After the horn sounds at the Boston Public Garden, runners stream west down Beacon Street and through the flat Back Bay section of Boston. The course turns right at Massachusetts Avenue and brings thousands of women over the Charles River and into Cambridge. Turning right again onto Memorial Drive, sweeping skyline views are on display past the two‑mile mark, before a 180 degree turn returns runners west on Memorial Drive. For a mile and a half, fellow participants cheer each other on from both sides of Memorial Drive.
At about 3.6 miles, runners do another 180 degree turn, returning east. With sweeping views of the Charles River, autumn foliage, and the Boston skyline, the four mile mark and a return onto the Massachusetts Avenue bridge awaits. As the buildings grow larger, a gentle descent brings runners back into the brick canyons of the Back Bay, before turning left on Commonwealth Avenue and the five mile mark. A straight shot down Commonwealth Avenue provides another scenic and flat jaunt through the Back Bay.
With a right turn onto Arlington Street, left on Boylston Street, and a final left onto Beacon Street, the end is in sight. A final push down Charles Street towards the historic finish line provides excitement for those who reach it and inspiration to those watching, as it has for more than four decades.