up some of Boston’s best delivery and cheer on the runners in your PJs.

2020 Boston Marathon route

Consult the official race map

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