The article, “25 Must-Do Marathons in 2017” by Jeff Banowetz for Competitor.com lists some of the most well-known US long distance races according to the dates they will be run this year. By ordering them in this way, rather than by rank as “best”, “largest”, or “most prestigious”, runners can more easily find competitions that coincide with their training plans. There's a brief description of each that explains why it is a special, "must-do" race.
Not wishing to a train or register for a 26.2-mile effort? Popular marathons sometimes hold lesser distance races on the same weekend, festival style, that you may be interested in running. Although not participating in the main event, you can still enjoy the excitement and atmosphere of a well-orchestrated competition, run a shorter race, and find inspiration while cheering the marathoners to their finish line.
Give these 25 marathons a good looking over. Those with a half marathon are identified with an asterisk (*). If not hosting a concurrent half marathon, the most popular and difficult to enter races will oftentimes schedule a half marathon on a separate date.
Another reason to examine this list is to identify an "in spirit", personal, themed race to train for and run while wearing an Earned Runs bib. Race at the same date and time as the actual competition, but in a location of your choice. The distance can be the same or "customized". For example, having lived in one of Southern California's beach communities, I would find it fun to run a 10K or half marathon "in sprit" with the Surf City Marathon of Huntington Beach. Maybe wear Hollister-like attire beneath winter running clothes, listening to Beach Boys music, and recover with an indoor pool swim and hot spa session.
There is sufficient variety in venue location to inspire multiple "in spirit" runs, especially with friends. It's a nice sampling of the country, in attractive destinations. Notice that: 1) the month of October has the most highlighted races; 2) August is the only month without a marathon; and 3) the state of California hosts the most number of races on this list.
January: Walt Disney World Marathon, Orlando FL*
February: Surf City Marathon, Huntington Beach CA*
Mercedes-Benz Marathon, Birmingham AL*
March: Napa Valley Marathon, Napa CA
Asheville Marathon, Asheville NC*
Sketchers Performance Los Angeles Marathon, