Overall Rating
Overall Rating (43 Reviews)
4.7
(43 Ratings)(43 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
3.7
SCENERY
4.2
PRODUCTION
4.7
SWAG
4.3
Inspired by their experience at the 1896 Olympic Games, several members of the Boston Athletic Association founded their own marathon in 1897. The race has been run every year since (though the 1918 edition featured a military relay rather than an individual race) and is now the world’s oldest annual … MORE
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Recent reviews

    Boston is always challenging and after 2018, I knew weather had to be better. BUT, I still got caught off guard as I had planned for more cold and rainy … MORE

    Boston is always challenging and after 2018, I knew weather had to be better. BUT, I still got caught off guard as I had planned for more cold and rainy weather. Instead we got warm and very humid and I bonked hard at Mile 21. Still a course PR in my 6th Boston!

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    BrooklandRunner REPEAT RUNNER '19

    I injured my left leg on my last training run about a week from the race. I hoped that it would be ready in time to go. It was not … MORE

    I injured my left leg on my last training run about a week from the race. I hoped that it would be ready in time to go. It was not 100%, and I limped through the race, a minute off pace of what I hoped. I ran between the first and second wave with a small group of “the running wounded,” those of us fast enough to qualify and be seeded in Wave 1, but slowed by an injury just hoping to finish. I’m happy to have finished my seventh Boston Marathon and pleased that my brother finished his first.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    5

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    dmcnosan REPEAT RUNNER '19

    An amazing experience primarily due to volunteers and crowds. Very tough course. Be sure to train with hills. Very expensive race primarily due to hotel prices in area. We stay … MORE

    An amazing experience primarily due to volunteers and crowds. Very tough course. Be sure to train with hills. Very expensive race primarily due to hotel prices in area. We stay in Natick every year which is much less expensive but you miss out on the excitement of being in Boston.

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4

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    Profile photo of Eugene Robinson
    erob_stbc REPEAT RUNNER '19

    My 3rd Boston Marathon. I can’t say enough good about the marathon and it’s supporters, volunteers, and crowds. Simply the BEST marathon ever. Hotels are extremely pricey, but I recommend … MORE

    My 3rd Boston Marathon. I can’t say enough good about the marathon and it’s supporters, volunteers, and crowds. Simply the BEST marathon ever. Hotels are extremely pricey, but I recommend staying at one near the finish line because it’s great to not have to take a train before or after the run! Love, Love, Love this race! ❤️

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4
    My Media

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    enigma20 FIRST-TIMER '19

    Since it's still fresh in my mind, this will be the best time to leave a review. The bad: A lot of waiting- I was in wave 1 and loaded … MORE

    Since it’s still fresh in my mind, this will be the best time to leave a review.

    The bad:
    A lot of waiting- I was in wave 1 and loaded the bus to Hopkinton by 6:45. My wave didn’t start until 10:02. There is a tent for waiting and plenty of port-a-johns. Just be prepared and bring throw away clothes and something to sit on.
    So many people- it was at least 5 or 6 miles before it thinned out a bit. I’ve never had that many people around me for so long and it made me a little anxious.
    Not really a good place to warm up- everything was muddy and crowded in the athletes area. Be sure to use the march toward the corrals as your warm-up.
    The Good:
    It’s Boston
    I’ve never seen crowd support like that before. There was hardly a stretch where there wasn’t a crowd cheering on all of the runners.
    It was so loud most of the time, that I couldn’t hear my ipod.
    The fly-over was so cool. It was a little foggy, but I was still able to see the jets pretty well. Gave me goosebumps.
    Wellesley was amazing- other than the finish, it was my favorite spot. I see why it’s called the scream tunnel. I gave high-fives all along that area as well as Boston College. I loved it.
    The atmosphere was second to none. I’d highly suggest running it as least once in your life.
    It definitely shredded my legs and was a tough course, but there was water, bananas, orange slices, gatorade, medical assistance, vasoline and so many other forms of comfort all along the course.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    4

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    BrooklandRunner FIRST-TIMER '12

