Friday, February 10, 2006


The sign reads "Welcome to Hopkinton. It all starts here." You'll see it on Marathon day on the Hopkinton green inviting runners to strike a pose in front of it, smile, and have a friend take a snapshot.

But the Boston Marathon didn't always start in Hopkinton. Instead, the town of Ashland was the first to hold the honor of sending off runners on their journey to Boston. The site of Metcalf's Mill in Ashland is where it really all started in 1897. Fifteen runners started from the mill and 10 brave souls finished the 24.5-mile (not 26.2) trek to Boston.

The mill burned down in the 1930s and nothing has been put up in its place. There's no sign or plaque to commemorate the place where a great tradition started over a century ago.

Since 1924, the Boston Marathon has started in Hopkinton.