The only prize that used to be awarded to the winner of the Boston Marathon was a wreath woven from olive branches. These days the winner of one of the world’s great road racing events gets a fat cheque from corporate sponsors and nice chunk of change from endorsements. Of course, you’ll have to run the 26.22 miles in two hours and a bit to contend for victory, but that’s another story.

Begun in 1897, the Boston Marathon is the world’s oldest annual marathon, and attracts 500,000 spectators each year. Originally a local race, its current fame and status draws runners from all over the world and has become a rite of passage for serious and recreational runners alike. Whether you intend to shoot for the wreath or merely push yourself to complete the race without keeling, the Boston Marathon offers a unique and challenging course with the beautiful city of Boston as a backdrop.

The Boston Marathon also ranks as one of the best races in the world to spectate. Viewing along the course is on a  first-come basis. On-street parking in Boston’s Back Bay is limited, but the Charles River (north) side of Boylston Street is open to the general public. Many fans arrive before dawn to secure choice spots. The corner of Hereford and Boylston Streets, adjacent to the Boston EMS Medical Tent and the fire station, has been designated for people with disabilities. A Family Meeting Area is located on St. James Avenue and Stuart Street.

Families, friends and athletes should plan prior to race day on where to reunite. It may take your athlete some time after crossing the finish line to meet you, so be patient.

WHERE TO STAY: Taj Boston, only 1 mile away from the finish line, this 4 star historic hotel built beside the beautiful Boston Gardens and famous for their Afternoon Tea in The French Room, also a pet friendly hotel.

Back Bay Hotel is also only 1 mile away from the race’s finish line. This downtown boutique hotel was once a police department building this historical hotel offers 2 on-site restaurants and free wifi.

The Nine Zero Hotel is located in the heart of downtown steps from the Financial District, Faneuil Hall, Quincy Market and directly across from the Boston Common and only 2 miles from the finish line. Complimentary wine receptions are held every evening.

9:00 a.m. Mobility Impaired Start
9:17 a.m. Push-Rim Wheelchair Division Start
9:22 a.m. Hand cycle Start
9:32 a.m. Elite Women’s Start
10:00 a.m. Elite Men’s Start & Wave One
10:20 a.m Wave Two
10:40 a.m. Wave Three
5:00 p.m. Awards Ceremony Fairmont Copley Plaza,138 St. James Ave.
7:30 p.m.–12:00 a.m. Post-Race Party: House of Blues, 15 Lansdowne St.

The Boston Marathon
Sunday, April 15, 2012
8:00 a.m.EDT
Starts and finishes near Copley Square Park in Boston’s Back Bay.


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