    First Boston! The excitement at the beginning. Walking toward the start. Getting into my corral. The first few miles of excitement. Feeling like I was at the 20 mile point … MORE

    First Boston! The excitement at the beginning. Walking toward the start. Getting into my corral. The first few miles of excitement. Feeling like I was at the 20 mile point at the 10K mark. The heat getting to me. My first walk break at the 14 mile. Trying to run to the 17 mile without walking. Run walking the rest of the way. Making sure I ran up and down Heartbreak Hill. Running past BC. Walking under the tunnel but running the rest. Seeing my family and excitement by the finish line. Feeling ill after the race. At least it wasn’t my personal worst.

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    5
    My Report
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    BrooklandRunner REPEAT RUNNER '14

    I was not very pleased with my effort. I had a great training season and set personal bests in a few race distances - most notably the half marathon Ten … MORE

    I was not very pleased with my effort. I had a great training season and set personal bests in a few race distances – most notably the half marathon Ten Miler. The cost of these PRs was that I was overtrained, suffered a bad taper, and didn’t carb load properly.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    My Report
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    BrooklandRunner REPEAT RUNNER '13

    This isn’t my normal race recap. Due to the bombings at the Boston Marathon, my recap isn’t the regular run-down of the race but will involve personal reflections, many of … MORE

    This isn’t my normal race recap. Due to the bombings at the Boston Marathon, my recap isn’t the regular run-down of the race but will involve personal reflections, many of which are stream of consciousness. My feelings on the explosions are still forming. I’m so mixed with emotions and overcome by the gravity. Something I love and have loved for many years was attacked. The world’s most famous marathon is supposed to be sacred, but then again sporting events have been targets for a while, including the 1972 Munich Olympics.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    My Report
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    BrooklandRunner REPEAT RUNNER '16

    Someday, I will run Boston properly. Even with a warm day, I still set a course PR by two minutes. I tried to stay with my friend, but there were … MORE

    Someday, I will run Boston properly. Even with a warm day, I still set a course PR by two minutes. I tried to stay with my friend, but there were so many people and he felt stronger so he went off. I last saw him before the ninth mile. I just kept turning my legs. I recall that a Globe photographer took my photo that made it into the online site. I remembered to wear sunscreen!

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    My Report
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    BrooklandRunner REPEAT RUNNER '17

    It's the Boston Marathon. This year, I traveled with my infant son alone. I managed to run the race and get him through security onto the plane and home all … MORE

    It’s the Boston Marathon. This year, I traveled with my infant son alone. I managed to run the race and get him through security onto the plane and home all by myself. It’s my favorite race – run Boston at least once! It was a little warmer than I like. Someday, I will get perfect weather for Boston.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    4
    My Report
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    BrooklandRunner REPEAT RUNNER '18

    It was a tough day: wet, windy, and a strong headwind. Despite the conditions, I ran my personal best for Boston. It took 6 tries, but I finally qualified for … MORE

    It was a tough day: wet, windy, and a strong headwind. Despite the conditions, I ran my personal best for Boston. It took 6 tries, but I finally qualified for Boston at Boston.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    My Report
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    Angela FIRST-TIMER '18

    ***LOCATION*** Hopkinton, MA to Boston, MA ***DATE*** Patriot's Day (Monday, mid-April) ***PRICE*** I think it was $180 my year? But I think it has gone up. ***THE DEAL*** I mean. … MORE

    ***LOCATION***
    Hopkinton, MA to Boston, MA

    ***DATE***
    Patriot’s Day (Monday, mid-April)

    ***PRICE***
    I think it was $180 my year? But I think it has gone up.

    ***THE DEAL***
    I mean.

    ***DEADLINES/SELLOUT FACTOR***
    Yeah.

    ***FIELD SIZE***
    Roughly 30,000, including qualifiers, invited runners, & charity runners

    ***WHERE TO STAY***
    There are a lot of opinions about this on the internet, as I discovered, but this one is mine, and there are a few caveats to it.

