On Monday, thousands of runners and spectators will take to the streets of Boston. The 26.2 miles between Hopkinton and the finish line on Boylston Street make up the oldest annual marathon in the world. It’s truly a race unlike anything you’ve ever seen before.

As a Boston-based company we love watching runners from across the globe travel to our city to chase their dreams. In celebration of this year’s race, we put together some hometown tips for runners and spectators alike. Without further adieu, here are some tips from us to you.

Tips for Runners

“Boston is a race like no other race I’ve ever experienced. Take a moment at start, along the course, and at the finish to block everything out, close your eyes and completely appreciate the moment.” – Jamie, Software Engineer

“You’ll be hanging out a while at Athlete’s Village (the starting line), so bring things to be comfortable. Lots of people have old sweats to stay warm that they ditch right before taking off, but my friend wore an old bathrobe, which I thought was super smart: it kept her warm and was easy to toss off. If it’s raining, garbage bags and ponchos will be your best friend.” – Erin, Director of Brand Communications


“If it’s 65 degrees or warmer, expect your time to be off by 15 mins or more, most runners have trained through the winter and are not accustomed to the warmer weather yet. Dehydration from the heat can be a real thing even at 65.” – Jake, VP of Media

“The Boston marathon is amazing because people will be cheering you on the entire way. Don’t get to hyped in the beginning and wear yourself out.” – Phil, Director of Engineering

“Someone told me to start slow because the first 4 miles are straight downhill and it’s easy to kill your quads. I didn’t listen to that advice and went out way too fast. My quads were not thanking me around mile 20. Don’t be me.” – Jon Gilman, VP of Product

“Stick to your race day plan, it’s so easy to get caught up in the excitement of the most historic race ever.” – Jamie, Software Engineer

“Find a stranger who’s running your pace. If you have the breath, strike up a conversation or at least say “hello” or “nice work”. Making friends on the course is one of the best parts of the experience.” – Jake, VP of Media


“To be brutally honest, the early chunk of the course can get pretty boring, particularly around the suburbs like Ashland, Framingham, and Natick. I remember running through here in the pouring rain and thinking, “seriously this is my hobby? I do this for fun?!” If you can get fans to come out here to cheer for you, it will be well worth it. Unexpectedly seeing some family in this area was a huge pick-me-up.” –Erin, Director of Brand Communications.

“Hydration station etiquette, get in and get out. Don’t stop or or slow down too much. You’ll cause a pile up. This is true of any race, but I say it for Boston particularly because I’ve seen a guy get a cup thrown at his head and fall to the ground because he wasn’t following hydration station etiquette. Boston runners are no joke.”– Jake, VP of Media

“Wellesley College and the “scream tunnel” (you hear people before you see them) are every bit as awesome as people say they are.” – Erin, Director of Brand Communications

“Put your name on your shirt. Hearing the crowds cheer your name is so much better than hearing “You got this, red shirt”.” – Jon, VP of Product

“They call it Heartbreak Hill for a reason. Know it’s coming and just keep putting one foot in front of the other.” – Phil, Director of Engineering

“Heartbreak Hill is the last, huge hill in a series of hills throughout Wellesley and Newton. Don’t psyche yourself out thinking, “Was that Heartbreak Hill?” as you’re running through Newton. You’ll know when you hit it .” – Jon, VP of Product


“Heartbreak Hill is tough but the crowds here are incredible, and there are so many screaming BC college students to welcome you at the top. I felt like a million bucks when I saw their signs congratulating me for making it there.” – Erin, Director of Brand Communications

“One of the best feelings is coming over the top of Heartbreak Hill and seeing the Boston city line, you know you’re close. 5 miles left, dig deep. You got this.” – Jake, VP of Media

“Don’t grab any red cups around BC or BU because it’s not actually water…” – Jon, VP of Product

“It’s great to have family at the finish line, but try to get some friends to cheer for you with a few miles to go. I had a lot of people waiting for me around Washington Square in Brookline, and it was an awesome boost for that last 5K of the race.” – Erin, Director of Brand Communications

“Right on Hereford, left on Boylston? No need to memorize it, a few thousand of your closest friends will be there pointing you in the right direction.” – Jamie, Software Engineer

“Turning onto Boylston is one of the greatest feelings in the world, but it is also a very long street. Don’t kick it in too soon!” – Phil, Director of Engineering

“Turning left on Boylston is unlike any feeling I’ve ever had running marathons. Thinking about it still gives me goosebumps. Enjoy that moment.” – Jon, VP of Product

“Seriously, just f***ing enjoy it.” – Jamie, Software Engineer

“At the finish line there’s a guy in a megaphone who says “Welcome to Boston.” I dare you not to cry when you hear those words!!” – Erin, Director of Brand Communications


“After the race, everyone is going to ask you, “So what was your time?”. The only appropriate response is, “I just ran the Boston Marathon, I had the time of my life”.” – Jon, VP of Product

Not in Boston and wondering what all the hype is about? Follow us on social for a taste of the excitement. Perhaps we’ll see you here next year.

Tips for Spectators

Cheering on friends and family, or just trying get a taste of what Boston is all about? Here are some helpful tips from the Runkeeper team.

  • Be sure to look up road closures because there are a ton of roads and other areas that are not accessible starting the morning of the race, especially in the towns closer to the city—Brookline, Newton, Wellesley—it can make it tricky to get where you want to go, especially with the added traffic.
  • Make sure you know which side of the race your friends or wherever you want to stand is because once you get about a mile or two out from the finish line, you can’t cross the street and have to go all the way past the finish line and loop around to get to the other side.
  • If there is a certain part of the marathon that you want to see, get there early because it is very crowded! Also know that you can’t cross Boylston Street so some of the T stops will be unavailable to you. Plan out what side of the street you want to be on because travel that day is extremely difficult.
  • If you’re planning on coming into the city on the day of the race, arrive early! Enjoy the city and try to avoid Quincy Market–that’s fake Boston.
  • Be aware of the security checkpoints and rules for watching near the finish line
  • Explore other parts of the city if you have time! Particularly Cambridge and Somerville.
  • If you’re traveling to several locations allow for plenty of time–the T will be crowded.
  • Avoid the North End after the race (unless you have reservations). It’s will be packed with people trying to eat back the calories they just burnt.
  • Clap loudly and enjoy the race! We dare you not to be inspired.

Running or in-town to watch friends or family? Let us know in the comments. Please also share your Boston experiences with us on social with #RKRunnerBOS.



Shop the Boston is for Runners Collection, here.