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First time in Boston? What to expect on the course

BAA director of operations describes support on the course for newbies


With two weeks to go until the Boston Marathon, B.A.A. Director of Operations Doug Flannery shares some helpful tips for race day logistics, what to expect along the course, and more!

Posted by Boston Marathon on Friday, March 30, 2018

Newbies to the Boston Marathon have a lot to process. So what happens once you’ve spent the morning chilling in Hopkinton and things are about to get real? In this Unicorn TV LIVE segment, B.A.A. Digital Media Manager Marc Davis speaks to Director of Operations Doug Flannery about what’s coming.

RELATED: Run your best Boston [Marathon]: A course preview, race-specific tips and suggestions

Though many first-timers have heard all about the the scream tunnel, the Newton hills, and the CITGO sign, it doesn’t hurt to get some real-life intel from someone actually oversees how the race is organized. Here are some of Flannery’s best tips:

You can move back, but not up: It’s ok to move to a later wave or corral (i.e. one with a higher number) if you’re not feeling confident, just not the first corral of a later wave. And don’t try moving up corrals or waves–it’s not allowed, and you risk disqualification if you get caught. There will be marshals in the start line area to help you get into the right corral.


Boston Marathon

No need to switch sides: The first of 24 hydration stations is at mile two, but don’t worry about being on the wrong side of the course. There will be plenty of Gatorade (first four tables) and water (next nine tables) on both sides of the course, at every mile. You can also look forward to grabbing a gel at the Cliff Shot Energy Zones at mile 11.8, 17, and 21.5.

Don’t look down at your watch at the finish line! Of course you want to know your chip time, but make sure you get that great finish line photo from MarathonFoto! Put your finger on the trigger a few seconds early (if you must) and SMILE! as you cross the mat.

Boston Marathon security

Keep on moving! As in every big race, remember the folks behind you, and keep on moving through the chute after you cross the finish line. You’ll be given water and your finisher’s medal, and there’s a medical tent, more Gatorade and food. The exit to the family meeting area is just before the gear check. (Plan ahead to meet your crew under the sign for the first letter of your last name.) And for those who drove their own vehicle to Hopkinton, there will be shuttle buses to take you back.