The point to point course will take runners 26.2 miles from Hopkinton, MA to Copley Square in venerable downtown Boston. Although from start to finish the course drops to sea level from the beginning elevation of around 450 feet, miles 16 through 22 taunt runners with "the Newton hills," the most famous of which, Heartbreak Hill near Boston College, provides athletes with a daunting uphill challenge at the point in the marathon known as "the Wall."
Actress Valerie Bertinelli will be running the marathon Monday, but just as many eyes will be on Americans Meb Keflezighi and Ryan Hall. Kebflezighi's most recent marathon victory was last November's New York marathon, in which he triumphed over Hall and others to give the U.S. the first win at New York by an American in decades. Both Hall and Kebflezighi are true contenders at Boston. The top women likely to vie for first place Monday will be Salina Kosgei of Kenya, Dire Tune of Ethiopia, and Lidiya Grigoryeva of Russia.
Annual tradition has the race taking place every year on a Boston holiday, Patriot's Day.