Posted by: Jack Spratt | April 16, 2009

The Boston Marathon Day – 2009

The Boston Marathon is one of the few prestigious marathon races left in the world that has a point A to Point B course, and this post is written just a few days before the 2009 race in April on Patriots Day.

The Boston Marathon starts in Hopkinton, Massachusetts, a small town west of Boston, and finishes 26-miles 385-yards later in Boston’s Back Bay. People line the streets and roads for just about its entire length. It is quite a spectacle, and marathon fever is infectious.

I have the seen the event a number of times and the best viewing is early in the course, or later if you’re prepared to camp-out for a few hours. The finish is most popular for obvious reasons but the famous “Heartbreak Hill” 5-mile section a close second.

But back quickly to the course. Because Boston has chosen to stick with its original route it means it can never qualify for a World Best time in this distance. Only so called “out and back” marathon courses now qualify for records. An “out and back” course ensures an even terrain course and reduces the chance of wind being a factor.

The current marathon distance (26 mi., 385 yds.) was set for the 1908 London Olympics so that the course could start at Windsor Castle and end in front of the Royal Box. Not until 1921, however, was that distance adopted as the “official” Marathon distance by the IAAF – and for a record to be accepted the course has to meet certain IAAF standards.

On average 20,000 runners pass along the route, with the record being 38,708 entrants for the Centennial in 1996.

New England weather is difficult to predict and I’ve known it cold enough to snow and warm enough to watch it in T-shirts and shorts. For the runners though it doesn’t make much difference once they get warm.

If you’re a spectator – just dress in layers. This race is one of the sights of New England and should be on anybody’s travel journal.

You can find more details about the race at www.bostonmarathon.org

Jack

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