FRAMINGHAM – The town of Framingham is roughly 20 miles from downtown Boston and it’s known as the the heart of Metrowest. The town is five miles into the Boston Marathon, and the race runners are in Framingham for about two and a half miles before they enter the neighboring town of Natick. Framingham is also one of the more populous and diverse towns that the runners go through before reaching the city, and with over 67,000 residents, it’s the biggest town in the state!
Framingham is a great place to watch the Boston Marathon because instead of taking the crowded T to watch the race downtown, in Cleveland Circle, or in Kenmore Square, fans can take the MBTA commuter rail out to the suburbs instead. Framingham is easily accessible via public transportation, which makes it a popular—but not hectic—place to watch the race. Because this year’s race is expected to be one of the most well-attended in the Boston Marathon’s history (the race may even have more viewers than the 1996 race, which marked the marathon’s 100th anniversary), Framingham may be a more convenient place to watch with family and friends.
The Six Mile Moment
On Marathon Monday, Downtown Framingham is home to the 6 Mile Moment – where the community comes together to celebrate the day and cheer on the runners. The 6 Mile Moment is a family festival with live music, food, face-painting, sign-making and more.
For runners, a significant landmark at the 6.2 mile mark is the Framingham Train Station. An interesting piece of marathon history – in 1907 most runners got stuck here while a train switched tracks. There are tracks in the road for runners to cross, so watch your step.
Another fun Framingham fact: In the 2012 Boston Marathon, the hottest temperature reached 89 degrees in Framingham, the hottest temperature recorded during the race since 1909!
In addition to being a key part of the marathon route, the town is noteworthy for a number of reasons unrelated to the race. In the country’s infancy, Framingham was home to one of the most important patriots in the Revolutionary War – Crispus Attucks. Attucks’ death in the infamous Boston Massacre was a key event that motivated Americans to rally against the British. Later, Framingham sent two companies, or about 130 men, to the nearby Battle of Lexington and Concord. Then, years later, Framingham became one of New England’s leading hubs in the abolitionist movement prior to the Civil War.
Framingham is also widely known for Framingham State University, a public college situated on a 50 acre portion of the town. Founded in 1839, FSU has grown both in size and in reputation, and is currently host to more than six thousand undergrad and graduate students. The university began as an all-women’s school, but started accepting male applicants in the 1960s, and like many colleges that went through this shift, it now has an almost equal student population. Some of Framingham State University’s notable alumni include Charlotte Stearns, the mother of poet T.S. Elliot; Ruth Graves Wakefield, inventor of the Tollhouse chocolate chip cookie; and Christa Corrigan McAuliffe, who died in the crash of the Challenger Space Shuttle in 1986.
Fun Framingham fact: this is also the hometown of comedian Louis CK!
Have you watched the marathon in Framingham? What are your best memories of doing so?
Cameron Bruns is the founder of BostonGreenBlog.com 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 Examiner.com.