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Boston Marathon 2023: Info about the Event, Course, and Parking

  • Event Parking
  • Gerard Stevens
  • 10 minutes

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Each year runners in the country eagerly await the Boston Marathon, the world’s oldest annual marathon event, which excites participants and spectators alike. Get ready then! The world’s most famous race will hit the streets of Boston in April 2023. The race is traditionally held on the third Monday in April. However, registration for the event was done in September. So, it is now our turn to wait to witness our favorite runner participating in the event. With thousands of spectators coming from different parts of the city and various states, expect the marathon course to be heavily crowded. So, getting parking will be impossible if you don’t plan. Read more to know about the marathon event and on getting parking!  

What is Boston Marathon? 

women running at Boston Marathon

It is an annual long-distance race hosted by various cities in Greater Boston, typically held on Patriots’ Day, the third Monday of April. The Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.) has organized the marathon event every year since 1897 except in 2020. The event got inspired by the success of the first marathon race in the 1896 Summer Olympics. Around 30,000 amateur and professional runners from all over the world compete in Boston Marathon every year. With around 500,000 spectators every year, it is also one of the most viewed marathon events. The race is also one of the World Marathon Majors. Every year at 11:05 a.m., the Boston Red Sox plays a home game at Fenway Park. After the game, the crowd pours into Kenmore Square to cheer on the runners entering the final mile.

When is the Boston Marathon 2023? 

The 2023 Boston Marathon date is Monday, April 17.

What is the Boston Marathon 2023 route? 

The marathon course starts on the main street of Hopkinton, and it ends in Copley Square next to the Boston Public Library.  

How long is the Boston Marathon? 

The marathon course covers around 26 miles and 385 yards. 

Where is the starting point for Boston Marathon? 

The Marathon starts at Hopkinton, and the town is around 32 miles away from Downtown Boston. The starting time for the main Marathon and other races is different.  

The Marathon will have different ‘Waves’ based on the bib numbers assigned to the runners. The first Wave will start at 10 am, followed by Waves 2,3, and 4 at 10:25 am, 10:50 am, and 11:15 am, respectively. Here are the starting times for other races, including the ones for Para Athletes. 

Men’s wheelchair: 9:02 am 

Women’s wheelchair: 9:05 am 

Handcycles & duos: 9:30 am 

Professional men: 9:37 am 

Professional women: 9:45 am 

Para Athletes: 9:50 am 

Athletes will be brought to the starting line at Hopkinton based on these starting times. The spectators can track the runners using the BAA Racing App.  

Where is the Boston Marathon finish line? 

The marathon has the finish line near Copley Square in Boylston Street.  

Boston Marathon map 

Boston Marathon map
Image courtesy: https://www.baa.org/races/boston-marathon/enter/course-information

Is there parking near the Boston Marathon finish line? 

It is extremely hard to get on-street parking near the finishing line. It is not advised to drive into the city on Marathon Day as many roads will be closed. Similarly, parking on Marathon Day in the city can be tricky, especially if you are new to the area.  

Parking is available at an MBTA station if you are using the MBTA services. You can take the Commuter Rail or the subway to reach the destination from these stations. The parking rates at these stations range from $2 to $15 per day, and you can pay online or by card or cash. 

Some offsite lots offer parking near Copley Square. Some lots near the finish line offer hourly parking starting at $10. Pre-book a parking spot to get secure and affordable parking near Copley Square.  

277 Northampton Street Parking $22 / Day Book Now
123 Merrimac Street Parking $27 / Day Book Now
21 A Street Parking $22 / Day Book Now

Which are the best spots to watch Boston Marathon?  

Hopkinton (Mile 1): It is where the marathon starts.  

Natick Town (Mile 10): This area has a lot of green space. 

Scream Tunnel (near the halfway mark): It is one of the most striking features of the marathon. The students of  Wellesley College cheer for the runners, scream, and offer kisses.  

West Newton (Mile 17): It is the perfect place to spot your family and have lunch afterward.  

Cleveland Circle (Mile 20): Near the Boston College. It is a very festive area, and you can easily watch all the runners.  

Boylston Street (Mile 26): Consider yourself lucky if you get a spot near the finish line as the excitement peaks when the runners get to the final stretch.  

Most of these spots have some offsite parking lots nearby. Use the Way.com app or website to get cheap Boston parking. Save up to 60% on parking rates while booking early! 

Why is Boston Marathon so famous?  

Apart from being one of the six major marathons globally, the Boston Marathon is the oldest annual marathon in the world (since 1897) outside of Greece. The qualifying standards keep the level high. However, these parameters are not as hard as – say NYC marathon; everyone has a shot at running in Boston. Since the event is held on Patriot’s Day, the Boston Marathon attracts huge crowds cheering on from the sidelines.  

How much does the Boston Marathon cost to enter?  

After meeting the qualifying time and getting accepted, you will have to pay an entry fee depending upon a few factors. The entry fee for United States residents is $225 for the 127th Boston Marathon. Additionally, international runners were asked to remit $235 to gain entry. The entry fee for the Boston marathon 2024 might vary, and you can see the website for more information. 

How hard is it to qualify for the Boston Marathon?  

