Did you know that 80 percent of Boston’s population – or 500,000 spectators – come out to watch the Boston Marathon? If you don’t want to miss out, I suggest you get over to the marathon route immediately on Monday morning. The race features 26.2 miles of scenic Massachusetts roads, sweat, tears, heartbreak, and of course, inspiration.

Below you’ll find the entire Boston Marathon route overview courtesy of the Boston Athletic Association’s website (click for a larger view).

The Boston Marathon meanders 26.2 miles through eight cities and towns, starting in Hopkinton and continuing through Ashland, Framingham, Natick, Wellesley, Newton and Brookline before reaching the finish line in Boston’s Copley Square.

Wellesley marks the halfway point of the marathon at 13.1 miles, making it a particularly stressful point for runners. To help lift their spirits, Wellesley students annually go out to the 13th mile’s “Scream Tunnel” to cheer on the runners as they pass by. They make hilarious signs, give out kisses, and scream their hearts out to support those pounding the pavement on race day.

The next major milestone is Heartbreak Hill, marking the 20-mile point in the race near Boston College. The Boston Marathon course is known for being amongst the hilliest marathons in the world, and Heartbreak Hill is the last major hill on the course. However, it is named such not for its toughness, but because in 1936, defending champion John “Johnny” Kelley overtook Ellison Brown and gave him a pat on the shoulder as he passed. The gesture fueled Brown to beat Kelley, and therefore break his heart in doing so. You snooze, you lose.

Anyway, after Heartbreak Hill, it’s the final stretch for the runners. Cleveland Circle (Mile 22), Washington Square (Mile 23) and Coolidge Corner (Mile 24), are all excellent spots to catch the action, and can be easily accessed by the Green Line. Check out a list of bars in these areas here.

At Kenmore Square’s iconic Citgo Sign – Mile 25 – you can join throngs of Red Sox fans as they pour out of the 11:05 a.m. game on Monday morning.

The final, final stretch is when marathoners hit Boylston Street. It’s usually a madhouse in this last leg, but if you plop down in a spot early (read: throw lots of elbows and literally sit on the sidewalk at 9 a.m.), you’ll be able to see some of the world’s most inspiring athletes cross the finish line.

Or, just post up at one of several bars on Boylston and toast to another Patriots’ Day away from the office. Some of our suggestions include: Pour House, Whiskey’s, Solas, Towne, Haru… or basically anywhere you can get a table.

Cheers!

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