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Along The Boston Marathon Route: Newton

heartbreak hill
The bottom of Heartbreak Hill in Newton (Photo by Darren McCollester/Newsmakers)

Newton is home to two of the most recognized Boston Marathon landmarks – the Forever Young statue and Heartbreak Hill.

As runners make it through this upscale city, they are greeted with enthusiastic crowds who love coming out in the first weeks of spring to celebrate the race.

The Boston Marathon is known around the world as one of the most difficult annual marathons. That's thanks in part to the harsh New England winter training conditions – but more attributable to the geography of Newton itself.

The hills!

A series of slopes culminates in the infamous Heartbreak Hill, which requires runners to ascend 27 meters vertically over a quarter-mile stretch near mile 20. While this may not sound very steep, try it after running 20 miles.

Johnny Kelley Forever Young Statue
The 'Forever Young' statue is way over on your left, after you pass the 19-mile mark. (WBZ)

About a mile before Heartbreak Hill, near Newton City Hall, is a marathon must-see.

Forever Young is a beautiful tribute to legendary Boston Marathoner, the late Johnny Kelley. He was a two-time winner and finished this course a remarkable 61 times. The statue depicts a young Kelley running alongside an elder version of himself.

Newton is just seven miles west of downtown Boston. It's the home of Boston College and the Chestnut Hill Reservoir, and it's the inspiration for Fig Newton cookies.

The Garden City is home to more than 85,000 people, made up of a diverse array of students, young professionals and families. As of the 2010 census, 21-percent of Newton's population was under the age of 18.

In 2012, Money Magazine named Newton the fourth-best small city in the United States. Newton is easily accessible by the MBTA's Green Line service.

Because Newton is on public transportation routes on the T and bus, and only a short 30 minute ride from the city, it is a great place to watch the Boston Marathon.

The "firehouse turn," Heartbreak Hill and BC campus are some of the best-attended spots on the course.

Newton is an especially fun place to watch the marathon because of its residential neighborhoods. People who live on the race route often have BBQs, block parties and picnics. There is no lack of enthusiasm, especially because the marathon falls on a state holiday, just as spring weather is blossoming.

If you plan to drive to Newton, be aware that closures of nearby roads will begin at 7 a.m. and there will also be extensive parking restrictions throughout the city.

Cameron Bruns is the founder of and co-author of Just Us Gals Boston. She lives in Boston's North End, where her goal is to promote ethical, stylish, and sustainable lifestyle choices to all Boston residents. Her work can be found on

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