Organizers and local residents begged runners in Monday's 2015 Boston Marathon to use public toilets -- not people's yards or sidewalks -- if they need to urinate while running. They were encouraged to use the six sets of portable toilets at mile markers along the 26-mile route. "Please respect the communities through which the Boston Marathon runs by taking advantage of these facilities, if needed,” the Boston Athletic Association wrote on its website.
The marathon begins in Hopkinton, Massachusetts, a Boston suburb of about 14,000 residents. The starting line has been there since 1924, and the locals love it -- mostly. They told Runners World that in the past, when race organizers didn't provide enough toilets, some participants used homeowners' property instead. "In the back of my yard, I have a pool with big trees all around it," resident Karen Terry said, "so women were going back there and there were tampons and everything else back there, because it was secluded.”
Terry said the athletic association has since stepped up its efforts, but Runners World wrote that Massachusetts resident Dale Danahy said she still sees "hundreds of runners using her yard as a toilet each year."
About 30,200 people planned to run in this year's marathon. Last year, about 77 percent of runners told Boston Magazine that they'd urinated between one and three times before the race started. During the marathon, runners who need relief have three options, ESPN's Bill Simmons wrote in his 2009 "Idiot's Guide to the Boston Marathon." They can wait, use a yard or urinate while running.
Once the race begins, runners usually don't encounter lines at the porta-potty.
The athletic association said this year's Boston Marathon has portable toilets at Red Cross and water stations, as well as these locations:
- Mile 3 -- Ashland
- Mile 7 -- Framingham
- Mile 10 -- Natick
- Mile 12 -- Wellesley
- Mile 18 -- Newton
- Mile 23.5 -- Brookline