Marathon Detailed Course Description
Hi Runners –
This is a description of the
Baystate Marathon Course. You can use this description
to plan your race day, or perhaps you will join the hundreds
of other runners who use the Baystate course as a training
route. Either way – this will help you prepare.
The marathon starts in historic
downtown Lowell near the corner of French St and John St.
There is a parking garage right on the corner, and if you
are training on the course, this is a good place to park.
Mile 1 and the Start
The start line (starting in 2011)
is in front of the UML Tsongas Center at the intersection of
Fr Morissette Blvd and Arcand Drive. The race starts
on Fr Morissette. The Marathon Start line is on the
side of the road (looking west). Before race day it
might be a bit faded (we repaint it each year, but heavy
traffic wears on it). If you don't see it - just use
the crosswalk - it's close enough.
On race day the sun will be at our
backs, and the race will start by running west on Fr Morissette Blvd
which turns into Pawtucket
St. In the first tenth of a mile, we pass
the Post Office (on the right) and we shortly cross the first of the famous
Lowell canals – in this case it’s the Western Canal and it's
junction with the Northern Canal. From here the
Northern Canal runs along the course on the right. At about
.6 miles the road starts to bend to the
right, the canal empties into the Merrimack River, and we
pass the University Ave Bridge (aka The Textile Bridge).
At about .9 miles you
cross School St (and the south end
of the O’Donnell Bridge).
In another tenth of a mile we will pass the 1 Mile marker.
A word about the Marathon Road
Markers: Every marker is a 2 foot white square with a blue
mile number in the center. There are also 10K markers, a
half-way and a 1 mile to go maker. On race day sign
boards are setup to make the splits more visible.
After Mile 1, in about a tenth,
you cross the Pawtucket
Canal (yeah – we’ve got a lot of canals). On your
right you can just make out the top of the Pawtucket Falls.
Right away you come to John Sheely Park on your right.
In a little less than half a mile you will come to the first
water stop on the course. It is directly across the
street from the Lowell Humane Society on the left side of
the street (you might hear the dogs barking). Now the
course bends a bit to the left and you ascend a gradual hill
(one of the few on the course) to cross the old B&M rail
line. On the other side of the bridge is the 2 Mile marker
and the road changes becomes Middlesex St.
Mile 3 & 4
Here we enter the Middlesex St Commercial district.
In a little less than one mile we cross Wood St and the
south side of the Rourke Bridge. After the CVS
store on the right
we come to the Mill View Estates
on the right, notable because of it’s fancy brick wall and
its name emblazoned on it. Here we find the
3 Mile marker (also here
is the half-way marker – but we’ll come back to that).
Just past the end of the wall we will turn left onto Broulette St (also shown as Grosvenor St on many maps – one
end of this street is in Lowell and the other end is in
Chelmsford – hence the name confusion). At the other
end of the street we will turn right again onto Princeton
St. We are now in Chelmsford.
In just over half a mile Princeton
St will descend a gentle grade. At the start of the
grade is the Glenview Restaurant and the site of your second
water stop. The road bends to the left and then the
right to join
Route 4 from Drum Hill. On your right will be the
PetroPlus gas station.
Miles 5 to 8
We’ll now be on a 4 plus mile
north-west run to the Tyngsboro Bridge. Before we get
there, in 4 tenths of a mile we’ll cross the B&M Rail line
(again) and another minor hill. In another 3 tenths we come
to Vinal Square in North Chelmsford. 3 tenths after
the square, we are at the 5 Mile marker and well on our way
At about 5.8 miles is the 3rd
water stop. You are now getting glimpses of the
Merrimack River on your right. About 2 tenths past the
7 Mile marker is the 4th
water stop. The Tyngsboro Bridge is now very visible
ahead of you. You turn right onto the pedestrian walk along
the bridge (so you don’t have to cross any traffic).
After you cross the river, you immediately turn right and head
south-east back towards Lowell. There is a carpet
wholesale store on your right.
About a tenth of a mile after the
bridge is the 8 mile mark.
Miles 9 to 12
At about 8.8 miles, across from
the Tyngsboro Country Club is your 5th
water stop. At about 10.4 miles is the 6th
water stop where you will pass the Greater Lowell Vocational
High School on your left. You might not realize it as
you run – but you’ve actually been going down a gentle grade
for 2 miles (don’t believe me – try it backwards someday).
We continue our run back to
Lowell, crossing the town line shortly before the 11 Mile
marker. We continue east to the Rourke Bridge at about
12.4 miles. Just before the bridge will be your 7th
water stop. At the Rourke Bridge we turn right onto
the bridge. On race day the bridge is closed to
traffic and you’ll run in the travel lane. On other days
use the pedestrian walk on the right.
Mile 13 and the second loop –
Miles 14 to 22
After we descend the other side of
the bridge we turn right back
onto Pawtucket St to begin our second loop. Shortly
after we pass
the CVS on our right, we celebrate having completed half the
From here we run the same loop we
did the first time. The loop is about 10.1 miles, so
the second loop markers (miles 14 to 22) are about one tenth
of a mile before the first loop markers (you probably
already noticed that).
Mile 23 and the run to the UML
At about 22.5 miles we come to
the Rourke Bridge for the 3rd
and final time. We go straight east. Just ahead,
on the right is the UML Bellegade Boathouse (home of the UML
rowing team) and we pass the 23 Mile marker.
We pass the Sampras Pavillion and
bathhouse on the right (during most of the year - the
bathrooms are open). At about 23.6 we come to
yet another water stop (the next to last stop) and the
Pawtucket Falls are now visible on our right. We begin
a gentle grade as we near the falls. We cross Mammoth
Rd and the O’Donnell Bridge and start a final hill – it’s
not steep and only lasts a quarter of a mile. Then we
cross University Ave (and pass the north end of the Textile
Bridge). From here we cruise down a welcome downhill
that is not steep – but just right – a chance to let gravity
help while you relax those tight muscles. As we
flatten out we see the UML athletic fields
across the way on the left. As the road starts
bending to the right - we see the 25 Mile marker. As
we go around the bend, we cross
Beaver Brook empting into the
past this brook is the final water stop and the 1 Mile to Go
At about 25.4 miles
we see the Aiken St Bridge (aka
Ouelette Bridge). We turn right and head for LeLacheur
Park (home of the Red Sox affiliate the Lowell Spinners).
At LeLacheur Park we
turn left onto Perkins Street
and pass along the historic mill buildings - now home to
condo owners who have a beautiful view of the river (and
today the race). In less than a quarter mile the road
turns right and we are in the final stages - as pass along
the west side of the Tsongas Arena. A short distance
Fr Morissette Blvd (where you
started almost 26 miles ago). It's time to gather your
remaining strength to turn left on Fr Morissette and then
it's left again on Martin Luther King Drive and now you see
the finish line just ahead - it's only 100 yards (or so
away) - and now you're finished!
Go head to grass behind the Tsongas and get
yourself some well earned Chicken Soup!