The Boston Marathon is one of the oldest marathons in the country, dating back to the first one in 1897. Every year, the running of the Boston Marathon coincides with Patriots' Day, a civic holiday celebrated in Massachusetts and Maine commemorating the first battles of the Revolutionary War. The event draws in more than 1000 media personnel, over 500,000 spectators, and 8000 volunteers, making it one of the most popular marathons in the country. Aside from the traditional olive wreath made from leaves picked in Greece, the first-place winner receives $150,000, and additional amounts if he or she sets a course record. The Boston Marathon begins in Hopkinton and ends directly in Gibson Sotheby's back yard in the Back Bay of Boston, and so we know a thing or two about the best places along the route to enjoy the day. Here are Michael Carucci's five favorite places to watch the Boston Marathon:
The Starting Line: The race begins in Hopkinton and so it's always exciting to see thousands upon thousands of runners lining up to start their run. Due to the sheer volume of runners, the event kicks off in waves. It takes approximately three hours for all of the runners to cross the starting line. The starting line is extremely crowded for the first two miles, so if you are seeking respite from all the people, move to mile six in Framingham where the people watchers thin out a bit.
Framingham: The cool part about watching from Framingham is that the crowds are much lighter, and it's around mile six or seven where you will see the front runners separate from the crowd. Here's your chance to get a glimpse of the top few contenders who are running Boston to win.
Wellesley College Scream Tunnel: About halfway through the race, Wellesley students form a half mile line of students and spectators who scream, wave signs, and cheer on the runners. They are so loud and the area is so densely packed with people that it is called the Wellesley College Scream Tunnel, although it's not really a tunnel. Along this strip, it's not unusual to see students offering free hugs, fresh beer, and lots of inspiration to the tired runners.
Heartbreak Hill: Although it's not the highest point of the race, the big hill that sits at mile twenty is what many consider the most challenging part of the race. It's here where runners need the most encouragement and so spectators line the street motivating runners over the hump.
The Finish Line: Located on Boylston Street in the Back Bay, this area is standing room only as people cross the finish line throughout the day. It's the best spot to show up and watch friends finish the race, but it's so crowded that many find a quiet place to reflect or grab a drink elsewhere further from the crowds.