The Boston Marathon, held annually on Patriots’ Day, is a grueling yet exhilarating test of endurance. But beyond the physical challenge, runners often face an additional hurdle: the unpredictable New England weather. Understanding the typical and historical weather patterns on Patriots’ Day can be crucial for runners and spectators alike to prepare for the race.

The Ideal Marathon Climate:

While marathoners train for various conditions, most agree on the ideal weather recipe: cool temperatures (around 45-50°F), overcast skies, moderate humidity, and a gentle southwest breeze. This combination minimizes heat stress, allows for comfortable running attire, and provides some protection from the sun’s rays.

The Reality of New England Weather:

Unfortunately, predicting perfect marathon weather is like predicting a white Christmas in Boston: you never quite know what you’ll get. April weather in New England is notoriously fickle, with a reputation for being cool and damp, but also prone to sudden temperature swings, heavy rain, and strong headwinds.

Historical Patriots’ Day Weather: A Tale of Extremes:

Looking back at past Boston Marathons showcases the vast array of weather conditions racers have encountered:

  • 2012: The race day dawned sunny and hot, with temperatures soaring to 87°F. This marked the hottest Boston Marathon on record, resulting in numerous heat-related medical emergencies and slower race times.
  • 1996: A classic New England spring day greeted runners, with cool temperatures around 45°F and a steady drizzle. This provided comfortable running conditions and resulted in a fast race.
  • 1970: The Boston Marathon experienced its coldest recorded temperature of 39°F. Strong winds and occasional snow flurries added a layer of challenge to the race.

The Impact of Weather on Race Performance:

Weather can significantly impact a runner’s performance:

  • Heat and humidity: Can lead to dehydration, fatigue, and heatstroke for unprepared runners.
  • Cold temperatures: Can stiffen muscles and make it difficult to maintain a comfortable pace.
  • Strong winds: Can create resistance and fatigue, impacting pace and strategy.
  • Rain: While not ideal, can be manageable with proper clothing and preparation.

This Year’s Forecast:


The weather this year will feature a beautiful day overall for spectators, but warm conditions for runners with highs anticipated to be around 70. There shouldn’t be any precipitation to worry about with the disturbed weather over us this weekend moving offshore by Monday. Expect mostly sunny to partly cloudy skies, temperatures in the upper 40s at the starting line, and a quartering tailwind around 5-10 mph that may turn onshore as a light seabreeze towards the finish line. Stay tuned for more updates in the days to come!