If you’re already into running marathons, or just thinking about running one in the United States, then you’re in for a real treat. The U.S. has an abundance of marathons for all different levels… in every state.
Marathons are a big deal. So big of a deal, in fact, that many people attend them as spectators to offer support to the runners. Marathons are a fun and exciting event, and finishing a marathon, no matter how long it takes, can be one of the most rewarding things you’ll ever experience.
Running a marathon can be a major accomplishment in life.
It can be very exhilarating and help you to achieve a very natural, satisfying high. Runners also find participating in marathons appealing because of the challenge involved, which increases ten-fold if a marathon is won.
Another appealing aspect of running marathons is the fact that you get to see places you may have otherwise never visited. Not only do you get to take in the sights of some beautiful and unique areas, but many of today’s marathons have entertaining themes, such as:
Marathons started out many centuries ago, but were often related to wars in the beginning.
Today, marathons have evolved significantly over the years… and now they’re fun, competitive and athletic events that many people look forward to. Many runners look for marathons around the United States, and even around the world, as it enables them to travel and see new places while simultaneously participating in the long race.
Before signing up for any marathon, there are several things that you need to do first.
Ensuring that you carefully assess your skills is important. Running a marathon is hard work and requires you to be in excellent physical condition. Be sure you don’t have any unresolved pain, because the intense training that’s necessary to prepare for a marathon will only increase your pain.
If you’re experiencing chronic pain, it doesn’t mean you can’t run in a marathon… but you do need to see a doctor in order to treat the pain beforehand. You don’t want to injure yourself further and be forced to withdraw.
Another thing that you should do is ensure that you have the time. Training and, subsequently running, a marathon can be time-consuming. In order to be properly prepared, you will need approximately 6-9 hours of training each week.
Then, of course, there’s the day of the actual marathon. If it requires you must travel for it, you should take that time into consideration as well.
If you discover that you can find the time to properly train and participate, then great! Go for it!
Conversely, if you can’t, it doesn’t mean that you can’t ever run a marathon… but just that you’ll have to wait for a better time in your life.
What You'll Learn
- Best Marathons in the US for Beginners
- Best Intermediate Level Marathons in the US
- 12. Indiana Monumental Marathon
- 13. Williams Route 66 Marathon
- 14. Run Crazy Horse Half Marathon
- 15. St. George Marathon
- 16. Freedom’s Run Marathon
- 17. The Maui Paradise Marathon
- 18. Appalachian Series Marathon
- 19. Grand Rapids Marathon
- 20. Trail Marathon
- 21. Rock-n-Roll Seattle Marathon
- 22. Twin Cities Women Run the Cities Marathon
- Best Marathons in the US for Experts
- Final Thoughts on the Best Marathons in the US
Best Marathons in the US for Beginners
Here is a list of the best marathons in the US for beginners:
1. Boston Marathon
Location and Date: Boston, MA, October 11, 2021
The Boston Marathon is one of the most recognized and esteemed marathons to participate in.
2. California International Marathon
Location and Date: Sacramento, CA, December 5, 2021
This is a fast and popular course that provides the benefits of running downhill, which is easier for beginners.
3. Dallas White Rock Marathon
Location and Date: Dallas, TX, December 12, 2021
A great marathon for runners who want to race in a marathon while simultaneously touring the city.
4. Detroit Free Press Marathon
Location and Date: Detroit, MI, October 17, 2021
Tour “The Motor City” as well as Canada while participating in this exciting marathon.
5. Philadelphia Marathon
Location and Date: Philadelphia, PA , November 21, 2021
Take a historic tour of some of the area’s best monuments while running in this marathon.
6. Niagara Falls International Marathon
Location and Date: Niagara Falls, Canada, October 24, 2021
You get to enjoy the breathtaking waterfalls in Niagara Falls, NY as well as Niagara, Canada, while running this popular marathon.
7. New York City Marathon
Location and Date: New York, NY, November 7, 2021
You will love the massive amount of spectator support that you will receive at this marathon, which will take you on an extensive tour of the city, ending in renowned Central Park.
8. Marine Corps Marathon
Location and Date: Washington, D.C., October 31, 2021
This patriotic marathon, often referred to as the “People’s Marathon,” enables runners to enjoy a comprehensive tour of the nation’s capital.
9. Honolulu Marathon
Location and Date: Honolulu, Hawaii, December 12, 2021
This marathon is perfect for those looking to escape the cold, snowy weather and running in beauty and warmth. This is the most low-key marathon, as there is no limit, making it ideal for both runners and walkers.
10. Mountains to Beach Marathon
Location and Date: Ojai, CA, May 2022
This marathon is perfect for novice marathoners, as the course is downhill instead of uphill. Runners must take heed to the heat, however, because even though the race begins at 6:30 in the morning, things heat up pretty fast.
11. Miami Marathon
Location and Date: Miami, FL, February 2022
Beginner-level runners will love this exciting marathon, because not only is the weather pleasant in February, but the views of the area’s gorgeous beaches are amazing. The Miami Marathon offers a full weekend of events, so the entire weekend is sure to be a blast.
Best Intermediate Level Marathons in the US
If you’re not new to marathons and you’re looking for a bit more of a challenge, here is a list of some of the best marathons for those at the intermediate level.
12. Indiana Monumental Marathon
Location and Date: Indianapolis, IN, November 6, 2021
This marathon is one of the most popular in the country due to the beauty of the fall colors that runners (and spectators) get to enjoy throughout the city.
