Boston Marathon

The Background

For nearly 120 years, the Boston Marathon has been a destination and proving ground for runners around the world, and where a city’s residents hit the streets every April to cheer on friends and strangers looking to test themselves over a challenging 26.2 miles. The event hosts an estimated 30,000 runners, thousands of volunteers, more than one million spectators, and countless TV viewers -- a massive logistical challenge for the Boston Athletic Association (BAA) to work through every year.

Visibility is a major component of any event with that many eyes (and feet) on it which means high-impact signage. However, that’s not as simple as just shipping off a few 10-foot banners and calling it a day. There’s production, installation, and disassembly of several thousand pieces of signage along the 26-mile commercial and residential race route, and with Boston weather at its most unpredictable in April, the durability of that signage is also paramount.

After working with another vendor, BAA turned to AMI Graphics, thanks in most part to a solid reputation forged by work done for the U.S. Olympic Committee. Seven years later, the BAA has continued to rely on AMI Graphics to deliver a transformation of one of Boston’s busiest areas into one of the world’s most preeminent marathons...and then back again without a trace.

The Work

Planning for the Marathon begins 5-6 months in advance with up to 24 AMI personnel working toward four days of execution that encompasses setup to breakdown. It requires an attention to detail that you’d expect from the runners themselves: a fast pace, constant adjustments, tight setup times, and, again, working with that unpredictable weather.

Over the four days, the branding, sponsor, and wayfinding signage that utilizes a variety of materials and applications is not only used for Marathon Monday, but also for ancillary events during the week like the 5k, Expo, Kids’ Fun Run, Invitational Mile, and pre and post-race parties. Custom-made cloth, mesh, and vinyl banners, A frames, event towers, media backdrops, pole wraps, wayfinding, mile markers, timing clock signage, and more have to hold up through any kind of conditions which include "spirited" college students and spectators!

The Results

Over the past seven years, AMI has met the BAA’s high expectations for overall service, production, and support, leading to a deepened engagement in the future.

“For us, it is not just about the printing or the selection of print options. It is much more about the relationship, client/customer rapport, and the ability to get things done on short lead time with a quick turnaround and under stressful situations,” BAA Marketing & Coordination Director Jack Flemming said.

That level of confidence from the BAA continues to empower AMI Graphics to deliver that same consistent delivery of quality and satisfaction for all of their clients, something they’ve done for nearly two decades.