5. Boston Marathon
Boston is the world’s oldest marathon, steeped in tradition and history, with fabulous crowd support, a top-class elite field and a surprisingly quick point-to-point course. Sadly it’s also a marathon that the majority of runners will never experience because of its strict qualifying standards. That certainly doesn’t stop people trying, since the effort of qualifying and the exclusivity of the race are undoubtably part of its allure. If you have the talent, this is a marathon you really have to run, and a marathon you will definitely remember.The course: The race is run along a point-to-point course, which starts in Hopkinton to the west of Boston and passes through seven small towns before finishing in central Boston. It drops over 400ft overall, mostly in the early miles, although it does climb noticeably as the course traverses Newton Hills between 17 and 22 miles before a fast 200ft drop over the last few miles.
Highs: The girls of Wellesley College near halfway. If their support can’t inspire you, you don’t have a heartbeat.
Lows: The long walk from the finish near Copley Square to the baggage buses.
Watch out for: Junk food served up at Hopkinton fair in the hours waiting for the midday start.
Contact: Boston Athletic Association, 40 Trinity Place, 4th Floor Boston, MA 02116, USA; tel 001 617 236 1652; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
UK contact: Sports Tours; 0161 7038161