One of the best walking cities in the United States, Boston also has an abundance of opportunities for runners. No matter what time of day you run, listen for the drum of other enthusiasts cruising over the pavement. Running is a popular pastime for hardy New Englanders regardless of weather, but if you aren't used to winter running in Boston, watch out for black ice.
Take the pulse of Boston by making your way through the heart of the city's downtown historic landmarks. Venture away from city congestion and run the 17-mile path along the Charles River, named by King Charles. If it is a track you seek, check out the M.I.T. track or the Harvard Track. Many good, easily accessible routes await you within only a mile of most hotels.
The Boston Marathon is a popular national event for runners and spectators alike. When you reach the halfway point at Wellesley College, tradition encourages runners to kiss cheering students on the cheek. Smaller races also have their own unique draw. If you are a fan of the Red Sox, check out Run to Home Base, a fundraiser for veterans, which ends at home plate in Fenway Stadium.
Tourists can tap into the numerous running clubs open to the public for recreation and training. Several running stores provide route maps. See store and route map links below.
Top Boston Running Routes:
Charles River - If you really want to avoid the downtown crowds, go for a run along the Charles River and see the postcard city skyline for yourself. The Charles connects Boston (beginning at the Harbor and the Science Museum) to Cambridge, Brookline and Watertown and offers approximately 17 miles of path. Alternating between dirt and concrete, you can customize your run by crossing one of the bridges that connects Storrow Drive in Boston with Memorial Drive in Cambridge. Though you will not usually be bottlenecked by pedestrians, on the first days of spring, everyone wants a front row seat at the river, causing the typically pristine path to become as crowded as a mall. On these days, it is best to stick to the Memorial Drive/Cambridge side of the river to keep away from the crowds, though it is warmer than the Boston side. On Sundays during the summer, the Cambridge side is closed from Elliot to Western Ave. There are free bathrooms and water fountains by the river, but they are closed in the winter. This route is completely flat, so if you are yearning for a hill you can add Beacon Hill to the Boston part of your run or consider the route Heartbreak Hill.
Heartbreak Hill - Ideal for elevation training, this route is actually part of the end of the Boston Marathon. Start after St. Ignatius Church on Commonwealth Ave and follow the Boston Marathon route backwards.
Fresh Pond - If you are looking for a route near Harvard Square, Fresh Pond's 2.3-mile loop is just 1.5 miles away. It is shady in the summer, not completely flat, and marked every 400m.
- • Running routes by Map My Run: www.mapmyrun.com/find-run/united-states/ma/boston
- • Running routes by Run.com: www.run.com/city.asp?dest=Boston+MA
- • Marathon Sports running links: www.marathonsports.com
- Running Events:
- • Boston Marathon: bostonmarathon.org
- • BAA Half-Marathon: www.baa.org/BostonMarathon
- • Run to Home Base: www.runtohomebase.org
- • Race up Boston Place Stair Climb: www.mrsnv.com/evt/info.jsp?id=2826
- • Vision 5k: www.vision5k.org/site/PageServer
- • MMRF Race for research: www.themmrf.org
- • Heart Break Hill 5K: heartbreakhill5k.kintera.org/faf/home/default.asp?ievent=310503
- • Annual Tufts Health Plan for Woman 10K: www.tuftshealthplan.com/tufts10k/index.php
- • Architecture for humanity 5K: afhb.org/5k-fundraiser/
- • Run to Remember: www.bostonsruntoremember.com/boston/index.html
- Running Groups:
- • Boston Athletics Association Club: registration.baa.org/RunningClub/Default.asp
- • New Balance Running club: www.nbboston.com
- • Boston Running Center: www.bostonrunningcenter.com
- • Cambridge running club: www.cambridgerunning.org
- • Community Running: www.communityrunning.org
- Running Stores:
- • Marathon Sports, 671 Boylston Boston, MA, 617-267-4774: www.marathonsports.com
- • Bill Rodgers Running Center, 1 North Market St. Boston, MA, 617-723-5612
- • Boston Running Company, 121 Charles St. Boston, MA, 617-723-2786: www.bostonrunningcompany.com
- • South End Athletic Company, 652 Tremont St. Boston, MA, 617-391-0897: www.southendathleticcompany.com