HOPKINTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Many cities around the world host marathons, but none is more famous than Boston’s 26.2 mile course. The route passes through eight cities and towns, starting in the small town of Hopkinton and ending on bustling Boylston Street in Boston.

The first two miles of the race pass through Hopkinton, the smallest community along the route, then crossing into Ashland– where the race actually began before the route was changed in 1924. From there, marathoners run through the southern portion of Framingham, and then right across Natick, where they pass the town center.

The 13.1 mile marker, the halfway point in the race, is in Wellesley. There are several hills that runners have to climb up to this point, but generally, the race has been downhill- dropping in elevation about 300 feet since the starting line.

Leaving Wellesley, runners cross into Newton, home of the infamous Heartbreak Hill. Located between the 21st and 22nd mile marker, Heartbreak Hill represents a sharp- but temporary- increase in elevation, and has been the end of the line for many marathoners. Click here for an article from Runners World explaining why Heartbreak Hill is so difficult.

Passing by Boston College, the athletes dash through Brookline, before beginning the home stretch through Boston. The last mile takes runners through Kenmore Square, and finally onto Boylston Street, where the finish line is located.