Top 20 Marathons and Marathon Events in the USA
Marathon events have become one of the more popular and fastest growing events in the world with millions of people taking part
From Boston, Massachusetts in the east to the islands of Hawaii in the west, and from as far north as Alaska to Florida in the south, running marathons are an event that appeal as much to the millions taking part as it does to the millions standing by to cheer on the runners.
Here is the Top Events USA selection of the Top 20 Marathons that everyone can take part in all over the USA.
Chevron Houston Marathon
To the delight of over 200,000 spectators, more than 21,000 participants take part in the annual Chevron Houston Marathon, one of the top 20 marathons and marathon events in the USA, Houston’s biggest single-day sporting event that has attracted crowds ever since it began over 40 years ago. More than 5,000 volunteers help organize this along with the half-marathon and the 5km race. Along with the Dallas Marathon and the Austin Marathon, the Houston Marathon is one of the three Marathons of Texas, held in the winter months from December through February.
For more information about the Chevron Houston Marathon visit:
Miami Marathon and Miami Half Marathon
end January - early February
Attracting over 20,000 marathon runners and enthusiasts, and fast becoming favorites for runners throughout the world since it began in 2003, the Miami Marathon, and the Miami Half Marathon which basically has everything in common with the full marathon except of course the distance, follows a breathtaking course along the streets of Miami and Miami Beach, through three beautiful barrier islands as well as four bridge crossings. The Miami Marathon is open to all runners, and is an official Boston Marathon qualifier.
For more information about the Miami Marathon and Miami Half Marathon visit:
Tallahassee, North Central Florida
A tradition for almost 40 years, the annual Tallahassee Marathon and Half Marathon utilizes the flat and fast St Marks Trail from the Florida State University’s football stadium to Florida State University and offers finishing medals for both half-marathon and marathon finishers. The event also includes guest speakers and local artists.
For more information about the Tallahassee Marathon visit:
The Fort Lauderdale A1A Marathon attracts more than 4,000 athletes from throughout South Florida, 40 other USA states and 14 foreign countries to compete in one of the most popular Fort Lauderdale sporting events. The attraction is not only the event itself, but the route and the ocean views as well, and the Publix Health & Fitness Expo taking place at the same time.
For more information about the Fort Lauderdale A1A Marathon visit:
With more than 20,000 runners cheered on by thousands of spectators, the LIVESTRONG Austin Marathon and Half Marathon is one of the largest combined marathon and half marathons in the USA. It is also recognized as one of the top 20 marathons and marathon events in the USA. Along with the Dallas Marathon and the Houston Marathon, the Dallas Marathon is one of the three Marathons of Texas, held in the winter months from December through February.
For more information about the Austin Marathon visit:
One of the five World Marathon Majors, and recognized by the IAAF (International Association of Athletes Federations) in their list of Marathon and Road Races, the world-renowned Boston Marathon is the world's biggest and oldest annual marathon that began in 1897 and now attracts crowds of up to 500,000 people. It also ranks as one of the world's most prestigious road racing events. The 26 mile, 385 yard Boston Marathon has distinguished itself as the pinnacle event within the sport of road racing by virtue of its traditions, longevity and method of gaining entry into the race. To qualify to run the Boston Marathon, entrants must run a qualifying time at a certified marathon. Typically, more than 25,000 runners complete the race.
For more information about the Boston Marathon take a look at:
or visit: http://www.baa.org/races/boston-marathon.aspx
Big Sur International Marathon
Ranked as the #1 marathon in North America in "The Ultimate Guide to Marathons" and recently named the world’s best destination marathon by Runner’s World, the Big Sur International Marathon is regarded as one of the top three marathons in America. The largest rural marathon in the world with more than 4,500 participants, the Big Sur International Marathon is also considered to be the most naturally beautiful as the course tracks along the Pacific coast through ranches and prestigious redwoods.
