10 Biggest Marathons In The US (Bucket List Races)

Ten Biggest Marathons In The U.S

Running marathons is tough. It takes months of training, lots of dedication, and tons of willpower. But once you’ve trained long enough, you finally get to run the race of your dreams.

There are millions of runners in the United States alone. Many of these runners compete in marathons every year. But not everyone knows WHERE to begin!

I’ve put together a list of 10 big marathons in the US that you can choose from. Each marathon offers something UNIQUE, so you can find the perfect race for you.

However, suppose that the standard marathon distance of 26.2 miles is not challenging enough for you? Then these extreme ultramarathons pose even greater challenges to human endurance.

But let’s get into the list of top marathons:

1. The Boston Marathon

The Boston Marathon is one of the most famous marathons in the world.

It has been run every year since 1897 and is held in April. This race starts at Hopkinton and finishes at Copley Square in Boston.

It’s a tough course, so runners beware, but it is well worth the effort as the route is filled with hills and beautiful scenery along the way. 

The race is also known for its huge crowds of spectators lining the streets, cheering on the runners. 

What makes this race special is that Boston Marathon is an American classic.

Many people who have never even heard of America think they know everything about us.

But we don’t let that stop us from being proud of what we do here.

We love showing off our country and this race is a chance to show off some of the best parts of America. 


2. Chicago Marathon

Chicago is a city located in Illinois, USA. It’s one of America’s major metropolitan areas and is the third-largest city in the state.

It’s famous for its architecture, sports teams, and food. 

If you’re looking for somewhere to go running, this is the place to be if you just can get there. The entry requirements for Chicago Marathon are pretty strict, and you must apply before it gets full.

The Chicago Marathon is held annually in October and is one of the biggest road races in the world. It attracts tens of thousands of runners from all over the globe. 


3. New York City Marathon

New York City is home to one of the biggest cities in the world.

It’s got skyscrapers, parks, beaches, museums, restaurants, theaters, shopping centers…and more. It’s got it all! 

If you live anywhere near NYC then you should definitely consider signing up for this race.

It’s the largest marathon in the United States and attracts thousands of participants each year.


4. Los Angeles Marathon

Los Angeles is a city located in California, USA. It’s the second-largest city in the state and is often referred to as ‘The City Of Angels’. 

This is a really popular marathon and there are many reasons why. Firstly, it’s close to Hollywood which means that celebrities will be out in force.

Secondly, it’s a big city, so there will be plenty of places to eat and drink after the race. Thirdly, it’s a sunny location, so you’ll want to come back for more! 


5. Midnight Sun Marathon 

This is another great marathon in the northeast of America.

It’s held in Fairbanks, Alaska, and is part of the USA Road Racing Championships.

It was established in 2007 and is only open to those aged 18 or older. 

This race is unique because it’s held during the winter months.

This means that it’s cold, dark, and freezing! And yet everyone still runs it.

Why? Because it’s fun! It’s not just a race; it’s an adventure. You’ll need to prepare for this race by packing warm clothes and layers. 

There are no roads to follow, so you’ll need to rely on snowmobiles and sleds to get around.

It’s a lot harder than you’d expect though and you’ll need to train hard before you attempt to complete this race. 


6. St. George Marathon

St. George is a town located in Utah, USA. It’s known as the “Cradle of Mormonism” due to the fact that it was founded by members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. 

This is a very beautiful area with lots of lovely scenery and amazing views.

If you like mountains, forests, lakes, rivers, deserts, and canyons, then this is the place for you. It’s also one of the most historic locations in the United States. 

It’s a good idea to do some research about the course beforehand. Many people run this race every year but it’s quite hilly.

So if you’re planning on doing this race, make sure you know what you’re getting into first. 


7. Big Sur International Marathon

Big Sur is a region in California, USA. There are two main towns in the region: Cambria and San Simeon.

Both have great views and offer visitors a chance to take part in recreational activities such as hiking, cycling, kayaking, horse riding, surfing, fishing, golfing, and swimming. 

This is an excellent option if you love the outdoors. You’ll be able to enjoy stunning views while running along the Pacific Coast Highway.

This is a tough event but it’s not recommended for beginners. Make sure you train well before you attempt this race. 


8. Honolulu Marathon

The Honolulu Marathon takes place annually in December. The marathon is famous for its location in Hawaii and is one of the world’s largest marathons. It has been held since 1973.

It is popular among first-time marathoners, many of whom are runners from Japan.

The course is primarily flat except for the hill in Diamond Head.

There is no half marathon event in December as it is held in April. 10K fun run/walk is held in conjunction with the marathon.


9. Shiprock Marathon

Shiprock is a mountain located in New Mexico, USA. It’s a sacred site for Native Americans because it was believed to be where the gods created the world.

It’s also home to a large number of petroglyphs (carvings made from rock). 

If you’re looking for a scenic route, look no further than this race.

It takes place near the Navajo Nation Reservation so you’ll get to see the beautiful landscape. There are no major hills, just small ones. 


10. San Francisco Marathon

San Francisco Marathon takes place annually in July. Its incredible city sights are famous as it runs past many notable landmarks and crosses the Golden Gate Bridge.

It is regarded as one of the most beautiful and largest urban running events in the US. It has been held since 1977.

There is a distance for everyone: a full marathon, half marathons, an ultramarathon, a 10k, and a 5K.

This race is far from flat, as the total elevation gain is more than 1,000 feet throughout the course.


Bonus: Bay Bridge Half

Bay Bridge is a bridge spanning San Francisco Bay between Oakland and Alameda. It connects the East Bay and the central San Francisco Peninsula. 

This is great choice if you’re interested in taking part in a shorter yet scenic race.

You can see the San Francisco skyline, the Golden Gate Bridge, and Alcatraz from other directions than from the San Francisco Marathon.

It’s a flat route with no hills or steep climbs, so expect the pace to be quite quick.


Final Thoughts

Wherever your marathon journey takes you, whether it’s running through a famous city or jogging across a volcano, we wish you the absolute best.

We hope these 10 marathons will help inspire you to start training for your next big challenge! And if you are not yet ready to run these marathons but want to get the experience, here is a list of the best walkable marathons.

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