The Guide to Boston Marathon (6): Race Day


Unlike most races where you’d get to go through your regular morning pre-race routine, the pre-race arrangement for the Boston Marathon might throw you off slightly.  If you plan to take the official bus (free for runners but unavailable for friends/family) to the start, the chart below shows the time you’d need to arrive at Boston Common (very close to the finish line) to board the bus.  Also, at the Boston Common, you can gear check (Using the official gear check bag received from your race packet only) any items you wish to pick up after the race.   NOTE: The walk from the finish line back to the gear check is a good 1mile after 26.2miles of grinding.  It was a horrible day for me to walk back as the weather was at its worst of the day.

1 101 – 7,700 6:00 – 6:48 a.m. 7:07 – 7:55 a.m.
2 8,000 – 15,600 7:00 – 7:48 a.m. 8:07 – 8:55 a.m.
3 16,000 – 23,600 7:55 – 8:43 a.m. 9:02 – 9:50 a.m.
4 24,000 – 32,500 8:45 – 9:33 a.m. 9:52 – 10:40 a.m.


 The logistics is as follows:

1.  Bag Check

Gear Check







2. Board the bus at the stated time (see above chart) at the Boston Common (1mile from the finish line)

Boarding Bus






3.  Arrive at Athlete Village at Hopkinton  (~60mins ride)

Entrance of Athlete Village






4.  Stay at the tents for about 2 hours if it was raining like mine in 2015 or in other years people get to do some forms of warm up on the beautiful dry field.


athletesvillage 2014


A question I had before getting there was would I be able to warm up at all before the race?

The answer is:  if the day was raining cats and dogs like 2015, then the answer is NO.  I wasn’t able to do any form of warm up because all runners (see top left photo) were packed in this little tent and other ones. There was virtually no space for any sort of drastic movement.  Could you go out for a easy warm up run? Not really, the field was muddy and once you left the tent your spot would immediately be taken by others. If the day was sunny, I’d think it’s quite possible to do some easy stretches on the field and perhaps some short light jogs around the field.

So on a rainy day, my advice is to do a shake-out run of 10-15mins the minute you woke up.

Another advice I give is to use the pot-o-let as early as possible.  My first stop was when I first arrived there and there was no line up.  My last stop was at 830am (about 30mins before being escorted to the start), the wait was about 30mins!

 5. Marshalled out to the Start line 

There is also another washroom stop just 400m before the start.  Actually, the distance of which  would really depend on where your corral is.  One advice I learned from fellow runners (only applicable to guys) is to bring along the warm sheet you get at the Athlete village and an empty Gatorade bottle for any last minute flush out of the system you might require.     start line 2015






Based on my experience this year running on a day that was extremely cold, wet and windy, my suggestion of items to bring to race site is divided in two categories as follows:

A.  Items You Will Race With 

Race shoes in plastic bag; race socks; arm warmers; GPS watch; Compression sleeves; Race cap (water-resistant); gloves (water-resistant); gels or any race specific nutrition

B.  Items You Will Donate  

2-4 layers of warm clothing (weather dependant); old socks; old shoes; old jacket; old beanie; towel (for stretching or wiping dry yourself if raining); vaseline (travel size); Body-glide (travel size); Bottled water/Gatorade; something to munch on (e.g. Cliff bars);and; 1-2 large garbage bags to sit on.

That’s all I could think of…my apologies in advance if I have missed out any details or if the event itself has made any changes that did not reflect my experience written here.  Please feel free to ask me a question or two in the comment section below.  All the best!  Lastly, if you are interested in my race, please kindly see my post on Boston Marathon 2015 Race

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