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Boston Marathon event guide

There are plenty of reasons to visit Boston all year-round, from its rich colonial history to delicious New England cuisine, but April is a particularly special time of year in this Massachusetts city. Each year, the city welcomes athletes from around the globe for the famous Boston Marathon. It takes place on the third Monday of April (Patriot's Day) and is the city's largest event, attracting tens of thousands of visitors. If you plan on attending this exciting event, whether you're a runner or a spectator, book your Boston car rental and hotel room and get ready by learning a little about the marathon:


History of the Boston Marathon

Presented by the Boston Athletic Association, this event is the oldest marathon in the world, dating back to 1897. It's held on Patriot's Day, the holiday that recognizes Paul Revere's famous 1775 ride in which he warned of the British invasion that marked the beginning of the Revolutionary War. It was inspired by the first modern Olympics, which took place in Athens the year before the first Boston Marathon. The inaugural race included only 15 competitors, and a mere 10 made it to the finish line, with John J. McDermott going down in history as the race's first winner with nearly a seven-minute lead.


About the race

Despite its name, the Boston Marathon is actually held by several cities in the region. The course weaves through eight locales, starting in Hopkinton and making its way through Ashland, Natick, Framingham and other before ending in Boston's Copley Square. In total, it spans 26 miles and 385 yards, and while professional and amateur runners are welcome to compete, it's a very strenuous race that requires months of training. Those who make it to the halfway point are greeted by the "Scream Tunnel" in Wellesley, where students from the all-women's college cheer on runners and often give runners a little inspiration with free kisses. One of the hardest parts of the race is the hilly terrain of Newton about three-quarters of the way through, but the most taxing portion is Heartbreak Hill, a half-mile rise where many runners lose their stamina and drop behind.


Other Boston Marathon festivities

The Boston Marathon commemorates the midnight ride of Paul Revere, but there are also other activities that recognize this regional holiday, including battle reenactments and recreations of Revere's ride. The city's beloved Red Sox also play a home game on the morning of the marathon (it begins at 11 a.m.) at the historic Fenway Park, allowing patrons to watch the marathon go by before and after the team wipes out the competition. Bar-hopping is also popular on the day of the big race - be sure to leave your Massachusetts car rental behind if you plan on joining the crowds in the pubs early in the morning.

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