Catch the Boston Marathon

Anyone can watch Boston Marathon coverage on television, but when thousands of runners’ feet are pounding the pavement in our own backyards, there’s no good excuse for not watching this world-class race in person.


While the race annually attracts some of the world’s best marathoners, it is accessible and inspirational for a wide audience, especially families. You’ll witness blind runners with others guiding them, runners with prosthetic limbs, hundreds of dedicated athletes and amateurs running for local charities or medical research, and plenty of “average Joe” runners just trying to finish, some decked out in crazy hats, Superman costumes or as bride and groom.


This year’s 120th running of the Boston Marathon is set for Patriots’ Day, Monday, April 18.


Don’t Just Watch


• Discuss with your kids the home geography, culture or distance traveled by the world’s best runners, such as last year’s winners: Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia, Caroline Rotich of Kenya and wheelchair winners Marcel E. Hug of Switzerland and Tatyana McFadden of Maryland.


• Compute the number of runners crossing the start line each minute if it takes 10 minutes for 10,000 runners to start.


• Cheer on the runners who pen their names on their arms or shirts.


• Take a picnic and explore an unfamiliar town on the marathon route after runners have passed.


Getting There


Many towns along the marathon’s route offer great views of the race, parks to picnic in and opportunities for fun. Keep in mind that roads close for the event by 6 a.m. in some towns. Start times for different classes go from 8:50 a.m. (Mobility Impaired), 9:17 a.m. (Push Rim Wheelchairs), 9:22 a.m. (Handcycles), 9:32 a.m. (Elite Women), then from 10 a.m. until 11:15 a.m., Elite Men and Waves 1 through 4. If you want to see the start, go early to either Hopkinton State Park on Route 85 near the Southborough town line or follow signs from Route 495 to parking and use shuttle buses from either location.


The MBTA commuter rail’s Worcester/Framingham line nearly parallels the race route, making it an easy, car-free way to see the marathon. The Framingham, Natick and Wellesley train stations are also right alongside the race route, as are MBTA Green Line trains to Boston College, Cleveland Circle and Riverside.


The Course


• The historic course starts on Main Street in the rural New England town of Hopkinton and follows Route 135 through Ashland, Framingham, Natick and Wellesley to where Route 16 joins Route 135.


• It continues on Route 16 through Newton Lower Falls to Commonwealth Avenue, turning right at the fire station onto Commonwealth, which is Route 30.


• It continues on Commonwealth through the Newton Hills, bearing right at the reservoir onto Chestnut Hill Avenue to Cleveland Circle.


• The route then turns left onto Beacon Street continuing to Kenmore Square, and then follows Commonwealth Avenue inbound.


• The course turns right onto Hereford Street, then left onto Boylston Street, finishing near the John Hancock Tower in Copley Square.

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24 Mar 2016

By Boston Parents Paper