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Dating back to 1897, the Boston Marathon is the world’s oldest and most recognizable annual marathon. This year, it will take place on April 18, attracting roughly 30,000 runners from all over the world.
The historic route starts in the rural New England town of Hopkinton, travels past many famous landmarks and sites, and ends at Copley Square in downtown Boston. While cheering the runners on is a classic way to enjoy watching the marathon, we’ve mapped out some of the impressive sights located along the route to check out once the runners pass by.
Mile 1: Hopkinton State Park and Hopkinton Statue
Near the starting line on Main Street, lies the picturesque Hopkinton State Park, where you can try out kayaking, windsurfing, sailing and other water activities with classes provided. Hiking is another popular option.
You can also find a bronze statue nearby, holding a starters’ pistol. The statue, erected in 2009, is in memory of George Brown, who helped move the Marathon starting line from Ashland to Hopkinton in 1924. He also fired the starter’s pistol for several years.
Hopkinton Gazebo (Photo Credit: MOTT Flickr)
Mile 3: Ashland Clock Tower
At the intersection of Union and Chestnut Streets stands the Ashland Clock Tower, a landmark you shouldn’t miss. Ashland is known as “Clock Town,” because it is the home of Henry E. Warren, who invented the synchronous electric clock in 1918.
Mile 6: Framingham Train Station
This significant landmark, which formerly served as one of the largest stations on the Boston & Albany Railroad line, dates back to 1885. The Romanesque style design of the one-story structure is impressive. Today, the station features many dining options.
Miles 9 & 10: Natick Center Cultural District and Natick Mall
The marathon route runs right by the Natick Center Cultural District. You will find many art galleries and restaurants in this area. The Natick Town Common is also a favorite community gathering place, and the district hosts many events including festivals, concerts and celebrations.
Several miles away from the Marathon route is the Natick Mall, the largest shopping mall in New England, offering a variety of stores and discounts.
Natick Common (Photo Credit: http://nccd.toursphere.com/en/downtown-walking-tour-43073.html)
Mile 12: Wellesley College
When the runners are almost at the halfway point, they also run into loud cheers from Wellesley College students along the road. With famous alumnae including Madeleine Albright and Hillary Clinton, the college is one of the first women’s colleges to promote equal education rights. The beautiful campus is perfect for an afternoon of wandering.
Mile 19: The “Forever Young” statue in Newton
The “Forever Young” statue at the foot of Heartbreak Hill commemorates the legendary Marathoner, Johnny Kelley. He ran the Boston Marathons 61 times before he passed away in 2004 at age 97.
The statue depicts two runners joining hands in a triumphant gesture, one being Kelley at age 27 after winning his first Boston Marathon and the other being Kelley at age 84 when he ran his last full marathon. The spirit of the sport is vividly demonstrated by the statue engraved, “Everyone is young at heart.” For runners, the statue also indicates a tough journey ahead- Heartbreak Hill- the last of seven hills in Newton. The hills are not particularly steep, but come at a psychologically difficult time.
Young at Heart statue (Photo Credit: Lorianne DiSabato Flickr )
Mile 24 & 25: Coolidge Corner and Back Bay area
The well-known Tudor building marks Coolidge Corner in Brookline. Lots of boutique stores, pubs, and theatres make it an ideal place to explore with family and friends. At 83 Beals Street, the JFK National Historic Site marks the birthplace of President John F. Kennedy. It opens in May for tours.
As the runners come closer to Back Bay, they will be welcomed by a loud crowd. It is Boston Red Sox’s tradition to hold a home game at Fenway Park on Patriot’s Day, coinciding with the Marathon. After the game, people spill into Kenmore Square to celebrate the runners’ arrival.
Back Bay is always a top destination for people visiting Boston, with the fashionable Newbury Street located here. You can check out the shops or outdoor dining options after experiencing the Marathon.
Coolidge Corner (Photo Credit: Bill Damon Flickr)
Finish Line: Copley Square
Home to the Prudential Center and Copley Place, Copley Square is full of visitors year-round. The finish line of the Boston Marathon is located here, right in front of the Boston Public Library. This is one of the most popular places to see the marathon, so plan to arrive early if you want a good spot.
Copley Square (Photo Credit: MOTT Flickr)
For more information on the 2016 Boston Marathon, please visit our event page.
TOPICS: Boston Marathon