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Lessons I Learned at the Boston Marathon

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Call me a 25-year-old crybaby, but I feel the only thing more exhausting than running a marathon is watching one. I just returned from the 114th-annual Boston Marathon, where my best friend in the world zipped along the requisite 26.2 miles (past the Ashland Clock Tower, Lake Cochituate, and Wellesley College girls offering runners smooches) at record speed. (That's three hours, 41 minutes, 13 seconds. Go Rachel Go!) And I got so tired searching for her gorgeous face among all those rolling past me in varying stages of elation and pain that I thought, “Never again! Never again will I sit on these sidelines without a box of Mike’s Pastry napoleons to keep me going!!”

Here are three other ways to treat yourself right at the Boston Marathon (or any big city race for that matter), so by the time you meet up with your marathon-running BFF you don’t immediately shout “I’M SO EXHAUSTED!!” to her nearly collapsing body.

* Track your athlete for the Boston Marathon: Text “runner” to 31901, and AT&T will send you updates on your bud’s whereabouts at each milestone. Comes in handy if you’re trying to pace where they are along the route (there’s nothing worse than rabidly watching at Newton Fire Station when they’ve already passed Heartbreak Hill). Note: This was the first marathon for which AT&T offered this service; look for it at other city marathons in the future.

* Pick a great perch: You can stand against the barricades of the route, hollering at the runners like cattle. Or you can curl up on a plush couch in the Mandarin Oriental Boston’s M Bar & Lounge, overlooking the race's final paces with a cinnamon-pineapple mojito in your hand. Your choice.

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* Stay in style: Hotels near the marathon route tend to be jam-packed, their bars crowded with Patriots Day revelers (always the third Monday in April). I’d recommend a stay at the cushy Boston Harbor Hotel—not only is it a walkable distance from the finish line’s hordes on Boylston street, but it has just-revamped guest rooms that overlook shimmering Massachusetts Bay.

Kathryn O'Shea-Evans is an assistant editor at Travel + Leisure.

Photos courtesy of Morr Family; Boston Harbor Hotel

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