25 Great American Marathons

Big Sur International Marathon


Whether you’re looking for an insane challenge or a pancake-flat race to hit a PR, there’s a marathon for every runner. In fact, the sport has exploded with enough races to fill a lifetime of training schedules. So this year, find that big-city spectacle you’ve always wanted to do. Or have a relaxing weekend and take in some small-town charm. Here are 25 of our favorite marathons in 2016 to get you started.

Walt Disney World Marathon

Jan. 10, Orlando, Fla.

The success of the Walt Disney World Marathon has spawned other races in the park throughout the year, including a weekend full of races before the big event on Sunday. But the full marathon course offers runners a tour of all four Walt Disney World theme parks. If ever there’s a race your family is happy to tag along for, this is it.

Los Angeles Marathon

Feb. 14, Los Angeles

This point-to-point course starts at Dodger Stadium and takes runners through Hollywood, Beverly Hills and other LA neighborhoods before finishing in front of the Santa Monica Pier. Afterward, enjoy a drink in the beer garden overlooking the Pacific Ocean. This year the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials will be held the day before (on a different course).

Austin Marathon

Feb. 14, Austin, Texas

This hilly marathon offers an excellent tour of Austin with a start and finish in front of the Texas Capitol. Along the way, runners will visit Lady Bird Johnson Lake, the Allandale and Hyde Park neighborhoods, and the University of Texas campus. At the finish enjoy live music and food trucks for a great taste of Texas.

Catalina Island Marathon

March 19, Catalina Island, Calif.

This isn’t anything like your typical urban marathon. Held on Catalina Island about 22 miles southwest of Los Angeles, the race features a rugged, hilly and challenging course that offers amazing views of the Pacific Ocean and the island’s unique plants and animals. You won’t PR running over mostly dirt roads and trails with plenty of elevation changes—but you won’t
forget it. 

Boston Marathon

April 18, Boston

The world’s oldest and most famous marathon celebrates its 120th running this year, and the race from Hopkinton, Mass., to Boston is more popular than ever. Participants must qualify for the event and registration for the 2017 race opens in September. For those who qualify, there’s not a more memorable marathon experience.

RELATED: Where to Qualify for Boston

Big Sur International Marathon

April 24, Big Sur, Calif.

Big Sur is universally recognized as one of the most scenic races in the country. Starting in Big Sur, the point-to-point course follows Highway 1 along the Pacific coast to Carmel. Limited to 4,500 participants, the race fills quickly (it’s already sold out for 2016), so register early to enjoy those postcard-perfect views of the rocky coast.

St. Jude Rock ‘n’ Roll Nashville Marathon

April 30, Nashville, Tenn.

The Rock ‘n’ Roll folks go a little bit country at this springtime race that celebrates the sounds of Nashville. The course features an impressive tour of the city and plenty of local musicians that highlight the diverse music scene. A headliner concert in the Bridgestone Arena tops off the weekend.

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