A spectator’s guide to the 2022 Boston Marathon

Brenna Aube (left) and Maddey Twiford (right) held foam fingers in Kenmore Square to cheer on marathon runners. According to Twiford, seeing the runners is inspirational. (Photo by Laura Martinez/BU News Service)

By Zeinab Diouf
Boston University News Service

On Monday, April 18, skilled runners from around the globe will hit Boston streets to run in the oldest marathon in American history — the Boston Marathon. With the event drawing hundreds of thousands of spectators a year, BUNS has compiled a variety of tips to gain the most out of the Marathon Monday experience.

The 126th Boston Marathon will kick off with the mens’ and womens’ wheelchair races at 9:02 a.m and 9:05 a.m, respectively, followed by handcycle and duo races at 9:30 a.m. At 9:37 a.m, onlookers can expect to hear pistols firing off as the professional men take to the route, followed by the professional women at 9:45 a.m. The para athletic division will commence at 9:50 a.m. 

The remainder of the race, divided into waves, will begin promptly at 10:00 a.m and feature registered runners embarking on the 26.2-mile course. Wave 1 participants, clad in red bibs, will begin at 10 a.m and wave 2, sporting white bibs, will begin at 10:25 a.m. Wave 3, distinguishable by their blue bibs, will take to the route at 10:50 a.m, while wave 4, in yellow bibs, will wrap things up in Hopkinton at 11:15 a.m.

With warmer weather expected to take hold, the marathon will likely draw a large audience comparable to those from past years. Crowds can hamper viewership, but Coolidge Corner, Kenmore Square and Copley Square are spacious areas in which spectators can comfortably cheer on runners with cowbells, decorated posters and shouts of encouragement. 

This year’s marathon will host a large police presence of uniformed and plainclothes officers so spectators will likely be subject to security checks and bag inspections. It is essential that spectators familiarize themselves with the personal items the Boston Athletic Association suggests are best left at home. These include backpacks, coolers, face-covering costumes and containers that can carry more than 1liter of liquid — to name a few. 

Besides eagerly leaning over the metal barriers to spur on competitors, there are numerous events occurring throughout the city in which spectators can showcase their support. During the weekend, Fan Fest, presented by Amazon, will feature live music, fitness classes and more activities free to the public. 

At the Hynes Convention Center, the Boston Marathon Expo will offer a number of recreational opportunities, including a Boston Marathon shop where anyone can purchase memorabilia to mark the occasion. 

Monday’s event, while highly anticipated, will disrupt many commuters’ schedules. Here’s what to know:

The MBTA reports several service interruptions throughout the day. Copley Station will be closed the entire day, while South Street, Kent Street and Saint Mary’s Street will be temporarily closed from 10 a.m to 6 p.m. Some bus lines may detour to accommodate the marathon route. 

As many streets will be blocked off and certain parking areas will be restricted, traffic is expected to increase. To compensate, the MBTA is offering a $15 Marathon Pass that affords riders on commuter rails unlimited travel for the day. 

If not taking to the streets, there are still plenty of ways to live the day’s festivities from the comfort of home. WBZ-TV will broadcast the race, while WBZ NewsRadio 1030 will offer live radio commentary. A team of reporters will lead national coverage for USA Network and NBC Sports from 8:30 a.m to 1 p.m.  CBSBoston.com will livestream the event straight from the finish line. Spectators can also install the B.A.A. app to receive live updates. 

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