The Boston Marathon

The Boston Marathon is held on the third Monday of April, which is also known as Patriots’ Day in Massachusetts, a state holiday that commemorates the first battles of the Revolutionary War in 1775. Though it missed being the country's first marathon by a year (the first, in 1896, went from Stamford, Connecticut, to New York City), the Boston Marathon is arguably the nation’s most prestigious. Why? It’s the only marathon in the world for which runners have to qualify; it’s the world’s oldest continuously run marathon; and it’s been run on the same course since it began.

The marathon passes through Hopkinton, Ashland, Framingham, Natick, Wellesley, Newton, Brookline, and Boston; only the last few miles are run in the city proper, which has a festival atmosphere. Throngs of supporters and fans come out to cheer on the racers and eat and drink at restaurants and bars along the route. Some spectators have returned to the same spot for generations, bringing their lawn chairs and barbecues.

In 2013, a horrific bombing near the race's finish line killed three people and injured scores of others. The tragic event shocked Boston and the nation, but runners and supporters have returned in even bigger numbers. Security, however, has gotten tighter during the race, especially in Boston proper. Driving is impossible anywhere near the route and the T is packed, so plan accordingly.

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