You’ve probably heard of the Boston Marathon and the New York City Marathon. But did you know? There are 1,100 marathons in the U.S. with over half a million participants. Some runners join multiple marathons every year.
They are also popular around the globe. Among the top marathons in the world are the London, Berlin, Tokyo, and Paris Marathons, among others. According to Ask Wonder, there are between 2,500 and 4,000 marathons in the world with some 11 million participants.
In the U.S., here are the top 10 best marathons to run:
1. Boston Marathon
Running this event is definitely a badge of honor as it is considered among the most popular, if not the most popular, marathons in the world. The event covers several towns and cities in Greater Boston, starting in Hopkinton and ending in Copley Square. It is held on Patriots’ Day, which is every third Monday of April. Founded in 1897, this marathon is the oldest and among the hardest to qualify for.
2. Pikes Peak Marathon
The Pikes Peak Marathon has the honor of being known as the toughest marathon in the U.S. It starts at the base of Pikes Peak in Manitou Springs in Colortado and participants climb halfway through the mountain peak and back down. Participants have to battle elevation change as well as rocks and gravel. Established in 1956, the event takes place in late August.
3. New York City Marathon
This is the largest marathon in the world since its inception in 1970. So many people want to join the New York City Marathon that organizers have to do a lottery to determine a lot of the participants. The marathon goes through the five boroughs of New York City: Brooklyn, Bronx, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island.
4. Honolulu Marathon
This is one of the most popular marathons in the U.S. for the obvious reason that it is done in Hawaii. It was established in 1973 and held annually every second Sunday of December. It starts at the Ala Moana Center and ends at Kapiolani Park with participants enjoying the view of the Hawaiian ocean.
5. Niagara Falls International Marathon
Founded in 1974, the Niagara Falls International Marathon is one of the events where runners start the race in one country and then end in another. It starts in Buffalo, New York in the U.S. and ends in Horseshoe Falls, Niagara Falls in Canada. It is held every October.
6. Chicago Marathon
Established in 1977, the Chicago Marathon is done on a Sunday before Columbus Day. The route is known for its flat layout and really fast pace. Participants get a chance to do some sightseeing as the route gives you views of Chinatown, Wrigley Field, and Lake Michigan.
7. Anchorage Mayor’s Marathon
This is a really scenic marathon that starts at Bartlett High School and ends at the Delaney Park in Anchorage, Alaska. It’s also really challenging with a mix of dirt, gravel and grass roadways, with a chance of seeing bears and moose along the marathon route. While not as popular as the others on the list, the Anchorage Mayor’s Marathon has been around for the past 40 or so years.
8. Big Sur International Marathon
The event was established in 1986 and is held annually every late April. It has both beauty and challenge as the entire course has around five hills at the start in Big Sur and about 13 at the end in Carmel. Participants will also enjoy the vew of the Pacific Ocean via the Pacific Coast Highway.
9. Walt Disney World Marathon
This is truly a unique experience for runners as it goes around all four of the Disney World parks starting at Epcot going to Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and back to Epcot. The first event was held in 1994 with just over 5,500 participants. There were over 14,000 finishers in 2020.
10. Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon
This is a fairly new marathon, established in 1999. It is held every first Sunday of May. It has both mountain and scenic river views and there are designated party zones along the way.
These marathons have thousands of participants every year. So, why do people enjoy running a marathon?
Health is Wealth
Marathons have cash prizes. However, it is mostly reserved for professional runners. The 2022 Nagoya Women’s Marathon holds the current record for the highest cash prize at $250,000.
In the U.S., the highest prize is handed out is during the Boston Marathon, considered the most popular marathon in the world, with the top cash bounty set at $150,000.
Marathon participants don’t just run on the day of the event. They have to condition themselves to be able to run the whole marathon. Some run half marathons before they join the full ones.
According to the Marathon Handbook, a person with a background in running should train for at least three months before joining a marathon. A newbie should have at least four to six months of training under their belt.