    As with non-direct flights, you could not pay me enough to run this race and not stay close to the finish. I considered it, briefly, but then decided, “Eh, you’ve never done it before, you don’t know how you’ll feel, play it safe this first time.” So we ended up staying at the Courtyard Marriott Downtown on Tremont Street, right by Boston Commons where the buses load. Sure enough, I was very happy to be able to walk less than a mile to a shower after the race & that I didn’t have to now sit in a car or on commuter rail for an hour. To me, it’s just not worth it.

    It was not cheap. In fact probably the first thing you’ll learn when you start planning your Boston Marathon trip is that if you want to be anywhere even remotely near the finish, the cost of a hotel for the few nights you’re there might well be the same or more than your monthly rent. In my initial searches (which began the week after the 2017 Boston Marathon, when most hotels started opening reservations for 2018), I never found anything for less than $350/night, and that was for shitty hotels before taxes.

    The other thing to think carefully about is how you’ll get to the bus loading or start if you’re staying relatively far from Boston. Public transit to Boston Commons (where the buses load) is an option if you plan ahead. Getting someone to drive you into Boston is not impossible, but again, you’ll need to plan ahead for all the various road closures & the fact that a bunch of other people will probably be trying to do this too.

    I do know some people who got dropped off at the start in Hopkinton; just, if you do this, know that you can only get so close so you’ll still have to walk a good ways to the Athlete’s Village, & remember that there’s no gear drop there, so have a plan for what you’re doing when you finish. (Because you never know, the weather could be HORRID!)

    I knew I wanted to stay near the finish & I was willing to pay a little more for it (but not stupid rates like the $500-600 a night places). At this point I considered three different options.

    a) AirBnB or VRBO. They’ll still be relatively expensive, but since rentals tend to be cheaper than hotels in general, you could probably save some money if you went this route. I heard from a lot of people who did & were quite happy. Hell, some people even just went the “rent a room” or “rent a couch” option and saved a TON of money, so if that works for you, look into it!
    b) Points. Traveling so much for work can suck sometimes but one upside is that I have a lot of hotel rewards points & I came very very close to using them on this trip. And that would have been a perfectly fine idea! Free hotel? Yes please. So consider it, especially if you have time to plan ahead and take advantage of some sweet credit card bonus rewards. (I banked a free 100,000 Marriott points just by getting their credit card & spending I think $4,000 in the first three months, which, again, with all my work travel, was not difficult.)

    c) Marathon Tours & Travels. If you want to stay in a hotel and you can’t or don’t want to use points, this is my top recommendation. Get on their email list and social medias & be ready when they open their reservations in May. You can book a hotel at a significantly cheaper rate, and (at least when I did it), it’s free to cancel other than a $20 admin fee until the end of the calendar year.

    I couldn’t believe the rate we got for the Courtyard Marriott Downtown through them ($299/night) considering it was a nice hotel within walking distance of public transit, tons of restaurants, the bus loading zone, & the finish line. In the end, the MTT rate was good enough that I decided to save my points for something else and use this opportunity to bank a whole shit-ton more points. With my Marriott status & also paying for the hotel with my Marriott credit card, it was a pretty sweet haul.

    ***LOCAL TRANSIT***
    Do not repeat DO NOT rent a car in Boston. I kept seeing people talking about doing this in my Facebook group and so many of us who have been to Boston before for any reason were constantly trying to talk people out of it.

    The traffic is horrid. It will be worse on marathon weekend. Roads will be closed all over the place & there is nowhere to park that won’t cost you an arm and a leg. There is ABUNDANT public transit via the T & commuter rail, and if the T doesn’t go where you want to go, just take a Lyft or a cab. I guarantee you will save yourself so much money & sanity.

    Some people were recommending the 7-day Charlie pass for the T if you’re going to be there more than a couple of days and plan to use the T a lot. It’s probably not a bad deal given that a one-way ride is around $3 and a 7-day Charlie is like $21-22. We ended up not using it enough for it to be worth it but I can easily see how someone could.