13. Williams Route 66 Marathon
Location and Date: Tulsa, OK, November 2021
This marathon is held the week before Thanksgiving and is jokingly referred to as the “Turkey trot.”
14. Run Crazy Horse Half Marathon
Location and Date: Hill City, SD, October 2021
This marathon includes a combination of uphill and flat terrain and is perfect for those intermediate-level runners.
15. St. George Marathon
Location and Date: St. George, UT, October 2021
Runners refer to this marathon as one of the most popular due to the natural beauty and colors of the leaves during the month of October. While it’s likely too much of a challenge for beginners, this course is perfect for some intermediate and experienced runners.
16. Freedom’s Run Marathon
Location and Date: Sherperdstown, WV, October 2021
Despite the fact that West Virginia has the second highest rate of obesity, this marathon is quite popular. The track is a combination of flatness and downhill, making it perfect for advanced beginners and intermediate-level runners.
17. The Maui Paradise Marathon
Location and Date: Maui, HI; Anytime
This marathon is unique, as it enables runners to schedule their own date and course. Runners love this beautiful course in popular Maui. Runners must also fund their own meals and beverages, as this isn’t your typical marathon.
18. Appalachian Series Marathon
Location and Date: Seneca, SC, October 2021
Runners love the great food after finishing this scenic run.
19. Grand Rapids Marathon
Location and Date: Grand Rapids, MI, October 2021
Enjoy the beautiful colors of the fall leaves as you participate in this annual marathon. You can never predict the weather in October in Michigan, so be sure to be prepared for cold or unseasonably warm weather.
20. Trail Marathon
Location and Date: Pinckney, MI, October 2021
You get to choose between running a half marathon, a marathon, or an ultramarathon in this lovely area in rural Michigan.
21. Rock-n-Roll Seattle Marathon
Location and Date: Seattle, WA, June 2022
Mid-level runners who love rock-n-roll music will love this marathon. Not only are there course challenges appropriate for this running level, but runners get to enjoy live rock-n-roll music throughout their run, as well as a live concert once it’s over. Talk about motivation!
22. Twin Cities Women Run the Cities Marathon
Location and Date: St. Paul, MN, May 2022
This marathon is for female runners who want to celebrate feeling empowered. There are intermediate-level tracks, including other courses for beginners, and even some for experts. Women can choose the length of the marathon they wish to run, depending on their own personal preferences and skill level.
Best Marathons in the US for Experts
If you consider yourself to be an experienced marathon runner, then here is a list of some of the best marathons in the United States for experts:
23. Rocket City Marathon
Location and Date: Huntsville, AL, December 2021
This is one of the most popular marathons in the south and it encourages runners to build “spirit teams” to help support them while they run. Runners and teams always have a blast.
24. Manchester Road Race
Location and Date: Manchester, Connecticut, November 2021
With an average of about 15,000 runners each year, this marathon is the most popular choice in the state of Connecticut.
25. Bank of America Chicago Marathon
Location and Date: Chicago, Il, October 2021
This marathon has often been referred to as one of the most respected marathons in the world. While this course is flat and fast, making it easy for beginners, many of the most elite runners sign up for this marathon due to its high prestige. Every runner wants the opportunity to participate in this marathon at least once.
26. Living History Farms Marathon
Location and Date: Urbandale, IA, November 2021
This marathon is one of the most popular among the more experienced runners. This course is definitely not appropriate for beginners and may even be too much of a challenge for those in the intermediate group due to the rough terrain throughout farmland. You must dodge livestock, farm equipment, and more. These obstacles make the course even more challenging.
27. Bourbon Marathon
Location and Date: Lexington, KY, October 2021
This marathon is definitely not for the faint-of-heart, as the whopping 200 mile-long course can be intimidating. Many experienced runners that finish the Bourbon Marathon thoroughly enjoy the celebratory bourbon that this marathon is known for.
28. JFK 50-Miler
Location and Date: Washington, County, MD, November 2021
This marathon is a definite challenge for expert runners and is considered to be an “ultra marathon.”
29.The MO’Cowbell Marathon
Location and Date: St. Louis, MO, October 2021
This marathon is popular due to its challenging course and cowbell theme, which runners and spectators believe increases the fun of the marathon.
30. Good Life Halfsy
Location and Date: Lincoln, NE, November 2021
Don’t let the fact that this is not a full marathon make you believe it’s an easy course. This marathon is as fun as it is challenging. Make sure you’re well prepared.
31. Las Vegas Rock ‘N Roll Marathon
Location and Date: Las Vegas, NV, November 2021
This marathon is very unique, and not only is there plenty of rock-n-roll music to jam to while running, but the marathon allows runners to run to wedding chapels with their significant others and either get married or renew their wedding vows. Of course, it’s not required to visit any of the wedding chapels, but it’s certainly very popular.
32. Wyoming Marathon
Location and Date: Laramie, Wyoming, May 2022
This marathon’s course consists of many challenging hills that may be difficult for beginners and mid-level runners. Runners love the higher elevation of this location, as well as the beautiful views of this historic Old West town.
33. Walt Disney World Marathon
Location and Date: Orlando, FL, January 2022
If you’re looking for a challenging marathon that is an epic event instead of a mere marathon, then you’ll love this choice. Runners get to enjoy viewing classic Disney characters throughout the race, and each registered runner will receive a personalized bib with their name on it. Beginners and intermediate level runners can run this marathon as well, as there are other courses that are more appropriate for their levels.
Final Thoughts on the Best Marathons in the US
Once you’ve chosen the marathon you’d like to participate in, please don’t forget to acknowledge your supporters. Many of them were with you every step of the way.
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