Active City Spotlight: Boston

Your Guide to Running, Cycling, Hiking and Getting Active in New England


Places to Run

If you truly want to combine running with tourism, than take off on the 2.5-mile Freedom Trail.

The brick path goes from Bunker Hill Monument to Boston Common, passing 16 historic sites along the way. That includes the Paul Revere House, the Boston Massacre site, the Benjamin Franklin statue and the Massachusetts State House.

You can do this run on your own, as the brick trail is easy to follow. However, if you want a tour guide with you, check out Freedom Trail Run, which does guided 5K tours (with lots of stopping) to explore all the historic sites. Plus, your tour earns you a T-shirt, and we all know how much runners love T-shirts.

Other popular routes:

Boston/Brookline: The Emerald Necklace is a chain of parks connected by parkways. There's about 7 miles of pathway throughout the necklace, and it is beautiful.

Concord: The Battle Road Trail is a 5.5-mile pathway in Minute Man National Historic Park, the site of the opening battle of the Revolutionary War. A running route with historic significance that's tough to match.

Chestnut Hill: You could map a nice little route here. Check out the Chestnut Hill Reservoir on its jogging trail, explore the Boston College campus and even mix in the famed Heartbreak Hill, which isn't that bad of a climb if you're not 21 miles into a big race.

Downtown: Many runners like to run the final couple of miles of the Boston Marathon course. That's mostly along Boylston Street, finishing near the John Hancock Tower and the Boston Public Library.

Races to Remember

Rumor has it there is a marathon in Boston that's pretty well-known. Have you heard of it?

In all seriousness, the Boston Marathon is such a huge deal that it can dwarf almost every other race in the country, not to mention other races in New England.

As you probably know, the Boston Marathon is held on Patriots' Day on the third Monday in April. More than 25,000 runners compete annually, and most of them have to qualify to get there by meeting certain time thresholds in "Boston qualifier" marathons around the globe. The race is such a hit that more than 500,000 spectators come to watch every year. No marathon is circled on a runner's bucket list more than this one.

Other well-known races include:

  • The Harvard Pilgrim Finish at the 50 race in July has a 5K and 10K option and finishes on the 50-yard line of Gillette Stadium, home of the New England Patriots, in nearby Foxborough.
  • The Boston 13.1 Marathon in September starts and finishes at Suffolk Downs and most of the race is along the coastline of Revere.

Stores to Check Out

The closing of the iconic Bill Rodgers Running Center in 2012 after 35 years marked the end of an era for running stores in Boston. However, there are still plenty of great choices for runners of all types.

Perhaps the best-located running store in Boston is Marathon Sports on 671 Boylston Street. It is close to the Boston Marathon finish line, but it's also known to New Englanders for its great selection and knowledgeable staff.

Other running stores include:

  • South End Athletic Company (652 Tremont Street)
  • City Sports (480 Boylston Street)

One Last Tip

City Running Tours in Boston allows for a personalized running tour to see whatever you want to see in Boston on foot. There is a flat fee for up to 6 miles of running, with a $5 charge for each additional mile.

More: 7 Tips to Qualify for the Boston Marathon

  • 2
  • of
  • 5

About the Author

Ryan Wood

Ryan Wood is an editor for He enjoys a good ride and loves participating in endurance events throughout the year. Follow him on Google+.
Ryan Wood is an editor for He enjoys a good ride and loves participating in endurance events throughout the year. Follow him on Google+.

Discuss This Article