    ***EATING***
    If I have one hard & fast rule about traveling to cities for major events, it’s making dinner reservations in advance. I will always do this. Don’t tell me to relax. Don’t tell me it won’t be that busy & there are plenty of restaurants. No.

    Part of this is because I am a food snob. Sorry but I don’t want to eat at the Applebee’s or whatever other garbage food is technically available. I want real food and a real wine list with things that don’t come from a grocery store.

    Part of it is because I have a very specific routine about when I like to eat and god help the human that gets in my way at the pre-decided Hour of Eating. Hangry is a thing. The struggle is real. I am not waiting.

    Part of it is because I’m a planner and really, really, really dislike flying by the seat of my pants when it comes to food. I need to know where I am eating so I can creepily stalk the menu online the day before. Asking me to confront some stranger-menu and make a decision on the fly about my dinner is a big ask.

    Part of this is because my absolute least favorite activity in the universe is starving to death & walking from restaurant to restaurant trying to find a good-sounding place with less than an hour wait. So you do you, but I am making reservations for EVERYTHING, especially on a weekend when there will be 30,000+ extra people in town. I want to know what I’m eating and when and I don’t want to have to fight a billion other people for it.

    We had four dinners in Boston & spent them at Davio’s, Row 34, Da Vinci, & State Street Provisions. We also had tasty brunch/lunches at Cafe 26, The Thinking Cup, & (again) State Street Provisions. Would go back to any of them!

    I started stalking Boston restaurants in January & decided which ones were my top choices. After doing some research to find out when each started taking reservations, I set reminders on my calendar so that I could get them as soon as availability opened up. This was super easy for everywhere except Row 34, where even just minutes after reservations for 4/14 opened, the best dinner time available was 6pm. Luckily, I was able to call & talk to a person, & they changed our reservation to 7pm which I appreciated.

    ***PRE-RACE ACTIVITIES***

    The Expo: I remember some people going absolutely ape shit in past blog posts about the glories of the expo, but this was not my experience. It was pretty much just a race expo like any other. Big, but not massive. (For anyone who has run CIM, I found it to be very similar in size & tone.) You don’t need to plan to be there for hours and hours. I found it really funny that there were signs outside pointing half the bib numbers one direction & half the other direction but they all just wrapped back around to the same staircase down to the expo.

    In 2018 it was at the Seaport World Trade Center, which I guess is a change from recent years. People told me to try to go as early as possible because it gets crowded the longer you wait. Because of this I wanted to go Saturday morning but we didn’t end up making it until maybe around 5:30. (It closed at 7.) By then there were plenty of people but I wouldn’t have said it was “crowded,” especially.

    I’d say we were there about an hour. I got my bib first (it has to be you, with an ID and your signed bib pickup card; no one else can get it for you) without having to wait at all, & similarly walked right up to the table for my shirt. I visited a few other booths for swag they’d emailed me about (a cool luggage tag at the Boston 2 Big Sur table; a BQ Qualifier tech hat from the CIM booth; a free poncho from the MTT table since I made my hotel reservation through them) & then took a swing through the merch store to see if there was anything I wanted.

    But that was really all I felt like I needed to see, since I didn’t need socks or sunglasses or shoes or to sign up for anymore marathons. Also, handily, Row 34 was walking distance from the expo, so woohoo! Saved some transit money!

    The Finish Line: If it’s your first time to the Boston Marathon, then obviously you have to go to the finish line & take a bunch of cheesy pictures, duh. We initially tried to do this on Saturday but that turned out to be a no-go because there were still BAA 5K & kids’ race events going on, & they had the whole finish line area barricaded off.

