Marathons in the U.S.


3 minutes

Some of the greatest marathons in the world happen in the U.S. and in this blog we want to highlight some of the biggest and most popular. This year the TCS New York City marathon is Sunday, November 2nd. Come cheer on the runners as they take the streets of New York in this citywide race! Click here for the spectator guide.

City: New York City, NY
Finishers in 2013: 50,000+
Time of year: First Sunday in November

The New York City marathon is the largest marathon in the world. People come from all over the world to run this incredible race. Runners start in Staten Island and race through all five boroughs of the city to finish in iconic Central Park. The race is organized by New York Road Runners and has been run every year since 1970, with the exception of 2012, due to Hurricane Sandy. The NYC marathon is one of only two marathons to get national television coverage.

Boston Marathon

City: Boston, MA
Finishers in 2014: 30,000+
Time of year: Third Monday of April, on Patriots' Day

The Boston marathon is the world's oldest annual marathon, and it is considered by most to be the most legendary. Inspired by the success of the first modern-day marathon competition in the 1896 Summer Olympics, the first Boston marathon was held in 1897. To run the Boston marathon, runners must meet certain qualifying standards. For many marathoners, to finish a marathon in a Boston-qualifying time is a goal and achievement in itself.

Marine Corps Marathon

City: Arlington, VA and Washington, DC
Finishers in 2013: 20,000+
Time of year: Final Sunday in October

The Marine Corps marathon is the third largest marathon in the United States, and the largest marathon to not offer prize money. Known as "The People's Marathon", the marathon was originally proposed in 1975 to promote goodwill between the military and the post-Vietnam community. The first marathon took runners around northern Virginia and finished at the Marine Corps War Memorial. The course today also takes runners past key landmarks in Washington, DC while still maintaining the traditional finish at the Marine Corps War Memorial.

City: Chicago, IL
Finishers in 2013: Almost 40,000
Time of year: Mid-October

The Chicago marathon course is considered to be the best course for a personal record because it is very flat. Despite the marathon's size, the loop-course is also very accessible for runners with simple start and finish logistics and being within walking distance to hotels. As a result, runners often feel very relaxed participating in the Chicago marathon. There are no qualifications required to participate in the Chicago marathon, participation is determined on a first-come, first-serve basis.  The course takes runners past the big sporting stadiums in Chicago: Wrigley Field near the north part of the course, the United Center to the west, the U.S. Cellular Field to the south, and Soldier Field near the start and finish.

Honolulu Marathon

City: Honolulu, HI
Finishers in 2013: 22,000+
Time of year: Second Sunday in December

A marathon in Hawaii? Need we say more? This is the best destination marathon, and many people choose the Honolulu marathon to be their first. Despite the race occurring in December, the course features white sand, warm temperatures, and the sound of waves lapping against the shore. With the title sponsor being Japan Airlines, the Honolulu marathon welcomes many visitors from Japan. In fact, in recent years, the majority of participants have been visitors from Japan!

Other Notable Marathons in the U.S.:

  • Los Angeles Marathon: Feel like a celebrity as you run past a famous landmark at every mile, and take in the glitz, glamour and paparazzi of LA.
  • Big Sur Marathon: Considered to be the most scenic marathon in the U.S., the course takes runners down the northern coastline of California.
  • Walt Disney World Marathon: Feel like a kid again as you run in the "Happiest Place on Earth", through castles and alongside famous Disney characters.
  • Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon: The Twin Cities marathon claims to be the "most scenic urban marathon" in the U.S., and the course definitely does not disappoint. From pristine neighborhoods to the banks of the Mississippi, the point-to-point course gives runners some of the best views of the Twin Cities.
  • Rock 'n' Roll San Diego Marathon: The birthplace of the Rock 'n' Roll series, runners rock out during the marathon course and then enjoy a sand, surf and sun-filled recovery.
Ani Kington Ani Kington

Originally from Columbus, Ohio, Ani is a fan of exploring new places through photography and the local cuisine. After earning her BFA in photography from NYU and gaining communications experience at International Planned Parenthood Federation, she joined InterExchange in 2012, and worked as the Marketing Producer until 2016.

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