Boston Marathon

Where to Watch   |    Schedule    |   Course Map   |    Road Closures  |  Spectator Policies

The Boston Marathon is the world's largest annual marathon. It is always held on Patriots' Day, the third Monday of April. The Boston Marathon ranks as one of the world's best-known road racing events. It is one of six World Marathon Majors.

The event attracts 500,000 spectators each year, making it New England's most widely viewed sporting event. Though starting with 18 participants in 1897, the event now attracts an average of about 20,000 registered participants each year, with 26,839 people entering in 2013. 

For more information on events: 

2016 Boston Marathon Course Map
(photo courtesy of


Where to watch the Marathon


Hopkinton (Start to 2 miles): The race begins here, but if you think you'll find a good viewing spot, forget it -- it will be packed. Instead, meander down the route as far as a mile; around Frankland Road, you'll get a good view of the racers as they zip downhill from the starting line.

Ashland (2 to 5 miles): The area around Ashland State Park is usually roomier than the center of town.

Framingham (5 to 8 miles): Check out broad Waverly Street near the railroad station, about the 6-mile mark. The crowd thins out from Union Avenue to the Natick line.

Natick (8 to 11.5 miles): The town green is likely to be pretty cramped, but if you get there early, you can snag a good spot. The 10-mile mark is at Central Street.

Wellesley (11.5 to 16 miles): This town's business district features the exact midway point of the 26.2-mile race. But before the racers get there, the screaming Wellesley College students make for a lively -- and loud -- watching spot. It's also here that the racers leave Route 135 and merge onto Route 16. Set up either just before the college crowd or after, closer to Town Hall. Hunnewell Park is on a hill and provides a nifty overall view. Wide, straight Washington Street in Wellesley Hills is a great place, too.

Newton Lower Falls, West Newton (16 to 17.5 miles): The well-known red brick Newton Fire Station marks the sharp right the racers must take as they turn from Route 16 (Washington Street) onto Commonwealth Avenue (Route 30) and face the daunting Newton hills. Lots of locals set up picnics here, but there should be room for newbies.

Newton (17.5 to 20 miles): Lots of green space all along Comm. Ave. Check out both the Dartmouth Street and Chestnut Street intersections, as well as the lawn in front of Newton City Hall.

Chestnut Hill (20 to 21.5 miles): This is the make-or-break section of the race: infamous Heartbreak Hill. You'll encounter another noisy college crowd here -- that of Boston College, right at the top of the hill -- but there are wide roads and green space for good viewing spots.

Brighton (21.5 to 22.5 miles): Another exciting spot to watch is Cleveland Circle, where runners turn left onto Beacon Street. The race is entering urban territory, with the attendant noisy crowds.

Brookline (22.5 to 24.5 miles): The same can be said for lively Coolidge Corner. For a better view, walk down Beacon toward Kenmore Square until the crowd thins out a bit.

Boston (24.5 to 26.2 miles): If you want rowdy, park yourself in Kenmore Square and bring a ladder (only kidding). The crowd swells when the Red Sox game gets out, and whether the Sox won or lost, they'll be um, very loud. This is the last wide-open space for viewing; from here, the racers continue down Comm. Ave., take a right onto tiny Hereford, then a left into the madness of Boylston Street and the finish line. 

Schedule of events for Marathon:


Division Start time approx no. of entrants
Mobility Impaired 8:50 a.m. 50
Push Rim Wheelchair 9:17 a.m. 70 + 6 Duos
Handcycles 9:22 a.m. 18
Elite Women 9:32 a.m. 40
Elite Men & Wave One 10:00 a.m. 7,500
Wave Two 10:25 a.m. 7,500
Wave Three 11:00 a.m. 7,500
Wave Four 11:15 a.m. 7,500



Start Main St. Hopkinton 9:17 a.m. 9:17 a.m. 9:32 a.m. 10:00 a.m.
5K Rt. 135, Ashland 9:26 a.m. 9:26 a.m. 9:49 a.m. 10:15 a.m.
10K Rt. 135, Framingham 9:36 a.m. 9:38 a.m. 10:06 a.m. 10:30 a.m.
15K Rt. 135, Natick 9:47 a.m. 9:50 a.m. 10:22 a.m. 10:46 a.m.
20K Rt. 135, Wellesley 9:57 a.m. 10:02 a.m. 10:39 a.m. 11:01 a.m.
Half Rt. 135, Wellesley 9:59 a.m. 10:04 a.m. 10:42 a.m. 11:04 a.m.
25K Rt. 16, Wellesley 10:07 a.m. 10:14 a.m. 10:57 a.m. 11:16 a.m.
30K Rt. 30, Newton 10:17 a.m. 10:26 a.m. 11:14 a.m. 11:31 a.m.
35K Rt. 30, Boston 10:27 a.m. 10:38 a.m. 11:31 a.m. 11:47 a.m.
40K Beacon St., Boston 10:36 a.m. 10:49 a.m. 11:48 a.m. 12:02 p.m.
FINISH Boylston St., Boston 10:41 a.m. 10:55 a.m. 11:56 a.m. 12:08 p.m.

All times above are approximate


Closures and Security Information

  • Road closures will be in effect around the Boston Common starting at 5 am.

Security Sweeps and Road Closures:

  • Boylston Street starting at Exeter St and moving towards Dartmouth St will be swept and secured by 10:30 am
  • There will only be one entrance into the secured area at the corner of the Boston Public Library and Fairmont Copley Hotel. (Dartmouth Street and Huntington Ave)

  • There will be multiple exits from the secured area.
  • The Boston Police Dept will also create numerous security checkpoints within the secured area but also along its edge for an "outer layer of security".

Road Closures 

  • Boston Common area by 5 am
  • Copley Square area by 6:30 am
  • Everything East of Mass Ave by 8 am
  • From 8 am, Huntington Ave outbound traffic will be closed 
  • From 8 am, all streets west of Mass Ave, in the Kenmore Square, Audubon Circle Area.
  • Newbury St will be closed to traffic and no cars may park on Newbury, only foot traffic 

    pdf icon  2018 Traffic Advisory

T-Station Closures

  • Copley T Station will be closed all day on Monday, April 16, 2018

A Command and Control Center will be installed inside the Boston Public Library on Marathon Monday. 

Steel barriers will align the route all the way out to Brookline. 

Verizon and AT&T will deploy roving service providers to increase capacity and wifi service.

Future Marathon Dates

April 16, 2018

April 15, 2019

April 20, 2020

April 19, 2021

April 18, 2022

April 17, 2023

April 15, 2024

April 21, 2025