- New York
- Washington, D.C.
Every year, thousands of runners from all corners of the globe flock to the USA for its many annual marathons.
No other country in the world has as varied a spectrum of running opportunities. These races take runners through some of the country’s most beautiful cities, parks and rural spaces, and past historic landmarks. Some are even themed, and there are all sorts of varying lengths and difficulty for every level of runner in all corners of the USA.
Big Events in Big Cities
The Boston Marathon, the world’s oldest annual marathon, dates to 1897. The race contains the infamous Heartbreak Hill between miles 20 and 21, where competitors are expected to run up a steep hill with burnt legs toward the end of the difficult route. Thousands line the course to cheer on runners, as they do at the New York City Marathon, which takes more than 50,000 runners through all five boroughs of the city on the first Sunday of November. The world’s fastest runners are always taking part as the race starts in Staten Island and ends in Central Park, crossing both the city’s rivers en route.
Boston Marathon runners near the finish line with just a kilometer remaining in the race
Making Running Fun
For a taste of the varied nature of running opportunities in the USA, check out the Rock ’n’ Roll Marathon Series ‘the world’s largest running series, which more than 500,000 people do across 26 different cities in North America every year. In the USA, there are nine full marathons in the series, 13 half-marathons and a 10K in New York; the Rock ’n’ Roll USA Marathon in Washington, D.C. in March the flagship event. This is the only marathon entirely run in the nation’s capital and the historic route passes the White House. The series, founded in 1998 with the mantra of making running fun, has raised more than $235 million for charity and features live bands along the course, including Goo Goo Dolls and Counting Crows in the past. You can take part many more cities across the USA, including Nashville, Tennessee; Chicago, Illinois; San Diego, California; and New Orleans, Louisiana.
Traversing the streets of Brooklyn in the New York City Marathon
Seeking Out Local Experiences
Another eccentric, boutique running experience in the USA comes in the form of wine country marathons, which take place in Santa Barbara, Napa Valley, Virginia and various other destinations, taking in some of the country's finest rural scenery, with flat courses and beautiful meadows. Elsewhere, try the Vermont City Marathon and relay in Burlington on Memorial Day weekend in May or USA Track & Field events in different cities.
A handy tip for visiting runners is to contact the local running club and check in with the hotel concierge to find a great route near you – there always is one!
Running through a vineyard in the Chateau Grand Traverse Half Marathon in Michigan