    Luckily, we heard from Katie & Layla that it was open for visitors on Sunday morning, so we went down right after brunch to take some goofy shots. I was afraid it would be stupid crowded but that turned out not to be the case at all. Sure, there were a lot of people there, but most folks were very considerate and polite about getting their picture or two and then moving out of the way to let someone else go. It was really extremely civilized. 🙂

    ***ADIDAS RUNBASE/ANY OTHER RUNNING STORE NEAR THE FINISH***
    OMG stay away. STAY. AWAY! It’s an effing madhouse & anything they have there that you want, you can buy on the internet, probably for cheaper a few weeks after the race.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
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    My Report
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    3
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    4
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    M_Sohaskey Mar 19, 2019 at 8:38pm

    No way I could have reviewed my Boston 2018 experience (had I run) without finding some way to humble-brag about finishing 26.2 miles in sideways torrential freezing rain. And yet somehow you did, without holding the weather against the BAA. Well done! And congrats on earning the most beautiful of American marathon medals. This is an awesomely helpful review, and even as a Boston alum I wished I'd known some of this stuff before I'd run in 2016. Great job Angela, and here's to forever being able to say (nonchalantly of course), "Boston 2018? Oh yeah, I was there..."

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    ucd76 REPEAT RUNNER '18

    The bad weather killed this race. The village was under water and full of mud. Got soaked just trying to get to the PP's. Cold wind and rain the entire … MORE

    The bad weather killed this race. The village was under water and full of mud. Got soaked just trying to get to the PP’s. Cold wind and rain the entire course. Happy to have survived the day.

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    2
    SCENERY
    1
    SWAG
    3

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    cedoyle FIRST-TIMER '18

    I heard that the weather was worst it has been in 30 years. The race crew did not seem to be prepared for the heavy rain. The staging area was … MORE

    I heard that the weather was worst it has been in 30 years. The race crew did not seem to be prepared for the heavy rain. The staging area was under a tent, but we stood in mud & puddles. The walk from the staging area to the starting line took around 45 minutes in the rain. I was soaked before I started. I also should have better prepared for the weather. Nevertheless, I hope that I can get in again so I can enjoy the Boston experience in better weather.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    2
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    4

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    renee_tyz FIRST-TIMER '18

    Qualifying for Boston has been a dream of mine since I started running 11 years ago. As a former New Englander, I followed the marathon closely for most of my … MORE

    Qualifying for Boston has been a dream of mine since I started running 11 years ago. As a former New Englander, I followed the marathon closely for most of my adult life. Once I got to Boston there was nothing, NOTHING that would defeat me, not even the 37 degrees, rain, and 30+mph head winds. I followed the baa.org marathon training plan and was in peak shape to take on this iconic marathon. By the time I started, however, I had been outside in the cold rain for a couple of hours. Athletes village has tents, but it was basically a mud pit everywhere. No one could stay dry or warm no matter what. I tried to pull back and go slowly for the first 6 miles since I knew they were mostly downhill, but there is an excitement about the race that is unparalleled and slowing down is hard. I was pleasantly surprised to see how many spectators braved the elements to cheer. It was incredible. By the time I got to the Newton Hills section around mile 16 I was feeling pretty good. However, by mile 18 I knew something was wrong. I blacked out for a second and was never able to focus again. I was zig-zagging and stumbling. I knew what was going on: Hypothermia. I have virtually NO recollection of miles 20-26.2. I do not remember crossing the finish line. All I know is some angel swept me off my feet with a wheelchair at the finish (I looked THAT bad) and brought me to the medical tents where I would be treated for hypothermia for next two hours. I will give a huge shout out to all of the medics and volunteers there. They called my family for me since they saw me cross the finish but then had no idea where I went. They made sure I was extremely well taken care of and I am eternally grateful to them. So this Boston was not the Boston I had dreamed of, but it was the Boston I was dealt. I was riddled with disappointment but none of it was with the event itself. Now I am even more driven to go back again and get a re-do that will be the Boston I have always dreamed of.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
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    4
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    snowdrce FIRST-TIMER '18

    The best race ever. Okay, well, maybe the weather crimped it down a bit. Getting to and from the expo proved a little challenging, with the location changed to the … MORE

    The best race ever. Okay, well, maybe the weather crimped it down a bit. Getting to and from the expo proved a little challenging, with the location changed to the far side of the city. The weather drove a lot of people inside, and it became very crowded. Great expo overall. The bus ride out to the start took longer than I expected, but allowed me to dry out a little prior to waiting in the village. Waiting for the start was miserable. The tents were overflowing and deep mud/water/snow was on the ground. I huddled on a set of bleachers under a poncho as best I could. Porta-potties were adequate. The race course was as expected, and the hard headwind and driving rain were just a fact of life. It did keep the crowds down a bit, but the aid stations were well manned. No complaints though. It was a great experience!

