My Boston Marathon coverage finishes with a data dump. It’s mostly for my purposes, so I can quickly access and compare the information in the future; but there are a few resources that will be useful for any Boston participant.
Boston Marathon course GPX file
During the race I wore a Suunto Ambit GPS sport watch. It recorded a distance of 26.38 miles, which probably includes some wider corners than the official course.
Multiple sources agree that the starting line is at 442 feet above sea level and the finish at 17 feet above sea level. But I found multiple listings of vertical change:
- MyMarathonPace.com: 783 feet of gain, 1225 feet of loss, 442 net down
- MyMarathonPace.com: 544 feet of gain, 922 feet of loss, 378 net down
- GPSRunning: 693 feet of gain, 1095 feet of loss, 402 net down
- GPX track from my Suunto Ambit: 600 feet of gain, 1064 feet of loss, 464 net down
If you take the average of these, you get:
- 655 feet of gain
- 1077 feet of loss
- 422 net down
- In an average mile, you gain 25 feet and lose 41 feet, so 16 feet net down
To help orient myself and to help my family plan their spectating, I created the map below. You’re welcome to use it for your own purposes.
I ran a slightly negative split, which is probably rare at Boston on a hot day. My slowest 5K split was through the Newton Hills, and fastest was the final full 5K from the top of Heartbreak Hill into downtown Boston.
The most surprising piece of data was my heart rate, which averaged 165 bpm and which peaked at 177 bpm.
In training I had not seen my HR exceed 175 bpm. And based on tempo workouts and the Daniels’ Running Formula, I thought my maximum sustainable marathon effort would be in the high-150’s. Daniels puts it at 88 percent of max HR for a 2:20 marathoner, or 158 bpm in my case.
I suspect that the heat played a role in my elevated HR. If anyone has insight into this, please chime in.
Are you ready to run a 2:32:01 at the Boston Marathon on a warm day? The workouts below, from the final six weeks of training, might give you an indication. Unless otherwise noted, these were done in Boulder, Colo. at 5,300 feet above sea level.
- 5:19 pace for interval 1
- 5:17 pace for interval 2
- Flat loop
- 16-mile marathon pace effort starting at mile 4
- 5:49 pace for the MP segment, with 500 vertical feet of climbing
- 5:45 pace at sea level
- 1,000 vertical feet of climbing
- 33:23 overall or 5:23 pace
- Sea level conversion is 32:17
- Flat loop