Running- it’s in your blood. The thrill that reverberates through your body when you beat a personal record, the feel of the wind brushing against your cheeks-- these things fuel your passion and drive you forward towards your goals. Whether you just want to challenge yourself, you’re a seasoned marathon runner, or it’s a goal you’ve had on your vision board for a while, a marathon can be an exciting way to step out of your comfort zone and connect with other fellow runners. Here are the top 10 marathons every runner should give a go.
(1) Boston Marathon- Revered not only as the world’s oldest marathon but also one of the most challenging, this race attracts runners from all over the world. Though in recent years, acceptance into the race based on qualifying times has grown increasingly difficult as there are usually more applicants than spaces available.
Held every Patriot’s Day, the course has long been considered a beast to even the most experienced runners. Passing through eight cities, the course features both significant downhill descents and uphill climbs. If you plan to undertake this race, ensure your training regime focuses on stamina, endurance, and proper pacing.
(2) San Diego Rock N Roll Marathon: Boasting both a full and a half marathon, this race offers some of the most beautiful views in San Diego. The race begins near Balboa Park and passes through sites like the San Diego Zoo and SeaWorld. The excitement of the race is felt by those all around, as live music and cheering fans sprinkle throughout to encourage runners on. Held early summer, the mild temperature, stunning views, and thrilling environment make this marathon one you don’t want to miss.
(3) Roads to Rhodes Marathon Greece: With astounding views and an aura of ancient history, this marathon is every runner’s dream! Positioned along the
coastline near the endlessly blue Aegean sea, runners pass by the ancient walls of the city of Rhodes. With various options like a 5k, 10k, and 1000m children’s, runners of all skill levels and ages can enjoy the beautiful sights. To sweeten the appeal even more, a free pasta party is hosted the night before the race allowing runners to mingle and wind down before the marathon commences.
(4) San Francisco Full Marathon: Take a tour of the city by the bay-- while running of course! Runners start at the intersection of Mission Street and the Embarcadero waterfront at 5:30 AM sharp. The course takes runners across the historic Golden Gate Bridge , through Golden Gate Park, and passes by AT&T Park, the home of the San Francisco Giants. Runners who are up for the challenge and feeling charitable are welcome to participate in the Ultra portion of the course, running the marathon in reverse at the stroke of midnight.
(5) TCS New York City Marathon: This world famous marathon attracts a record-breaking number of runners from around the globe since its start in 1970. In fact, the race gets so many applicants that it utilizes a lottery system to select its runners each year. Weaving through key cities like Staten Island, Brooklyn, and Harlem, marathon runners are afforded spectacular views as they cross 2 bridges along the route. This year, the marathon will be held the first Sunday of November.
(6) The Paris Marathon: Winding right through the center of Paris, this marathon is perhaps one of the most popular running events in Europe. The route starts on the Avenue des Champs-Elysees, passes through the city’s center, and ends on Avenue Foch, while allowing runners views of the Louvre and Eiffel Tower. Held every April typically on a Sunday, this marathon cuts off its runner count at 50,000 so make sure you get your entry in quickly!
(7) The L.A. Marathon: Though the starting and ending points of this race have changed several times over the year, this marathon undoubtedly gives runners the chance to explore the various landmarks Los Angeles has to offer. Beginning at Dodgers Stadium, the marathon’s route winds through downtown L.A., Hollywood, and other visually stunning sites before its completion at the Santa Monica Pier-- “from the stadium to the sea” as the marathon tagline proudly announces. The variety of landmarks runners get to view makes this marathon both a unique and exhilarating experience.
(8) Walt Disney World Marathon: Don your Mickey ears and head to sunny Orlando, Florida for a weekend of fun and sun! Disney spirit abounds as this race attracts Disney lovers and runners alike from all over. With a variety of events with quirky character themes like the Dopey and Castaway Cay challenges, endless entertainment, and an honorary medal awarded at the marathon’s end, this event is ideal for even the novice runner.
(9) Reggae Marathon Jamaica: Reggae and running-- what a perfect combination! The stunning sandy beach in Negril is the idyllic backdrop for a marathon. The flat landscape is beginner friendly, the island vibes are intoxicating, and the weather is absolutely perfect. The thumping of upbeat reggae music spurs runners onward toward their goal. And not to be unmatched by Paris, the Reggae Marathon boasts its own pasta party as well!
(10) Marathon Bahamas: Only 10 years old, this fairly new marathon is held in Nassau, the capital of the Bahamas. You won’t tire of the stretches of ocean views as you meander through the streets of historic Nassau, cross over two Paradise Island bridges, and complete the marathon with yet another breathtaking oceanfront view. Considered more easygoing due to the mostly flattened course, this race can catapult you as a qualifier for the Boston Marathon if that is your end goal.
If you have marathons on your mind, there are so many options to fit your needs. No matter which you choose, you will nonetheless have an unforgettable experience to carry with you on your morning runs.