When it comes to marathons in the USA, we are spoiled for choice. Every marathon offers something special, something that makes it unique and worth checking out. How do you narrow it down to the best of the best? That’s more difficult – it depends on what your goals are and what you enjoy. To help you narrow it down to some great options, we have compiled a list of our favorite choices. We have tried to include a little something for everyone here.
Ready to start training? Let’s see what to train for.
This race, though set in a smaller town, offers a great running experience. There are some prizes to win, but the real prize is that you run along tree-lined avenues and through historic Richmond. There are not as many crowds, so this is perfect for those who want to leave the hustle and bustle behind. Another thing that makes this marathon unique is that there are always a couple of junk food stops along the way. You don’t have to stick to boring old water – you can choose soda, Gummi Bears, pretzels, sweets or cookies.
What could be better than a run through wine country, and then wining and dining as the sun goes down? The race finishes off in town, but most of it is run through the countryside. This is the perfect antidote to a stressful week in the city. What makes this race is unique in that it is well-supported by volunteers. There is on average 1 volunteer for every two competitors.
Okay, so you probably expected this one. It is a highly popular marathon and always well-supported. As one of the premier marathons in the country, and one of the biggest, you can go toe to toe with top-notch international and local runners.
Another thing that makes it unique is that it is one of the best marathons when it comes to audience size. If you want to strut your stuff in front of a few million spectators, this is the right spot for you. You will also stand a chance of getting on TV while running through all five boroughs. Of course, the popularity of the race, and the national TV coverage also make it a favorite for sponsors – there are some of the best prizes on offer here.
This is another marathon that is well-supported. It is a fast-paced marathon and well-supported by runners of all levels. If you are looking for a running buddy, you will find them here. What makes this unique is the central location of the start. Getting to the start is easy – just stroll out of your hotel, and you are there. You don’t have to worry about bussing in, or staying in some temporary set-up that offers none of the comforts at home.
It attracts a vibrant crowd and lots of support. It is simple to get and maintain your stride in this race thanks to the looped course.
Running on sand is great for toning the legs. Relaxing on the beach is great for toning the mind. If you are looking to get away from the icy cold of winter, this is the spot for you. The locals are laid back and friendly, but don’t let that fool you. Prepare yourself for a brutal uphill and some really hard work. The view at the top, however, is well worth the effort. If the run didn’t take your breath away, the view most certainly will. But there is more to this experience than just the run. Prepare yourself for a mishmash of colorful costumes, drums, and roadways lit by burning torches. The scenery is amazing, and so is the vibe around the run. Think fireworks and tons of excitement.
The Colorado scenery is known for its breath-taking beauty and as being the ideal spot to pit yourself against nature. It is a tough race so be prepared. You will probably want to throw in the towel and vow never to come back. But you will do that year after year. If you want bragging rights for one of the toughest races in the country, this is the one for you. Who knows, you might even find yourself battling the snow. Racing in the mountains affords you a unique opportunity to test yourself to the max and see how much of a competitor you really are.
With most races, all you need to do is to pay your entrance fee. Depending on how long the marathon is, you may need to have also competed in a qualifying race. With this marathon, things work a little differently. To gain entry, you have to raise money for one of their predetermined charities in order to gain entry. It’s a great race if you have a more philanthropic nature and want to do some good while running.
This is a big event with a unique twist – the runners get to feel some of the adoration that movie stars do. You get your name in large letters on your bib so that spectators can cheer you on personally. And they do. Throw in the chance of possibly running with a real live Hollywood star, TV coverage and a vibe that is amazing, and you get a taste of what it is like to be on the red carpet.
So, unless you are one of the top runners, the chances are that you are not going to be able to walk away with a lot of loot. The Houston Marathon, however, changes all of that. Your entry fee gets you a T-shirt to train in and a T-shirt for the race.But that isn’t all. Instead of just giving you a medal for finishing, you will get a certificate, breakfast, a sweatshirt and a beer mug. If you are looking for loot, this is the best race option for you.
Well, that’s a total of eight marathons to get you started. There are many more out there, but these represent a range of different options. Which one will you start with?
Jamie is a running addict and gym junkie. He trains 7 days per week and is currently doing an MA in nutrition and sports science