Architecture of the Marathon

In honor of Marathon Monday, I thought I would finally post some images from a few weeks ago. I’ve been training for my second Boston Marathon this winter (only somewhat successfully with the demands of Core II) and one weekend in March, I decided to document some of the buildings along the course as I ran from mile 8 to the finish on a long training run.

The Boston Marathon isn’t a loop course, instead starting 26 miles west in Hopkinton and ending in Copley Square, so it’s an interesting marathon architecturally and ubranistically as it moves from a relatively rural area, through suburbs, to increasingly dense ouskirts of Boston proper, to downtown.

My running buddy Ariel and I started in Natick at mile 8, where we had an on-the-run history lesson:

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“In this shop worked Henry Wilson the Natick Cobbler later Vice-President of the United States”

The houses out here are few and far between, some of them tucked away from the road (the photo of the red house was taken through a hole in a fence).

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Moving closer to Natick center at mile 10, the houses get a little more Victorian and classical (with an odd vestibule addition in the front):

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A church in Natick center:

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A fortress-looking community center around mile 11:

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Right before Wellesley College at mile 12, this house sits alone, just feet from a major road:

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Running with a Wesllesley alumna means a pit stop at Wellesley’s new student center:

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With a view toward a Gothic building more typical of the campus architecture:

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Some Richardsonian Romanesque coming out of Wellesley center around mile 14:

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The houses start to get bigger:

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Church around mile 15:

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Entering Newton is always exciting for me since I grew up there, but also because the course runs along Commonwealth Ave, a beautiful tree-lined, winding road with four of the toughest hills of the course, between miles 17 and 21. The houses are enormous and vary in style:

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At mile 21, runners have crested the last major hill, Heartbreak Hill, and enter the Boston College area:

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And here the finish line all of a sudden seems much closer, as the single-family homes transition to townhouses in Brookline around mile 22:

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The Citgo sign becomes visible shortly after mile 24.

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And then the course meets back up with Comm Ave for the final stretch. In Newton the street has a carriage path on one side, but in Boston’s Back Bay it becomes a wide boulevard with a central green strip, lined with tightly packed townhouses.

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The course takes a right on Hereford, left on Boylston, and then the last .2 miles bring you to the finish line in front of the Boston Public Library.

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With a view of the Hancock tower:

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Good luck to all the runners tomorrow!


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