There are those who don’t let a little cold weather keep them from gearing up and hitting the pavement regularly for a run. Still, when the weather starts to warm up come, expert and novice runners alike begin coming out in even larger numbers to participate in spring races across the country. If you’re getting ready to tackle a marathon this season, whether it’ll be your first or you’re a marathon veteran, check out some of our top marathon picks around the country to consider for your next race.
Location: Charlottesville, Virginia
Date: April 1, 2017
You’ve heard about destination weddings, but how about a nice destination marathon? As one of the oldest and most popular races in Charlottesville, the race has been dubbed just that – a destination marathon – thanks to the scenic beauty of the course. The race starts and finishes at the historic Court Square, and takes runners along some of the most beautiful – not to mention historical – sights around the town, including the banks of the Rivanna River, Jefferson’s Rotunda, and the University of Virginia.
Location: Hopkinton, Massachusetts
Date: April 17, 2017
When it comes to spring races, it’s safe to say that Boston is in the big leagues. For starters, the Boston Marathon is the oldest annual race around, which has earned it quite a bit of prestige over the years. So much so, in fact, that race day has come to feel like more of a holiday in the city, where spectators come out in the hundreds of thousands to watch over 30,000 runners make their way from rural Hopkinton, to Wellesley, to the infamous Heartbreak Hill, and finally to the finish line at Boylston Street in Copley Square. There’s also the little thing about qualifying – in order to participate, runners must prove that they meet certain speed requirements, at which point they will be considered (though not guaranteed a spot) for the race.
Location: Carmel, California
Date: April 30, 2017
Another “destination marathon” of sorts, Big Sur International Marathon is famous for not only being the biggest rural marathon in the world, but for having some of the most stunning views along the way. Seeing as how the race follows along America’s first scenic highway, Highway One, Big Sur International Marathon takes runners through a ton of iconic spots, including encounters with seven California State Parks, passes through the Redwoods, and frequent sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean.
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
Date: May 7, 2017
Pigs have a long history in Cincinnati – they once play such a key role in commerce that the city came to be known as “Porkopolis” – so it’s no wonder that the city’s annual marathon would take the name of its signature farm animal. With about 30,000 participants or more annually, the Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon follows a course that goes – or rather, flies – through Cincinnati, through surrounding neighborhoods, and over the Ohio River.
Location: Shiprock, New Mexico
Date: May 13, 2017
While this is a relatively smaller marathon than others on the list – the race typically has about 1,500 runners – it is by no means the dullest. The race, which actually starts near the Red Valley and finishes in Shiprock, follows a point-to-point course that almost always leaves runners with a clear view of Tsé Bit’a’í, the 27-million year old remnant of an extinct volcano. For this race, all proceeds go to NavajoYES, an organization focused on fitness initiatives and youth empowerment in communities across Dine’ Bikeyah.
Location: Carrabassett Valley, Maine
Date: May 21, 2017
As the oldest continually-run marathon in Maine, the Sugarloaf Marathon has garnered quite a bit of popularity over the years, in large part thanks to the breathtaking mountain views it offers runners along Maine’s scenic Route 27 highway. But despite taking place in a pretty mountainous region, this marathon is surprisingly less strenuous than one might expect, since a big portion of the race – the final 16 miles, to be exact – goes downhill as opposed to up.