There are over 1000 marathon events held every year in the United States, drawing over half a million participants in total. But which are the most famous marathons in America?
What makes them so great? And who has celebrated victory at these races? Keep reading to find out.
Boston Marathon – Boston, Massachusetts
The Boston Marathon is one the largest marathons in the world and one of the most famous. It is usually held on Patriot’s Day – the third Monday of April.
The qualifying requirements are quite strict, and even if you have the right chip time to register this does not guarantee that you will be able to enter the race.
There are so many applicants for the Boston Marathon each year, so getting a place is a real honor.
The course record holders are Geoffery Mutai who ran it in 123 minutes and 3 seconds in 2011, and Buzunesh Deba who completed it in 139 minutes and 59 seconds in 2014. The maximum elevation of the course is 413 meters.
In 2013 the Boston Marathon was subject to a terrorist attack which sadly killed three people. The Boston Marathon has continued to go ahead and has become a symbol of hope and unity against terrorism.
Marine Corps Marathon – Washington, D.C
This marathon is organized by the Marine Corps and is often called the people’s marathon. It aims to promote the benefits of physical fitness and community goodwill, core philosophies of the Marine Corps.
It is the fourth largest marathon in the United states and it is in the top 10 largest marathons of the world.
Jeff Scuffins holds the course record of 134 minutes and 2 seconds completed in 1987. Olga Markova holds the female record of 157 minutes completed in 1990.
Honolulu Marathon – Honolulu, Hawaii
The Honolulu Marathon takes place on the second Sunday of December and has been since 1973. It is one of the largest marathons in the world and is considered one of the best destination marathons.
People often come for the marathon and stay for a holiday afterwards, contributing to the tourism industry in Hawaii.
The record holders for the Honolulu marathon both completed the race in 2017. Lawrence Cherono ran it in 128 minutes and 45 seconds and Brigid Kosgei completed it in 142 minutes and 25 seconds.
Walt Disney World Marathon – Orlando, Florida
The Walt Disney World Marathon is a feel good event that attracts lots of people who love running and also love disney.
The course takes you through the theme park past various attractions and landmarks, so there is plenty to see.
The atmosphere is fantastic, participants and spectators dress up as disney characters, and it’s almost impossible not to finish the race with a smile!
In 2022, 33 year old Britney Charboneau became the first person to win all four of the races that are held in Walt Disney World over the marathon weekend – and she was in costume!.
Los Angeles Marathon- LA, California
The Los Angeles Marathon is famous for the impressive number of landmarks you can see from the course.
The route is designed to take you through the most beautiful and well known parts of the city, which has drawn lots of runners each year since it began in 1986. It is one of the largest marathons in the United States with over 25,000 participants.
The record holders for this marathon are Markos Geneti who ran it in 126 minutes and 35 seconds in 2011, and Lidiya Grigoryeva who ran it in 145 minutes and 10 seconds in 2006.
Rock N Roll San Diego Marathon- San Diego, California
If the sand and the surf aren’t enough to attract you to the San Diego marathon then the Rock N Roll theme will! It is fun and feels good and attracts lots of people who love running and rock n roll.
It is less formal than some of the other marathons on this list, but it is still very well organized and is a physical challenge. It has been running for 24 years in total.
In 2014, 91 year old cancer survivor Harriette Thompson completed the race in 7 hours, 7 minutes and 42 seconds. This beat the record in the 90 to 94 age group.
Portland Marathon – Portland, Oregon
The Portland Marathon first started in 1972 and it takes place on the First Sunday of October each year. The course has a maximum elevation of 64 meters and is in the top 10 biggest marathons in the United States.
It includes some beautiful scenery and excellent city views.
The record holders are Uli Steidi who completed the race 137 minutes and 35 seconds in 1997 and Hiromi Yakoyama who completed the race in 156 minutes and 67 seconds in 1991.
These marathons are large scale events that attract many participants and spectators every year, creating a vibrant buzz in the host cities.