Explore Boston

7 Reasons Why You Should Attend the Boston Marathon

It's one of the world's most special races. Enough said.

If you're looking for a reason to attend the Boston Marathon, we've got seven for you.

Annually, the historic race is held on Patriots’ Day in April. Four former Boston champions lead a pack of 38 elite athletes, and are expected to cross the finish line just after noon. Get an early start and pack light when headed to the Boylston Street finish line area. You won't want to miss a thing. 

Reason 1: It's the planet's oldest annual marathon.

The 10-year-old Boston Athletic Association organized the first Boston Marathon in 1897, one year after the first modern-day Olympic Games took place in Athens, Greece. Of a 15-person field, 10 runners completed the race. In 2016, the Boston Marathon celebrated its 120th running.

Reason 2: Dozens of world champions run this race.

Athletes have to qualify in order to run this prestigious road-racing event, and qualifying times for Boston are tougher than most. In fact, meeting the qualifying time doesn't even guarantee entrance into the race. These tight restrictions (and the winner's purse) attract elite runners from across the globe. In 2016, four former Boston Marathon champions returned. The international, elite field of 38 people has won 16 Abbott World Marathon Majors, Olympic and World Champion medals.

Reason 3: You get to be part of something big.

More than 500,000 spectators turn out to watch some 30,000 runners check off this box on their life's bucket list. 

Reason 4: Show you're Boston Strong.

Attending the Boston Marathon in the three years since the tragic 2013 bombing has become a demonstration of resolve and strength in the face of terrorism on American soil. This is your chance to be part of it.

Reason 5: There's nothing like seeing hard work pay off.

Watching thousands of runners fight to cross the Boston Marathon finish line after pounding the pavement for 26.2 often torturous miles can really well up some emotion. Cheer 'em on, hand out high-fives and let pride for your fellow mankind wash over your soul.

Almost there! Steps from the Boston Marathon finish line.
Almost there! Steps from the Boston Marathon finish line. (©Fay Foto/Boston)

Reason 6: The pre-race, weekend fitness expo is a runner's dream come true.

Like bees to honey, running enthusiasts swarm Hynes Convention Center to check out the vendors at the free John Hancock Sports & Fitness Expo. Participants range from gear retailers like Adidas, Saucony and New Balance to reps for other marathons (Barcelona, Quebec City) and more. Plus, this is where marathoners pick up their official number bibs—be on the lookout for a champion.

Reason 7: Toast the race with fellow spectators at Boylston Street bars.

The stretch of Back Bay bars gets rowdy by 11 am on Patriots' Day with revelers enjoying a day off from work with a beer and a highly coveted window seat. Bars to try: McGreevy's, The Pour House, Whiskey's, Atlantic Fish and Solas.