If you haven’t run a marathon before an3d you are confident that your body is already up to the challenge, here are best marathons for beginners to participate in this year:
Miami Marathon (February 6, 2022)
Boston Marathon (April 18, 2022)
Mountains to Beach Marathon (May 29, 2022)
Detroit Free Press Marathon (October 14-16, 2022)
Niagara Falls Interionational Marathon (October 23-24, 2022)
Marine Corps Marathon (October 30, 2022)
New York City Marathon (November 6, 2022)
Philadelphia Marathon (November 18, 2022)
Honolulu Marathon (December 2022)
California International Marathon (December 4, 2022)
Dallas White Rock Marathon (December 9-11, 2022)
If you already experienced multiple marathons, then you might want to experience more challenging events. Here are some of the best intermediate level marathons in the U.S.:
The Maui Paradise Marathon (Anytime)
Appalachian Series Marathon (March 27-28, 2022)
Trail Marathon (April 24, 2022)
Twin Cities Women Run the Cities Marathon (May 2022)
Rock-n-Roll Seattle Marathon (September 3-4, 2022)
St. George Marathon (October 1, 2022)
Run Crazy Horse Half Marathon (October 8-9, 2022)
Grand Rapids Marathon (October 16, 2022)
Freedom’s Run Marathon (October 22, 2022)
Indiana Monumental Marathon (November 5, 2022)
Williams Route 66 Marathon (November 19-20, 2022)
Now, if you’ve been running marathons for years, you might want to graduate to the more challenging events. Here are the top marathons for expert runners in the U.S.:
Walt Disney World Marathon (January 2022)
Las Vegas Rock ‘N Roll Marathon (February 26-27, 2022)
Wyoming Marathon (May 2022)
Bourbon Marathon (October 2022)
The MO’Cowbell Marathon (October 2, 2022)
Bank of America Chicago Marathon (October 9, 2022)
Living History Farms Marathon (November 2022)
Manchester Road Race (November 2022)
Good Life Halfsy (November 2022)
JFK 50-Miler (November 19, 2022)
Rocket City Marathon (December 2022)
When you train for a marathon, keep in mind that you need to hydrate. Good hydration means getting the right amount of water into your system before, during, and after training. The same principle should be followed during the actual marathon, which is why you see water being distributed along the route.
The importance of hydration during training
Hydration is important before, during, and after training for a marathon or any form of exercise.
Doctors say that you should not depend on your thirst to determine if it’s time to drink water or not or how much water you need. Hydration is important to keep your muscles working properly and to prevent fatigue.
Before you start your training or workout, you should drink at least two cups of water or sports liquid. This ensures that you are hydrated well before you undergo a heavy workout. This is important to regulate your body temperature as well as lubricate your joints to prevent injuries.
You need another cup during warmup exercise and a cup of water every 10 to 20 minutes of your marathon training. If you are not properly hydrated, you cannot perform your best. This is also a way to replace the liquid you lost during exercise through perspiration.
For the post-workout hydration, the American Council for Exercise suggests that you drink at least two cups of water for every pound lost during the activity. This means that you have to weigh yourself before and after your training.
If your weight increased post-workout, that means you have overhydrated yourself during the training.
QURE alkaline water for hydration
A study published on the National Center for Biotechnology Information states that alkaline water is an effective alternative to prevent metabolic acidosis due to exercise. Metabolic acidosis refers to the build-up of acids in your body.
The study is called “Alkaline water improves exercise-induced metabolic acidosis and enhances anaerobic exercise performance in combat sport athletes.”
Exercise-induced metabolic acidosis is known as lactic acidosis. Symptoms include burning sensation of the muscles, cramps, nausea, and weakness.
When your body is under too much strain, like when you exercise or train for a marathon, the body will use up oxygen to break down glucose. But when you exercise too much, there might not be enough oxygen in the body for the process, hence, the formation of lactate.
There will be a buildup of lactate acid that your body will not be able to burn off, which would then reach the lactate threshold.
The study concludes: “The results of the present study indicate that drinking alkalized water improves hydration status, acid-base balance, and high-intensity anaerobic exercise performance.”
Alkaline water refers to water with a pH level of more than 7. Water with pH 7 indicates neutrality. If your water has a pH level of 1, it means that it is very acidic, while a pH level of 6 connotes slight acidity. A pH level between 8 and 10 refers to highly alkaline water.
This is also why QURE Alkaline Water is a major sponsor in many sporting events like marathons and half marathons.
The brand values proper hydration to stay healthy and active.
QURE is the official water of many sporting events
There are many different brands of alkaline water on the market, but only few are as high alkaline as QURE, which has a pH level of 10.