For more information about the Big Sur International Marathon in Carmel, California visit:
OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon
More than 37 years old, the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon (also known as the Indy Mini Half Marathon) is the largest half-marathon in America, selling out the past 11 years and drawing nearly 40,000 participants. Attracting international and United States Olympian marathon runners, the course winds through downtown and includes a full loop around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
For more information about the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon visit:
Zazzle Bay-to-Breakers 12K
San Francisco, California
Recognized as one of the world’s largest and oldest footraces, the Zazzle Bay-to-Breakers 12K held annually in San Francisco, California attracts tens of thousands of enthusiastic participants. In 1986 the Zazzle Bay-to-Breakers 12K set a world record by accommodating more than 110,000 runners.
For more information about the Zazzle Bay-to-Breakers 12K marathon visit:
Each year on the Fourth of July, the population of Seward swells from around 2,500 to around 40,000. The annual Mount Marathon footrace draws runners from around the world and is a favorite hometown event that has drawn Alaskans to Seward for the Fourth of July since 1915. The route climbs 1.5 miles up the face of mountain – complete with steep cliffs, waterfalls and a spectacular view – and back down. The Independence Day festivities include a fireworks display, street vendors, contests, street parade and other special events.
For more information about Mount Marathon visit:
San Francisco Marathon
San Francisco, California
USATF certified (the national organization governing track and field, running and race walking) and a Boston Marathon qualifying race, the San Francisco Marathon has been a popular marathon event for over 35 years. Recognized as one of The World's Top 10 Marathons by Runner’s World, the San Francisco Marathon also boasts a scenic race past many of the major San Francisco landmarks including Fisherman's Wharf, the Golden Gate Bridge, and Golden Gate Park, as well as many scenic waterfronts.
For more information about the San Francisco Marathon visit:
Pikes Peak Marathon
Manitou Springs, Colorado
Selected as one of the USA Trail Marathon Championships, and labelled as “America’s Ultimate Challenge” because it is generally considered to be the most difficult and challenging of all the marathons in the USA, the Pikes Peak Marathon is also famous for being the third oldest marathon in the USA. It started in 1956 as a challenge between smokers and non-smokers. Notorious for its strenuous course that winds up to an altitude of 14,000 feet and back, the Pikes Peak Marathon is #3 on the list of longest running US marathons behind Boston and Yonkers. The Pikes Peak Marathon is also noted for being the first marathon to allow female runners and have a female finisher in 1959.
For more information about Pikes Peak Marathon visit:
An annual marathon for over 40 years, the Portland Marathon is rated as one of the top 10 local road race events in the USA, one of the top 40 races of all types and distances, and one of the best premier marathon events in the USA. Also recognized as one of the top 10 biggest such events in the USA, the Portland Marathon is hailed for the quality of its organization and for the stunning route through the landscape of lots of park land and beautiful views.
For more information about the Portland Marathon visit:
Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon
Twin Cities, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Nicknamed the "Most Beautiful Urban Marathon in America", the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon attracts 300,000 fans and spectators in 10 cheering zones, lots of entertainment offered en-route and also a wide variety of events and activities, including a pasta party, the Health & Fitness Expo, the 27th Mile event that offers post-race food and refreshments to participants and spectators, and the hugely popular Pasta Party Dinner.
For more information about the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon visit:
Saint George Marathon
Saint George, Utah
Rated by Runner’s World as one of the 10 Most Scenic and Fastest Marathons, one of the Top 20 Marathons in the USA, and one of the four "Marathons to Build a Vacation Around", the Saint George Marathon in rural Utah has generally come to be considered one of the best marathons in the USA. As popular as it is, the organizers have limited the number of contestants to only 7,400. It is also noted for its very rural route and that it generally follows a downhill course. Events apart from the actual marathon and many other running events include the awards ceremony, the NordicTrack Health & Fitness Expo that attracts over 20,000 people, and the ever popular pasta dinner. Also, the Saint George Marathon is a “qualifying race” that requires a qualifying time from another marathon before a runner can take part.
