courtesy Garmin

Boston’s 3 Most Legendary Downhills, Named

You’ve heard of the Newton Hills— Moguls. Heartbreak? A molehill. The big hills of the Boston Marathon go down, and until now, they didn't have names.


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You’ve heard of the Newton Hills— Moguls. Heartbreak? A molehill.

The big hills of Boston go down. And while the uphills get all the respect, the downhills make or break your race in the end. Here are the three significant downhill sections of the historic course and our suggested names for them.

photo: 101 Degrees West

Suicide Slope

Mile Marker: Start line

Length of Hill: 3.85 miles

Total descent: 277 feet

Average grade: -1.4%

From the crazy first half mile (ranging from 4 to 9% grade drop), the Boston course rolls unrelentingly downward for nearly four miles. After a small uphill (37 feet, 1.8% grade) in mile 5, it levels off somewhat, losing only 80 feet over the next 10 miles.

photo: 101 Degrees West

The Fall from Wellesley

Mile Marker: 15.4

Length of Hill: .43 miles

Total Descent: 81 feet

Average grade: -4.3%

As the heady cheers from Wellesley College fade away, the ground falls away to the upper Charles River in the steepest descent since the first half mile. The downhill does its final punishment while hastening runners across the river to Newton Lower Falls and the famed Newton Hills.

photo: 101 Degrees West

Quadbreak Hill

Mile Marker: 21

Length of Hill: 3.5 miles

Total Descent: 209 feet

Average Grade: -1.2%

After cresting Heartbreak, the course plummets down the backside beside Boston College and the reservoir. It keeps descending for three and a half miles, with a few small rolling ascents. Depending on how you ran the early miles, these final descents come as either a welcome chance to fly home, or a quad-pounding insult added to injured legs.

Data from Garmin:


From PodiumRunner