We're now just over two weeks away from the 119th Boston Marathon so it seems like an appropriate time to start finalizing marathon weekend logistics. In this post, I'm going to give some tips for first timers (and folks who haven't done the race in a while) on everything except how to run the race itself.
|Phote credit: John Hancock|
A note on the official shirt: Although you had to put down a size on your registration back in September, there's a t-shirt exchange. You can try on your shirt as soon as you get it and if it doesn't fit, swap it for one that does.
A note on the free posters: Each year at the expo, they hand out race posters courtesy of Adidas. The poster has the name of every marathon participant on it so it makes for a great, free souvenir. There's no reason not to take one.
A note on the now infamous jacket: Even if you've seen the official jacket online already and
The Day Before
Everyone has their own pre-race rituals so somethings here may be totally irrelevant to you. Oh well!
A note on brunch/breakfast: Last year, the Sunday before the marathon fell on Easter which meant that reservations were a must for breakfast or brunch. This year, it's just a normal Sunday but with swarms of marathoners and their adoring fans in town, I still highly recommend reservations, even if you're just planning to eat at your hotel.
A note on church: This section may be irrelevant for many of you, but if you're someone who goes to church, even occasionally, the day before the race is a great day to go. Most churches in the Boston-area know what a big deal the marathon is and it's not uncommon to get a sermon or homily that's running-related. Many also do a special blessing of the runners. It's always a very cool experience!
|Photo credit: BU News Service|
Dante (Cambridge) - Dante serves bottomless bowls of their homemade pastas on Sunday nights. The service here is great and it's never as hectic as some restaurants closer to marathon events.
DaVinci (Bay Village) - Close to the expo, DaVinci has a special pre-race menu with items like "finish line shrimp linguine" and "Heart Breaking Chicken Pappardelle."
Scollay Square (Beacon Hill) - If folks in your group are looking for more than red sauce Italian, Scollay Square is a decent choice. In years past they've had a special pre-marathon menu but their regular menu is wide-ranging with options that could please anyone.
Maggiano's (Back Bay) - Maggiano's may be a national chain but if you're looking for giant family-sized portions of pasta, it's a great place to go. They have plenty of spaces for larger parties too which makes it great if you're traveling in a group.
Papa Razzi (Multiple Locations) - A New England chain with a location on Newbury Street near the expo and finish, Papa Razzi serves up oak-fired pizzas, homemade pasta, and other Italian fare. This year they're doing a special deal for marathoners: sign-up online and get $5 off your first visit, $10 off your second visit, and $15 off your third visit between now and May 15th.
The Morning Of
|Photo credit: The Lakefront Trail|
A note on bag check: Yes, it's a bummer that you can no longer bring a bag with you to Hopkinton, but it's not the end of the world. If you're staying far from the finish and/or won't have family and/or friends meeting you after, you may want to check a bag. The question to ask yourself is whether the Common is more convenient than wherever else you could get a change of clothes. You will get an insulated waterproof poncho at the end which should buy you a little bit of time before really needing to change. Regardless of what you decided to do, I recommend dressing warmly in multiple layers for the wait in the Athlete's Village.
A note on lines in the Common: If you're taking one of the buses from the Common, don't be alarmed if you see what look like massive lines when you show up. Each bus has its own line and they move surprisingly fast. The B.A.A. may not have been running buses for all 118 years of the marathon, but they've got plenty of practice. What you'll experience is a well-oiled machine.
A note on when to catch your bus: Get to the Common at your designated time. Buses get backed up as you approach Hopkinton and you don't want to miss being called to your wave because you took a later bus. The Athlete's Village is a 5 to 10 minute walk from the start and you're probably going to want to use the bathroom too. Allow yourself plenty of time.
Okay, those are my tips for now. I'll be back with a post on course strategy as we get closer to the race.