Yotel Home > Blog > Boston Marathon 2018: Route, Start Time, Qualifying Times and Races

Boston Marathon 2018: Route, Start Time, Qualifying Times and Races

Tim W

Author: Tim Weber

Share This Article:

One of the most famous marathons in the world, the annual Boston Marathon is a must-see if you’re in the city on Monday 16 April 2018. The athletic spectacle takes a winding route through the city, encompassing 26 miles of Boston’s streets and providing many opportunities to see the action. The Boston Marathon has been running (no pun intended!) since 1987, being held every year since, even during the war years of WWI and WWII. The marathon has become a symbol of the Boston community, and of endurance and team spirit. Now in its 122nd year, the race takes over the city and draws hundreds of runners from all over the world.

At YOTEL Boston, we’ve distilled all the necessary information for viewing the marathon into this handy in-the-know guide. Read on for the best viewing locations and marathon route, start time, qualifying times and races.

Boston Marathon Qualifying Times

Registration for the Boston Marathon has been open since 11 September 2017, and requires runners to meet specific qualifying times based on gender and age group. The fastest runners are selected first; after 25 September 2017, it is based on a first-come, first-served basis if runners qualify. The Boston Marathon qualifying times are as follows:

Age Group




3hrs 05min 00sec

3hrs 35min 00sec


3hrs 10min 00sec

3hrs 40min 00sec


3hrs 15min 00sec

3hrs 45min 00sec


3hrs 25min 00sec

3hrs 55min 00sec


3hrs 30min 00sec

4hrs 00min 00sec


3hrs 40min 00sec

4hrs 10min 00sec


3hrs 55min 00sec

4hrs 25min 00sec


4hrs 10min 00sec

4hrs 40min 00sec


4hrs 25min 00sec

4hrs 55min 00sec


4hrs 40min 00sec

5hrs 10min 00sec

80 and over

4hrs 55min 00sec

5hrs 25min 00sec

Boston Marathon Crowd
(Photo via Sonia Su)

Boston Marathon Qualifying Races 

There are hundreds of Boston Marathon qualifying races, taking place all over the United States. Boston Marathon qualifying times have to be achieved at marathon events that have been certified as a marathon course by either USA Track and Field, the Association for International Marathons and Distance Races (AIMS), or an in-country national governing body for distance running if the race has taken place abroad.

The official BAA Races website has the full details of the marathons that count as Boston Marathon qualifying races, though there is a short list of the top races that runners in the past have used as qualifiers.

2017 Boston Marathon

2016 Chicago Marathon

2016 New York City Marathon

2016 California International Marathon

2016 Philadelphia Marathon

2017 Erie Marathon

2017 Mountains 2 Beach Marathon

2017 REVEL Mt Charleston Marathon 2

2016 Berlin Marathon

2016 Indianapolis Monumental Marathon

2016 Twin Cities Marathon

2017 London Marathon

2016 St George Marathon

2016 Richmond Marathon

2017 Grandma's Marathon

2017 Ottawa Marathon

2017 Phoenix Marathon

2016 Baystate Marathon

2017 REVEL Big Cottonwood Marathon

2017 Lehigh Valley Via Marathon

2016 Steamtown Marathon

2016 Marine Corps Marathon

2016 Mohawk Hudson River Marathon

2017 Jack and Jill's Downhill Marathon

2017 Bayshore Marathon

Boston Marathon Start Time

Depending on what type of race participants are planning to run the Boston Marathon, the start times change. The earliest runners begin at 8.50am, being the Mobility Impaired Boston marathon start time. Wheelchair and handcycle participants follow, before the Elite Women and Elite Men begin their race at 9.32am and 10am respectively. Full details on the times can be found on the BAA official website.

If you are planning on watching the marathon, we suggest getting to a suitable spot on the route much earlier than the race start that you wish to view, as thousands flock to watch the marathon.

Boston Marathon Runners
(Photo via JD)

Boston Marathon Route

We’ve picked our top spots for viewing the race along the Boston Marathon route.

The Boston Marathon route begins in Hopkinton on Route 135 before descending into Boston proper. If you’re viewing the race at the starting point in Hopkinton, it is highly likely that you will need to pass a security check before being permitted to spectate from the spectator viewing areas. A safety tip is to keep all your belongings in clear plastic bag so that security checks are a breeze. Make sure you check the BAA spectator information page before attending.

Two great spots along the Boston Marathon route for viewing the race are at Framingham at mile 7-8, and Heartbreak Hill at mile 21-22. Framingham allows you to show your support much closer to the action, as the start line can be difficult to view when the crowds swell. Heartbreak Hill is the fourth hill along the route, and it is renowned for being one of the toughest points in the race. Support for participants is particularly welcome here, as they battle to conquer the mental strain and the physical exertion that the hill presents. Fair warning, as this area tends to be crowded, it is best to get there early.

The spectacular finish line next to the Boston Public Library at 560 Boylston Street is often absolutely jam-packed with spectators, making it difficult to view runners crossing the line. We highly recommend taking a spot at Kenmore Square at mile 24.5 instead, as you’ll be able to cheer the (now very tired!) runners to the finish line without getting stuck in the crowds.

If you do wish to situate yourself at the finish line, however, the Boston Public Library in Copley Square is a 10-minute drive or a 35-minute walk from YOTEL Boston. Get there very early so that you don’t miss out!

One great tip for making sure you’re at the right spot is to sign up for the AT&T Athlete Alerts for those runners you’re supporting. These updates are sent throughout the marathon day so that you can make sure you’re best positioned to show your support.

Boston Marathon Finish Line
(BU Interactive News)

If you’re planning on watching the Boston marathon in 2018, we recommend booking one of our cabins at YOTEL Boston as soon as possible, as hotel space becomes limited due to popularity.

Author: Tim Weber

Tim Weber is the Digital and Social Media Manager at YOTEL Boston.

Share This Article:
Stay up-to-date with what's happening at YOTEL

We promise not to bombard you!