Top 11 Runtastic Boston Marathon Takeaways & Tips
By Stephanie Peterson
Fall marathon season is here and it’s got us reflecting on this past spring… Did you know that adidas is a top sponsor of the world-famous Boston Marathon!? It’s true and that means we at Runtastic had and have the opportunity to inch our way towards a more meaningful engagement with this historic running event. #adidasfamily #strongertogether
Copyright: Boston Athletic Association
Two of us hopped over the pond for a long weekend this past April to see what all the fuss is about and start planning for new digital and offline Runtastic race day experiences in the years to come! As fall marathon season approaches, I wanted to share my top 11 takeaways from the experience. Hopefully you can glean a bit of inspiration from our experience and maybe we’ll even get the chance to see you at an upcoming race (as a participant or spectator)! Happy running!
11. The city is the race and the race is the city
Moseying around the city during race week was a pleasure for so many reasons, but one of the highlights was seeing how the city really comes together to make this incredible race happen. I have never seen so many volunteers, police, police dogs & so on coming together for one common goal. Seeing this awesome example of the human spirit firsthand also allowed me to recognize just how personal the bombings (a few years back) were… Bravo to the city and runners for coming together and remaining stronger than ever. #BostonStrong
10. Airbnb FTW <3
As we made the decision to fly to Boston pretty late, the hotels in the area were fully booked (and if not, then outrageously expensive). We scored a great apartment just a few blocks from the finish line and couldn’t have been happier – make sure to check in with local rental options if you’re looking to come out as a runner or spectator! This tip can be applied to most any race & any city come race weekend.
9. Jogging in Boston during race week is simultaneously motivating & depressing 😉
I hit the sidewalks of South End and Back Bay every morning during our visit and I’ve got to say – the talent in the area was impressive, but also a bit intimidating! Even if you’re not used to being passed on your morning or post-work jogs, get ready to be humbled by the exceptional international running crowd during the days leading up to and post-event. (And just think – they’re flying by you on their taper!)
8. Visit the North End and carboload (whether you’re running or not)
A fan of Italian food and culture? Then the North End is for you. Every corner boasts a glorious hole-in-the-wall Italian eatery, bakery or salami shop. A few tips from our experience: Follow the Freedom Trail and you’ll eventually stumble into this area of town, and make sure you arrive early in the evening! Most of these old school haunts don’t take reservations and you can expect a healthy hour wait at some of the most popular spots.
General tip: Using running as a way to discover new cities and locations is incredible. Why not consider a long weekend in Berlin, Istanbul or Dublin this fall?
7. Choose your side of the street early
We found out the hard way that if you aren’t on the side of the street you want to be by mid-morning, you’re gonna be stuck. Luckily, I managed to get my post-run Starbucks from “the other side” around 7 a.m., but by later in the morning, we were limited by endless barricades, security check points and so on. Par for the course – no complaints here – just get where you wanna be early or be ready to “settle” for a so-so location!
6. Wheelchair athletes are the most inspiring thing in the world
You might not know this, but a few hours before the runners begin, a fleet of wheelchair athletes takes off from Hopkinton (the small town where the marathon kicks off) and heads for Boylston Street. When these men and women fly down the last few hundred meters of the race course, the crowd pulses with what I would call admiration, pride and unbridled enthusiasm. The cheers and wild clapping are a great start to a long day of spectating.
5. The marathon apparel is kick ass. Get ready to shell out a few bucks for one-of-a-kind marathon running items
Whether you visit the official John Hancock Sport & Fitness Expo, stop by the adidas Runbase or hit one of their temporary pop-up shops, grabbing a bit of marathon gear is a must. Trust me on this one – I am not a person to collect travel souvenirs or event t-shirts. But, the marathon kit – from head to toe – is full of fresh colors and top-quality materials. A handful of pieces definitely found their way into my luggage 😉
4. Catching a game at Fenway is a must
Not that into baseball? Too bad. Head over to Fenway, the oldest stadium in the country, to check out The Green Monster, grab a hot dog with all the fixings and a cold beverage of your choice. The atmosphere is one of a kind and the history of the team and area is nearly tangible.
General tip: Make the most of any marathon weekend and sneak in some sightseeing and sporting or theater activities. Heading to the Sydney Marathon – why not take in a show at the Opera House? Or if you’ll be at the New York City Marathon this November, why not sneak in a visit to the Empire State Building, Rockefeller Plaza or Broadway?
3. adidas is killing it
Since Day 1 of our partnership, we’ve been proud to be a member of the adidas family; however, after seeing the team and product “in action” in Boston, our pride grew to a whole new level! The marathon gear was amazing and all the activations coordinated around the main event were a dream for spectators and participants alike. It was great to see adidas in action, get excited about what they’re doing and feel our curiosity grow (yes, already!) about what we might see in the years to come.
2. We’ll be here next year, bigger, better & digitally 😉
Another goal of ours – not a new one, but one that was strengthened by this on-the-ground experience – is that we’re soooooo ready to become an even bigger and more impactful part of the adidas digital world. The Boston Marathon, marathons worldwide and race series are an incredible opportunity for us to engage with and support new runners. Be on the lookout for us in the future – we can’t wait to meet you ☺
1. The best part of spectating (including losing your voice!) is the last hour of racers. #neverquit
Do we respect and admire marathon winners? Naturally. Do they leave us in awe? Absolutely. However, it’s our experience that the most inspiring and emotional moment(s) of the marathon (and we can imagine this being true at most any race, not just Boston) is the hour before the race course is closed down. These folks – those who approach the finish line with tears in their eyes and a limp in their stride – are what running and races are all about. Bringing people together to push their limits, support one another and give their all for something they believe in. I have never screamed so loud and so long as in the early evening hours of April 18, 2016 and it was a true pleasure. The runners having their names on their starting bibs made the experience all the more personal and fun and I truly encourage all of you – whether you’re a spectator or a runner who happens to finish a bit earlier – to get out there and cheer on your comrades. You won’t regret it!