The water is uniquely infused with naturally occurring ionic alkaline minerals and electrolytes. This makes the water super hydrating and is for runners and endurance athletes to refresh, renew, and revitalize their bodies.
It is no surprise that QURE is the official water of the following events:
Surf City Marathon USA
This is an award-winning and qualifying event for the world-famous Boston Marathon. The event includes a marathon, a half marathon, 5K run, and beach mile. This Southern California event is renowned for its flat course and scenic route.
The SDCCU OC Marathon Running Festival
The San Diego County Credit Union Orange County Marathon is another Boston Marathon qualifier. The marathon will treat participants to a panorama of the Pacific Ocean in the first mile before getting a chance to bask in the beauty of Ocean Blvd. Other courses include the OC Half Marathon, 5K, Kids Run the OC, and in keeping with the times, a virtual run.
2XU Malibu Triathlon
Participants have a choice between classic and Olympic distance. Both have individual and team relay events. The event also has a charity component as it is meant to raise awareness and provide funds for the Pediatric Cancer Research at the Children’s Hospital L.A.
Long Beach Marathon
This event has been in existence for 38 years. It has a marathon, a half marathon, 5K, and a bike tour. There will also be virtual races. Participants will enjoy ocean views with a metropolitan feel throughout the event.
Surf City 10
All events start and finish on the Pacific Coast Highway. Events include the 10-mile run, 10K, and 5K. The courses are flat and are certified by the U.S.A. Track and Field.
Carlsbad Marathon & Half
Dubbed the most scenic winter race, the Carlsbad Marathon and Half provides participants with outstanding course support and breathtaking ocean views. There is entertainment in between, too.
America’s Finest City Half Marathon & 5K
The event is not just a scenic one but a historical one as well. Participants run from the Cabrillo National Monument, wind down to downtown San Diego, and end at the historic Balboa Park.
A Better World Running
This organization is not meant to be serious. It’s meant to be about spreading love and joy. It was started by two runners who want to share their enjoyment of running. It offers many events including virtual ones. Among the events are the Happy Valentines Day 5K, 10K, 15K, and half marathon; Beach Fun; Ocean Breeze; Beach Dash; Beach Blast; and Rockin’ Shamrock.
This is one of the most popular marathons in the world. Founded in 1986, the marathon starts at Dodger Stadium and ends on the Avenue of the Stars. It cannot be more Los Angeles than that route. The event is also for a good cause, which is to build a healthier world by supporting the McCourt Foundation.
This is one of the most easily sold-out running events in California, especially in the last few years. It features a half marathon, 5K, Kids Fun Run, and a charity / VIP entry. Participants may even have a chance to win three medals when they join the COMBO Challenge, which entails running both the half marathon and 5K run.
Francisco. Participants will have an opportunity to run on the bridge through a half marathon or 5K run. Runners will enjoy the views of San Francisco Bay and Alcatraz while running.
Crown City Classic
This event is a classic. It was founded in 1973 in Coronado. You can choose between 5K and 12K and enjoy the views of Coronado Bay and Coronado Bridge during the run, which starts and finishes in Tidelands Park. There is also a Crown City Half-Mile for children.
Santa Barbara Wine Country Half Marathon
The event has a half marathon and two-person relay, and there is also wine drinking for those who want to indulge. The view involves a sea of green fields in the historic Danish town of Solvang in Santa Ynez Valley. After the race, participants can enjoy a wine and music festival.
Kaiser Permanente Thrive Half Marathon
This is a fairly new event that benefits the Make-A-Wish San Diego. There is a half marathon and a 5K run. The event follows quite a scenic route that starts and ends at Vacation Isle in Mission Bay.
Ride Santa Barbara 100
This is a riding event rather than a running one. It is considered the premier cycling event on the California central coast featuring the following distances: 100 miles, 100 kilometers plus a Gibraltar Challenge, 100 kilometers of coastal route, and 34 miles. It’s not for the faint of heart.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
Marathon is a good way to stay fit since it’s not just a one-day event. The marathon happens in one day but conditioning and training go on for months. With proper training comes proper hydration.
Hydrate with alkaline water and other liquids when you embark on a rigorous training for cycling events, marathons, or even half marathons. Proper hydration could lead to a better lifestyle.