Top 5 marathons to run in the US
There are so many marathons every year in the United States. It can be hard to decide which ones are the best and which ones are right for you. This list will give you some insight into the most iconic, scenic, and truly memorable marathons in some of the greatest cities in America.
The Boston Marathon has been in existence for 117 years, making it the longest-running marathon in history. Not just anyone can run the Boston Marathon. You have to qualify by running a qualifying marathon in a certain time based on your age bracket.
Boston Marathon route
The course begins in Hopkington. It meanders through eight different towns and finishes in the heart of Boston’s downtown financial district at Copley Square. The Boston Marathon is known for its hills. Most notably, “heartbreak hill” with a climb of 88 vertical feet. It is considered one of the biggest hurdles to completing the marathon.
In 2018, 25,831 finished the race. One really cool tradition that dates back to 1903, the Boston Red Sox play a home game at the Fenway Park, starting at 11:05 AM. After the game, the Red Sox players and fans switch gears to cheer on runners at the end of the race. The Boston Marathon is definitely a bucket list marathon.
The New York City Marathon
The New York City Marathon course takes in all five New York boroughs. The race begins on Staten Island then to Brooklyn through Queens than to the Bronx and finishing in the heart of Central Park in Manhattan. One of the best parts about the marathon is the tour of the many different sites of the city. The many different villages you’ll encounter give you a unique cultural feel and experience.
New York Marathon, seeing the city
Running the New York City Marathon is a view into the history of many of our ancestors who came to America to find liberty. Founded in 1970, the NYC Marathon is not the oldest race in the country, but it is one of the largest. There was an estimated 50,761 finishers in 2017. Should you run the NYC Marathon? Fuggedaboutit.
The Chicago Marathon is one of my personal favorites. This flat course is held in downtown Chicago, which gives you a nice tour of the “Windy City.” The course goes through 29 different cultural neighborhoods including Wrigley Field, the United Center, and US Cellular Field, and then ends in Grant Park. After the race, there is a huge party in Grant Park’s Butler with food, entertainment, and lots of beverages.
Chicago Marathons fun facts
One interesting thing I found while running the Chicago Marathon was the free beer that was handed out at miles 18, 19, and 20. I guess to keep the runners well hydrated. I ran the race in 2003. There were rumored to be close to 1 million spectators throughout the race, lining the course cheering on the runners. It is a huge race, in 2017 there were 44,508 finishers. I love the city of Chicago, it’s my kind of town. I highly recommend you run the Chicago Marathon sometime in your life. You will not regret it.
Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Marathon
San Diego is one of my favorite places in the US. The temperature is always 76 degrees, the beach is beautiful and it’s not as crowded as Los Angeles. You know what else they’ve got in San Diego, a Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon. There’s nothing better than some rock bands to get you moving through the San Diego Marathon course. The Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon series is now in 30 different cities across the US and abroad. Past rock ‘n’ roll headliners are big names like Macklemore, Fitz, and the Tantrums, Everclear, and many many more.
San Diego Marathons course route
The San Diego Marathon course starts in Balboa Park. It weaves its way through the Hillcrest, North Park, and Mission Hills neighborhoods. The race concludes with a downhill finish at Waterfront Park. For a great themed race in one of America’s greatest cities check out the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Marathon.
Marine Corps Marathon
The Marine Corps Marathon is at the top of many marathon lists. It’s currently the 4th largest marathon in the US and 9th largest in the world with close to 30,000 finishers in 2017. The mission of the race is to promote physical fitness, generate goodwill in the community, and showcase the organizational skills of the United States Marine Corps. Commonly known as “the people’s marathon,” the Marine Corps Marathon is open to all runners ages 14 and up and is the largest marathon that does not offer prize money to the winners.
The Marine Corps Marathons course route
Hosted in the nation’s capital, the Marine Corps marathon starting line is situated between the Pentagon and Arlington National Cemetery. The course takes in many memorable sights including the Lincoln Memorial, Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial, Jefferson Memorial, and the Washington Monument. The final stretch is an uphill challenge finishing at the Marine Corps War Memorial. Upon finishing the race, beaming with patriotic pride, runners can reflect on the sacrifice of many fallen Marines in front of the statue depicting the raising the US flag on Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima. For anyone who wants to combine the challenge of marathoning with many of the sights reflecting the deep history of the United States, The Marine Corps Marathon should top your list. Semper Fi.
Best US marathons
These top 5 US marathons offer great variety. They allow any runner the opportunity to see and experience the beauty and diversity of 5 major cities. Running all 5 marathons may take a lifetime to accomplish. Running these races would be well worth the sacrifice as you look back on the great memories it created.