The combination of history, the beauty of the race course and unique qualifying standards makes the Boston Marathon one of the best known and most popular marathons in the world. Running the Boston Marathon is a lifetime goal for many runners throughout North America and the world.
Boston Marathon Travel Made Easy
The Boston Marathon course begins in the small village of Hopkinton and winds its way through a series of small communities on the way to Boston. The course is lined with spectators throughout the route who delight in encouraging runners along the way, from the elites to the back of the pack finishers. Rounding the final corner from Hereford to Boylston streets and seeing the finish line 600 yards in the distance is a triumphant experience that every runner should experience at least once.
Getting to Boston
If you’re coming by air, you’ll arrive through Logan International Airport which is only a short ride from Downtown Boston. Once there, you can take a cab into the city or hop on the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority buses which take you directly from the airport to the city’s subway line.
If you’re coming by train, Amtrak offers several routes into the city with three Boston stops:
- Rte. 128 stops about 12 miles outside the city center and takes you to the southwest part of the city.
- Back Bay Station takes you closest to the finish line of the marathon and the downtown hotels which are most convenient for those running the race.
- The South Station terminal is close to the theatre and financial district, not far from Back Bay and allows you to hook up with the Red Line subway.
If you’re travelling by car, you can take one of three main routes. The Massachusetts Turnpike (I-90) comes into Boston from the west, and the I-95 and I-93 pass through the city from the north and south.
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Travelling Around Boston
The MBTA bus and subway systems are easy to use and cover the city very well. There are 5 different color coded subway lines, the Red, Orange, Green, Blue and Silver. Each of these cover a different area of the city and you can link from one line to another at various stops along the way.
You can purchase unlimited daily bus and subway passes for $9 per day or $15 for a week. Children under 11 ride free and students, seniors and those with disabilities are eligible for significantly discounted rates.
There are plenty of cabs available locally as well, but the public transit system renders these largely unnecessary unless you’re in a rush.
with the excellent public transportation system and high cost of parking, car rentals are often not preferred. However, if you wish to compare car rental rates, check RentalCars.com
Where to Stay in Boston
The Boston Marathon presents unique challenges in choosing a hotel since the race is point to point, with the start and finish being a full 26 miles apart. There is very little lodging available in Hopkinton, where the race starts, however, the race organizers run shuttle buses from the Boston Common area near the finish line to the Athlete’s Village in Hopkinton. These buses are for race participants only, and you must show your number to board the bus.
The most convenient place to stay is near the finish line in Boston’s Back Bay Area. There are a number of hotels within a mile of the finish line.
- Boston Marriot Copely Place This hotel is located within steps of the finish line and less than a mile from Fenway Park and Boston Common.
- Holiday Inn Boston at Beacon Hill Affordable lodgings in the Beacon Hill district, less than a mile from the finish line and just a couple of blocks from the pre-race Pasta Dinner location.
- The Boston Omni Parker House Hotel is located just to the north of the Shuttle Bus pick up location on Tremont St. and is very convenient for the early morning trip to Hopkinton. It’s in the Beacon Hill District and is just across the street from the pre-race pasta dinner.
- The Radisson Boston is just across the street from the Park Plaza Hotel and offers excellent access to the finish line and the family meeting place on Stuart St. where families can meet up with the runners after they finish.
- Sheraton Boston Located a few blocks south of the finish line, the Sheraton Boston is one of Boston’s finest hotels. It recently underwent a $55 million renovation and has more than 1,200 rooms to offer.
Where to Carbo Load Before the Race
The pre-race pasta meal is located outdoors near Beacon Hill on Tremont St., just steps from the Government Center subway stop. If you’re looking for local restaurants, you can’t do better than Maggiano’s Little Italy, on Columbus Avenue, a block south of Boston Common near the Park Plaza Hotel. It’s a family restaurant with great food and huge portions, just what you’re looking for if you’re loading up on carbs for race day.
Things to do in Boston
Boston is one of the most historic cities in America. The combination of city’s history, the friendliness of the people and the fantastic architecture make Boston an excellent tourist destination, even for those not running the race. Viator offers a number of reasonably priced tours and attractions in the Greater Boston area.
The Boston City Pass is a great way to get an overview of the city’s most famous attractions. For a surprisingly low price, you get access to:
· The New England Aquarium.
· The JFK Library and museum or the Harvard Museum of Natural History.
· The Museum of Fine Arts.
· The Skywalk Observatory at the Prudential Center.
· The Museum of Science.
Each ticket booklet gives you vital information such as the hours of operation, how to get there and tips for making the most of your experience. Another similar tour card is the Go Boston Card.
The Boston Dinner Cruise takes you on a three hour tour through the famous Boston Harbor. The cruise allows you to enjoy fine dining, delicious wines and live entertainment.
You can peruse all of Boston’s major landmarks on the Boston Duck Tour. Take a ride on a renovated authentic WWII amphibious vehicle to explore sights such as the State House, Bunker Hill, the Fleet Center, Copley Square and more before finishing with a trip down the Charles River to view the city from a rarely seen perspective.
If you’re looking for something a little off beat, you can try the Boston Ghosts and Gravestones Tour, which takes you on a walking tour through 17th century burial grounds to the graves of Paul Revere, John Hancock and Samuel Adams.
The Boston Whale Watching Cruise takes you on a 3 hour catamaran trip to see the North East Coast’s most vibrant whale watching location. You’re guaranteed to see a whale during your cruise. If no whales are sighted, you’ll get a free ticket for an upcoming cruise.
The Boston Hop-on Hop-off Trolley Tour let’s you see Boston at your own pace. There are 18 stops and you can hop on or hop off whenever you like. Trolleys leave every 20 to 30 minutes and visit the following attractions and more:
- New England Aquarium.
- Charleston Navy Yard.
- TD Banknorth Garden, home of the Boston Celtics and Boston Bruins.
- The Theater District.
- The Original “Cheers”.
- Copley Square.
- Christian Science Plaza.
- Fenway Park.
- Boston Common.
Useful Boston Marathon Travel Links
- Boston Sightseeing from Viator
- Boston City Pass
- Go Boston Card
- Boston Marathon Website
- Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority
About the Author: Dan Moriarity is a freelance writer who has been a runner for more than 30 years. He lives in the Toronto Area with his wife and three sons. Dan founded Keystroke Communications in 2009 and shares what he’s learned about running over the years at FullStrideRunningBlog.com
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