The 6 Most Interesting Sites Along The Boston Marathon Route
For the more than 30,000 runners participating in the 122nd Boston Marathon Monday, the focus was largely to remember “Right on Hereford, Left on Boylston” to finish the 26.2-mile trek from Hopkinton, Massachusetts, to Copley Square in the heart of Boston. But with 19.7M SF of commercial space from start to finish, there are plenty of sites to see before and after Heartbreak Hill, and Bisnow picked a few favorites.
Hopkinton State Park (Starting Line)
The gazebo and “The Starter” statue will be prominently displayed on Boston’s local news Monday morning, as it is where runners will gather before beginning the modern world’s oldest marathon. The statue honors George V. Brown, who advocated for more sporting events in the U.S. and served as the official Boston Marathon starter from 1905 to 1937.
Ashland Clock Tower (Mile Three)
It may not be the prettiest clock tower in Greater Boston, but the Ashland Clock Tower holds its own in terms of history. The landmark at Union and Chestnut streets exemplifies Ashland’s Clock Town nickname. Henry Warren, who invented the synchronous electric clock in 1918, was from Ashland and founded Warren Telechron Co., the company responsible for the clock tower.
Wellesley College (Mile 12)
As runners close in on the halfway point of the Boston Marathon, they will pass by the alma mater of some of the most esteemed women in U.S. history. Former U.S. Secretaries of State Madeline Albright and Hillary Clinton attended Wellesley, and journalists and writers like Diane Sawyer and Nora Ephron were also students. But since the first Boston Marathon, Wellesley has been known for its sideline cheering and “Scream Tunnel.”
Wellesley students reportedly cheered on the Harvard students they each liked at the first marathon in 1897, and it has since evolved into hundreds of Wellesley women taking to the sidewalk to give vocal and enthusiastic encouragement to runners. One runner was so taken by the support that he reportedly sent a keg of beer to a Wellesley dorm each year he ran in the 1970s.
Heartbreak Hill and Boston College (Mile 20)
On a regular run, the gradual incline of Heartbreak Hill through Chestnut Hill may not seem too intimidating. After 20 miles of running, it is downright brutal and is a common spot for running to reduce to a slow walk. Once the marathoners cross the peak of Heartbreak Hill, they will see the Gothic architecture of Boston College. The new 240K SF Thomas More Apartments residence hall is the latest in an ongoing building spree at the university, and it should be a welcome sight to runners. The course is mainly downhill from BC.
Citgo Sign (Mile 25)
When runners cross over the Beacon Street bridge into Kenmore Square, they are greeted with the sights of Fenway Park, the Back Bay skyline and the iconic Citgo sign. Enjoy the view because it is poised to change in the coming years. Related Beal bought a nine-building portfolio in the neighborhood from Boston University in 2016 and is exploring redevelopment options. A proposal to build two hotels on Kenmore Square’s western edge would extend Boston’s skyline, as one could be as tall as 24 stories.
The Prudential Center (Mile 26)
As marathoners go right on Hereford and left on Boylston, they’re so close to the finish but also in the heart of a transforming Back Bay. A $275M renovation and expansion of the Prudential Center is close to finishing. Boston Properties has opened the 17-story 888 Boylston office building, which includes an Eataly, a Tesla dealership and expanded Prudential Center retail in its lower levels. The entire complex is anchored by the neighboring Prudential Tower, the city's second-tallest building. But if you are a runner, don’t stop to shop. You still have to cross the finish line!