Boston Marathon qualifying time is challenging, and the acceptance rate is also low. In certain situations, beating the qualifying time will not guarantee your spot in the race due to field size restrictions. The qualifying times for each age group and gender are different, and the qualifying window is very strict. You can check the qualification times for each age group on the official website.  

How do you get into the Boston Marathon without qualifying?  

You can run the Boston Marathon without meeting the qualifying process in a few cases. The first one is representing a charity and raising money by running this marathon. Some organizations will sponsor runners and donate a certain amount to a charity for each mile the runner completes. Para athletes also have different divisions, including wheelchair and handcycle programs, with qualifying exemptions. You can also get in by winning a raffle or giveaway offered by specific organizations or influencers.  

Can you walk in the Boston Marathon?  

Yes, you can walk in the Boston Marathon. In fact, most of the participants who finish the race are walking. Many athletes who run the marathon walk for short spells, especially when passing the aid stations. The Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk occurs in October/September, where people can walk the 26.2-mile Boston Marathon route. This is a better option if you are more of a walker.  

Can you cross the street during the Boston Marathon?  

The streets are closed or gridlocked, so driving into Boston is not permitted on race day. Similarly, crossing the streets that are part of the Boston Marathon is not easy and sometimes impossible. There are specific time windows when you will be able to cross the streets. In 2021, the pedestrian crossing was permitted on Beacon Street at Tappan, Webster, and Hawes Street till noon. But once that time window expires, it is advised that you stay wherever you end up.   

In general, the roads in Boston will be closed variably up to 7 pm. The roads to Ashland and Hopkinton will be closed first, from 6:15 am and 7 am, respectively. Here are the roads and the time periods when they will stay closed.  

Hopkinton: 7:15 am to 1:30 pm 

Ashland : 7:15 am to 1:20 pm 

Framingham: 8:30 am to 1:55 pm 

Natick: 8:30 am to 2:45 pm 

Wellesley: 8:30 am to 3:35 pm 

Newton: 8:00 am to 4:45 pm 

Brookline: 9:00 am to 5:45 pm 

Boston: Variable to 7:00 pm 

What is the average time for the Boston Marathon?  

In 2019, the average time taken by the 26,600 participants was 3 hours 53 minutes. This is the average taken across all genders and age groups combined. Factors like total finishers and field size play a significant part in the average time. Between 2000 and 2019, the overall average finishing time was 3 hours and 54 minutes. With more than 30,000 runners expected to participate in 2022, we expect an improved average this April.  

What should I bring to Boston Marathon?  

For runners, a one-gallon clear plastic bag or a waist pack (5 inches x 15 inches x 5 inches) is allowed to carry food, drinks, IDs, medicines, etc. A fuel belt that can carry bottles with a maximum capacity of one liter or less can also be used. Other items, including armbands, headphones (not encouraged but permitted by organizers), and additional layers of clothing, can also be carried.

Similarly, the spectators should avoid bringing certain things to the Marathon. This includes weapons, backpacks, glass containers, drones, sleeping bags, fireworks, and explosives. It is better to use transparent plastic carry bags to make the checking process at the security checkpoints faster. You can find spectator rules on the BAA website.  

Can I wear a backpack to the Boston Marathon?  

No, backpacks of any size or any similar item carried over the shoulder are not permitted for participants of the Boston Marathon. Similarly, suitcases, rolling bags, and weight vests with pockets are also not allowed for the runners. Spectators are also not allowed to have backpacks.  

Can I wear headphones in the Boston Marathon?  

Yes, if you are running the Boston Marathon, the organizers allow you to wear headphones even though using them is discouraged. But for Para Athletes in certain divisions, usage of headphones is not permitted. You can read more about what’s allowed and prohibited here.  

How to get to Boston on the marathon day? 

You can take the T to reach different points on marathon day. On race day, services will be adjusted, and some stations will be temporarily closed. The Copley station will be closed, so you will have to get down at nearby stations or find alternate services. MBTA services will start at 5 am, and the buses will start flying from 7:15 am. 

The Red, Orange, Blue, and Silver lines will have additional services before and after the Marathon. All buses and Commuter Rail lines will function like regularly with minor changes to routes. There are many subway services, and bus stops near the finishing line as well.  

What are the Covid policies of the Boston Marathon? 

The spectators and athletes using the T and the buses will be asked to wear face masks. Similarly, in all the medical tents, you must always wear a face mask. Even though proof of vaccination is not mandatory for athletes, they are expected to be up to date with Covid vaccinations. 

Boston Marathon 2023: Some quick info 

  • The upcoming edition will be held on April 17.   
  • The marathon course covers around 26 miles and 385 yards. It starts on the main street of Hopkinton, and it ends in Copley Square next to the Boston Public Library. 
  • Hopkinton, Natick Town, Scream Tunnel, and West Newton are some of the few spots along the course from where you can watch the marathon. 
  • Usually, around 500,000 spectators turn up to watch the marathon. So, try to ensure a parking spot near the marathon course by booking early.  
  • There will be road closures during the event. So, check that before you drive to watch the marathon.  

Fine cheap parking near Boston Marathon course


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