Location: Hopkinton, MA to Boston, MA
Time of Year: April
I’ve run several major marathons and Boston’s organization is not the best. It is okay. The website is okay. The expo is okay. The shuttles to the start are okay. The prep area is decent. The setup at the actual start is – you guessed it – okay. The aid stations along the course are okay. And the finish line (in past years) was somewhat chaotic, although it will obviously be different going forward.
Registration for Boston was $175 this year. That is expensive but not super expensive for a major marathon. However, I reduced this rating from four stars to three stars because of other costs. Boston is expensive. The hotels are expensive. The restaurants are expensive. Travel is expensive. The $175 fee definitely does not tell the whole story
I don’t love the Boston course – honestly, for the majority of the race, it could be any marathon course across America. The scenery is modest and there isn’t anything that makes it a particulary fast or particularly slow course. With that being said, there are two things that make the actual course unique, in my opinion. First, Wellesley is awesome. Second, the Citgo sign is bizarrely iconic – and it comes late in the race when you need it most.
This probably should be two stars but I was feeling generous. You get a shirt and a finisher’s medal. Then again, if you’re at Boston for the swag, you’re running it for all the wrong reasons.
The history!! This is obviously the strongest pro-Boston argument. Roberta Gibb. Katherine Switzer. Joan Benoit. Bill Rodgers. Alberto Salazar. Geoffrey Mutai. Team Hoyt. And on and on and on…
Boston is a race that everyone should try and do once. There are many things about it that I don’t love; however, the history of the race trumps all of the areas where it falls short.