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
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    5

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    alpacquing FIRST-TIMER '18

    This is my 4th star to complete the six world marathon majors. So DNF is not an option. I got in thru charity since I will never qualify. I had … MORE

    This is my 4th star to complete the six world marathon majors. So DNF is not an option. I got in thru charity since I will never qualify. I had to apply for 10 charities and only 1 accepted me. So it was tough even getting in thru charity. It was the memorable epic marathon race ever, torrential rain, head winds 30 mph, and temp below 40s. Quite a few elite runners had to drop out because of the weather condition. So I’m very proud that I finish and got my official time. My 4th star is complete. On to the next star, Berlin!

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    5
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    3
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    4
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    demman1024 REPEAT RUNNER '18

    I was recovering from a high hamstring injury so wasn't planning to set any records. I've been actively pursuing a BQ for about 5 years. I finally achieved that in … MORE

    I was recovering from a high hamstring injury so wasn’t planning to set any records. I’ve been actively pursuing a BQ for about 5 years. I finally achieved that in Fargo, with 9 minutes to spare. I was so excited! When I got to the runners village I promptly went to the porta potty and got my feet full of mud.
    No worries! They were completely clean by the end of the race! The weather was bad, I kept thinking “surely they’re going to stop this race?” and I didn’t really run full out or seriously at all until about halfway through. All that said, it was still Boston. I was in the last wave, 1st corral but didn’t get to start until about 20 minutes after my start time, which was frustrating. I was thrilled to run the Boston Marathon and am committed to BQ again and run it in better conditions. Still glad I ran it, would do it again, even in the same conditions because hey, It’s Boston!!!

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    laurei FIRST-TIMER '18

    Despite the epic weather conditions, I finished feeling strong and healthy which I owe in large part to the diehards that braved the elements to cheer us on and the … MORE

    Despite the epic weather conditions, I finished feeling strong and healthy which I owe in large part to the diehards that braved the elements to cheer us on and the amazing volunteers that guided, helped, and supported from start to finish. Also, being a local I had the benefit of training on the course and knew what to expect at each hill and turn. This was my first Boston–and hopefully not my last!

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    4

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    [email protected] REPEAT RUNNER '17

    By now you've read all about the conditions. Let me add a few of my learnings. 1) While tempted to go lighter, I ended up wearing a rainproof running jacket … MORE

    By now you’ve read all about the conditions. Let me add a few of my learnings. 1) While tempted to go lighter, I ended up wearing a rainproof running jacket the entire race. I think keeping my core warm was key. 2) While like you, I have read ALL the advice on running Boston, last year I did not heed the ” go slow and save your quads at the start” advice. This year the first 10km were my slowest, and sure enough I felt strong through Newton until the end. 3) If you are a first timer, stop worrying about Heartbreak Hill. ( the other three that come before are worse 🙂 ) My legs are happy to shift to climbing and giving my quads a break. I felt stronger on the up hills than on the down hills from Newton to the finish. I’ve heard the same from many other runners. 13 minutes off my PB, but under BQ time, so I was happy with the result overall!!

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    2 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

    M_Sohaskey Apr 25, 2018 at 1:12pm

    Congrats on the BQ, Dan! Sounds like you ran this year's race very smartly by keeping your core temperature up to avoid hypothermia in the last few miles. Your advice on the first 10km and on Heartbreak Hill is definitely the smart voice of experience because, like you said, the two go hand in hand — start slow and you'll likely have nothing to fear from Heartbreak. It's not rocket science, but it is tough to execute when you're feeling like a million bucks coming out of Hopkinton. Thanks for the helpful review, and glad you'll be back next year — hopefully better weather awaits!

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