NATICK – Through fundraising and the cheers of residents, the town of Natick embraces the spirit of the Boston Marathon. The marathon route through Natick covers 4.2 miles in the town’s sections of West Natick and Natick Center. The route through town includes part of Mile 8, all of Miles 9, 10, and 11, and most of Mile 12.

A highlight of the course for both runners and supporters is the Town Center in the Henry Wilson Historic District. Many of the town’s 33,000 residents pack the square, located just beyond the Mile 10 marker, to applaud the runners.

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Natick residents who are running the Boston Marathon can support several community programs. For 2014, the town selected nine charities as beneficiaries: Natick Community Organic Farm, Kids Connect, and Natick Education Foundation (assistance for local youth); Natick Service Council (for economically disadvantaged residents);, Embrace a Family and the Michael Lisnow Respite Center (to help with non-medical expenses for families dealing with cancer or respite services); Marine Corps League-Metrowest Detachment 1037, and the Brian Mecisaac Sarcoma Foundation and Matty Eappen Foundation (prevention and awareness campaigns). Each runner is expected to raise at least $4,000 in support of one of these programs; interested runners should apply directly with the charities they wish to support.

(Credit, Lisa Plotnick)

(Credit, Lisa Plotnick)

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Aside from the Boston Marathon, Natick has two key claims to fame. The first baseball production factory was located here starting in the 1850s (the building was converted to condominiums in the 1990s). And Henry Wilson, for whom the Natick Center Historic District is named, served as vice president of the U.S. under Ulysses Grant. A shoe shop that was once operated by Wilson is located on the Marathon route between Stacey and Mill Streets.

The town of Natick is located in Middlesex County, approximately 15 miles west of Boston. It shares its borders with Sherborn to the southwest, Framingham to the west, Wayland to the north, Weston to the northeast, Wellesley to the east, and Dover to the south. The 16.1-square-mile town was founded in 1651 by Puritan missionaries and incorporated as a town in 1781.

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Lisa Plotnick is a Boston-based writer and editor who is passionate about travel, whether locally or internationally. After a 25-year career in financial services, she is turning her avocation into a vocation. Her work may be found on