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A Spectator's Guide To The Boston Marathon

(Michael Dwyer/AP)
(Michael Dwyer/AP)
This article is more than 9 years old.

A million spectators are expected to line the 26.2 mile course from Hopkinton to Boston to cheer on the second-largest field of runners in the Boston Marathon's 118-year history.

The Boston Athletic Association, along with cities and towns along the route, have put in place new security measures this year. Here's what you need to know, from street and MBTA station closures to items prohibited for spectators. For more information, check out the BAA's official spectator guide.


  • Mobility impaired: 8:50 a.m. (20)
  • Wheelchair division: 9:17 a.m. (63)
  • Handcycles: 9:22 a.m. (21) 
  • Elite women: 9:32 a.m. (50)
  • Elite men and wave one: 10:00 a.m. (9,000)
  • Wave two: 10:25 a.m. (9,000)
  • Wave three: 11:00 a.m. (9,000)
  • Wave four: 11:25 a.m. (9,000)


(Course map)

  • Hopkinton7:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
  • Ashland: 7:15 a.m. - 2:15 p.m.
  • Framingham: 8:30 a.m. - 2:45 p.m.
  • Natick: 8:30 a.m. - 3:15 p.m.
  • Wellesley: 8:30 a.m. - 3:45 p.m.
  • Newton8:45 a.m. - 4:45 p.m.
  • Brookline: 9:15 p.m. - 5:45 p.m.
  • BostonVariable - 7:00 p.m.


Roads will close in Hopkinton at 7 a.m. on race day, and parking will be restricted on many streets. Limited parking is available at Hopkinton State Park and at the Industrial Park on South Street. If you can get a spot, shuttle buses will take you to Hopkinton Center. Check out this notice from the town of Hopkinton for more information. (Runners looking to get to the starting line should check out the BAA's information for runners.)


Parking will be restricted on many streets throughout downtown Boston on race day, and with streets around the course closed to drivers, using public transportation is your best bet.


Service Schedule:
Most subway and commuter rail lines will be operating on a regular weekday schedule, including rush-hour service before and after the race. Still, a few stations will be closed and many bus routes around the course will be diverted. No bikes will be allowed on MBTA vehicles throughout the day. Check the MBTA's website for more specific information.

Station Closures:
Copley - Green Line (all day)
Arlington - Green Line (all day)
South Street - Green B Line (10 a.m. to approx. 6 p.m.)
Kent Street - Green C Line (10 a.m. to approx. 6 p.m.)
St. Mary's Street - Green C Line (10 a.m. to approx. 6 p.m.)

By car:

Boston parking meters are not in effect on race day, but parking will be largely restricted around the course and many roads will be closed to drivers. Be sure to check the city's traffic advisory before heading in. If you decide to drive, the BAA has some recommended parking garages:

  • 100 Clarendon Street Garage
  • Prudential Center Parking (Huntington Avenue)
  • Copley Place Parking (2 Copley Place)
  • Boston Common Garage (Charles Street)


There are a number of great viewing locations between the start and finish, many of them accessible by public transportation:

  • Mile 3.7: Ashland stop on the Framingham/Worcester Commuter Rail*
  • Mile 6.6: Framingham stop on the Framingham/Worcester Commuter Rail
  • Mile 8: West Natick stop on the Framingham/Worcester Commuter Rail*
  • Mile 10: Natick stop on the Framingham/Worcester Commuter Rail*
  • Mile 13.4: Wellesley Square stop on the Framingham/Worcester Commuter Rail
  • Mile 14.4: Wellesley Hills stop on the Framingham/Worcester Commuter Rail
  • Mile 15.5: Wellesley Farms stop on the Framingham/Worcester Commuter Rail
  • Mile 16.8: Woodland stop on the Green D Line
  • Mile 21.4: Boston College stop on the Green B Line
  • Miles 22.4-25: Cleveland Circle to Hawes Street stops on the Green C Line
  • Mile 25.2: Kenmore stop on the Green B, C and D Lines
  • Mile 25.5: Hynes Convention Center stop on the Green B, C and D Lines

*Stations are within one mile of the course


In the wake of the bombing at the finish line of last year's Boston Marathon, public safety officials have put in place new security measures. Spectators are asked to carry any personal items in clear plastic bags and are discouraged from bringing any backpacks or other large bags with them to the course. Spectators entering particularly crowded viewing areas may have to pass through security checkpoints. The following items are prohibited:

  • Weapons or items of any kind that may be used as weapons, including firearms, knives, mace, etc.
  • Backpacks or any similar item carried over the shoulder
  • Suitcases and rolling bags/rollers
  • Coolers
  • Glass containers or cans
  • Flammable liquids, fuels, fireworks or explosives
  • Any container capable of carrying more than 1 liter of liquid
  • Handbags or packages or bulky items larger than 12 inches x 12 inches x 6 inches
  • Large blankets/comforters, duvets, sleeping bags
  • Costumes covering the face or any non-form fitting, bulky outfits extending beyond the perimeter of the body
  • Props (including sporting equipment and military and fire gear)


Due to increased security, the BAA has said they will be very strict about unauthorized runners. Anyone on any part of the course without an official bib will be subject to interdiction.


You can track runners two ways:

  • Text the runner's bib number to 345678 and on race day you will receive text alerts when the runner reaches the 10K, 13.1 mile, and 30K marks and when they cross the finish line.
  • You can also download the Boston Marathon mobile app (Android and Apple) to track up to 10 runners and customize which marker updates you receive.


WBZ-TV will have live coverage of the Boston Marathon. will host live online coverage.



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