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Of Course the Entire Boston Marathon Is One Big, Nasty Strava Segment

Will we see a new CR at this year's edition? And we take a deeper look at the Heartbreak Hill leaderboard (which is bananas)

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We’ve all heard it, Strava or it didn’t happen.”

Putting up a killer Strava segment is the holy grail for endurance athletes. The app’s ability to track the training and race performance of anyone from your neighbor’s aunt to the most elite runners in the world has made it the social media of choice for runners.

With the 2024 Boston Marathon around the corner, we take a look at the course and athletes taking part in the race from Strava’s point of view.

The Elites Of Strava Taking On Boston

John Korir

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Korir’s Resume and Last Four Weeks:

  • 🥇 LA Marathon, 2022, 2021
  • 🥈 RAK Half Marathon, 2024
  • 🥈 Chicago Marathon, 2022
  • 4th Chicago Marathon, 2023
  • 🥈 Ottawa Marathon, 2018
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Emma Spencer

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Spencer’s Resume and Last Four Weeks:

  • 🥇 Running of The Bulls 8K, 2021
  • 18th Boston Marathon, 2021
  • 17th B.A.A. 5K, 2022
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CJ Albertson

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Albertson’s Resume and Last Four Weeks:

  • 5th U.S. Olympic Team Trials Marathon, 2024
  • 🥇 California International Marathon, 2023
  • 🥇 Maraton Baja California, 2023
  • 12th Boston Marathon, 2023
  • 10th Boston Marathon, 2021
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Boston Marathon Segment

Yes, as you may (or may not have) assumed, there is a Strava segment for the entire Boston Marathon. And as you can also guess, pretty much every position on the leaderboard, through the thousands of pages, is from marathon day itself.

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However, if you filter the leaderboard to “this year,” you will see that three people got a jumpstart on the whole Patriot’s Day experience by running the segment (aka the entire Boston course) just for the fun of it.

Topping the 2024 list is some guy named John Bachman, who, by the looks of things, does an “Annual Dry Run” every year before the Boston Marathon.

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Clocking a respectable 3:10:43 (4:31/km pace) on March 10, 2024, Bachman captioned his run with, “Wasn’t aiming to go too fast, but settled into a sub 7:20 rhythm early on and stayed with it. Wasn’t super-hard but wasn’t exactly easy either. Faster than last year for both moving and elapsed time.”

Alongside Bachman, Andre Pizzinato and Patrick Oborn both completed the course this year in 3:53:01 and 4:29:13, respectively.

The CR for the segment on Strava is different from the true Boston Marathon course record, presumably because not everyone who runs the race uploads or even has Strava.

The men’s CR for the entire Boston segment is currently held by Scott Fauble when he ran the race in 2019 and sits at 2:07:41 (that’s 4:53/mile pace for us mere mortals).

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The women’s CR is currently held by Emma Bates when she placed fifth last year, with a Strava time of 2:20:31 (5:22/mile pace 🔥).

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Geoffrey Mutai and Buzunesh Deba hold the Boston Marathon’s actual course records. Mutai won the 2011 race with a time of 2:03:02 (during a year with a legendary tailwind and perfect conditions), and Deba won in 2014 with a time of 2:19:59, making her the only woman to have ever cracked 2:20 on the tricky segment… er, course.

The Heartbreak Hill Segment

Heartbreak Hill is probably the most iconic incline in the world. The half-mile stretch of road earned its nickname as it became renowned for being the undoing of many runners, elite and recreational alike, each year. It ascends to its peak just beyond the outskirts of Boston before flattening out and gently sloping downward toward the city center.

And, more importantly, it’s the ultimate flex on Strava.

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Heartbreak Hill comes in the latter half of the race after your legs have already been pounding for miles, making it all the more challenging.

Unlike the full Boston Marathon segment, a 1.20km Heartbreak stretch is much easier to hunt than a 42.195km segment. As a result, the segment leaderboard for Heartbreak Hill is topped by elite athletes doing workouts, course recon, and segment hunters seeking glory.

Currently, the leaderboard is topped by Olympic Marathon Trials winner Conner Mantz. On Feb. 10, 2023, Mantz completed a 3×3 mile workout up Heartbreak Hill, clocking a segment time of 3:37 (3:00/km).

And he wasn’t even wearing super shoes. Kudos to the power of Kudos, Mr. Mantz.

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On the women’s side, Emma Bates holds the CR from her standout 2023 Boston performance, completing the segment in 4:13 (3:30/km).

What may be even more impressive than the speed at which the elite runners complete Heartbreak Hill once is the sheer number of times our Local Legend has completed it.

Within the last 90 days, Brody Whetzel has completed Heartbreak Hill a whopping 41 times. That’s nearly once every other day. That’s more than a marathon’s worth of Heartbreak Hill climbing. Local legend indeed.

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Photo of author
Jessy has been active her whole life, competing in cross-country, track running, and soccer throughout her undergrad. She pivoted to road cycling after completing her Bachelor of Kinesiology with Nutrition from Acadia University. Jessy is currently a professional road cyclist living and training in Spain.

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