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Marathon weather is perfect for spectators, not so much for runners

Temperatures could reach into the 70s by the afternoon, which is much hotter than ideal running weather, but should provide a comfortable experience for spectators. John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

Marathon Monday will be a pleasantly warm spring day for spectators, but for athletes, the conditions will be less than ideal.

Temperatures could reach into the 70s by the afternoon, which is much hotter than ideal running weather.

Studies have found that optimal temperatures for marathon running fall between the low 40s and about 50 degrees. Generally, elite runners tend to do better when temperatures are on the cooler end of that range, while slower runners do best when the mercury is closer to 50 degrees.

Research has also found that temperatures significantly warmer than 50 degrees tend to slow down slower runners, but has less of an effect on elite runners.


Monday will start off mostly sunny with light winds and some clouds moving in later in the afternoon, said Rebecca Gould, a National Weather Service meteorologist.

High temperatures could reach the 70s in parts of the region by Monday afternoon, though Boston and other coastal areas will be cooled by a sea breeze.

For those watching the race from the starting line in Hopkinton, temperatures will be cooler in the morning before they warm up later.

In most communities along the Marathon route, temperatures will hover slightly above 50 degrees around 8 a.m., climbing into the 60s by noon, and quickly reaching the 70s.

By the time runners make it to Wellesley, it will be quite warm, said Matt Doody, a weather service meteorologist. But temperatures will cool down as the runners approach Boston.

“The finish line will likely be cooler than the starting line by late afternoon,” Doody said.

Highs in Boston are expected to reach the low 60s by noon and then dip back into the 50s as a sea breeze moves inland.

Skies will be clear and bright throughout the day.


“It’s going to be warm and almost full sun for most of the morning,” Gould said. “Don’t forget sunscreen.”

Aneri Pattani can be reached at aneri.pattani@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @apattani95.