For more information about the Saint George Marathon in Utah visit:
One of five World Marathon Majors, recognized by the IAAF (International Association of Athletes Federations) in their list of Marathon and Road Races, the Bank of America Chicago Marathon attracts more than 50,000 running enthusiasts from all across the USA and over 100 countries. A major and popular Chicago event for more than 30 years watched by more than 1.5-million spectators, the Chicago Marathon takes in many different neighborhoods, passing by some major Chicago attractions, and follows a relatively flat course with no significant hills, and so is generally completed in faster times than other major marathons in the USA. The events conclude with the popular 27th Mile Post Race Party which offers food, drinks, and live entertainment. Also, the Chicago Marathon is a “qualifying race” that requires a qualifying time from another marathon before a runner can take part
For more information about the Chicago Marathon visit:
Chile Pepper Cross Country Festival
Created so as to combine three cross-country races under a single event, the Chile Pepper Cross Country Festival is now one of the premier running events in the USA. Celebrated for over 24 years, this festival attracts more than 5,000 spectators who come to watch over 4,800 runners competing for the unique and much coveted Chile Pepper themed awards.
For more information about the Chile Pepper Cross Country Festival in Fayetteville visit:
Marine Corps Marathon
In keeping with its nickname: "The People's Marathon", the Marine Corps Marathon of 26.2 miles attracts runners (first-timers and veterans alike) from all walks of life to participate in a patriotic race that is ultimately a day for people of all types and ages. Not only does this marathon pass many of the area's attractions including the Capitol, Union Station, the Jefferson, Lincoln and FDR Memorials, the Pentagon, the Smithsonian museums and the Kennedy Center, but it also includes a host of family-friendly activities such as the Healthy Kids Fun Run, a Health and Fitness Expo, and the Marine Corps Marathon Finish Festival. The MCM10K race also allows runners of all ages to join in a shorter 6.2 mile event.
For more information about the Marine Corps Marathon visit:
ING New York City Marathon
New York, New York
One of the world’s most famous marathons recognized by the IAAF (International Association of Athletes Federations) in their list of Marathon and Road Races and a popular event for over 40 years that attracts well over 50,000 marathoners, the 26.2 mile ING New York Marathon is the biggest marathon in the USA. Running through all five boroughs of New York from Brooklyn to the Upper East Side, the ING New York City Marathon attracts millions of viewers.
For more information about the New York City Marathon visit:
California International Marathon
Founded in 1983 in Sacramento, and now recognized as one of the six best marathons in the USA, the California International Marathon, certified and sanctioned by USA Track & Field (USATF), the National Governing Body for track and field, long-distance running and race walking in the USA, is a world-class running event. One of the popular appeals of this 26-mile event is the attractive route through semi-rural suburbs into the heart of downtown Sacramento ending in front of the California State Capitol. The California International Marathon is a “qualifying race” that requires a qualifying time from another marathon before a runner can take part.
For more information about the California International Marathon in Sacramento visit:
MetroPCS Dallas Marathon
The MetroPCS Dallas Marathon, formerly the Dallas White Rock Marathon, is Texas’s oldest marathon and has been a popular event for 44 years. One of Dallas’s largest spectator events, the MetroPCS Dallas Marathon attracts more than 300,000 fans to watch 6,000 participants in the marathon, 13,000 participants in the half marathon and 6,000 participants in the relay race. An official running time at the MetroPCS Dallas Marathon makes the runner eligible to run in the Boston Marathon. In itself, the MetroPCS Dallas Marathon is a “qualifying race” that requires a qualifying time from another marathon before a runner can take part. Along with the Houston Marathon and the Austin Marathon, the MetroPCS Dallas Marathon is one of the three Marathons of Texas, held in the winter months from December through February.
For more information about the MetroPCS Dallas Marathon visit:
2nd Sunday in December
Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii
One of the world's largest marathons along what is considered to be the most festive route of all the marathons, and recognized as one of The World's Top 10 Marathons by Runner’s World, the Honolulu Marathon, now entering its 42nd year, attracts well over 30,000 participants every year from all over the world. On a light note, one of the biggest attractions of the Honolulu Marathon is the party complete with live music after the marathon that is held in Kapiolani Park next to Waikiki Beach.
For more information about the Honolulu Marathon on Oahu Island in Hawaii see:
updated Top 20 Events USA pages do not include every single event on offer in each state or city in America – only those recognized as one of the top 20 in each location, elected by residents, tourists and visitors, the team of travel writers working for Top Events USA, and some officials of the relevant states and cities of the USA too.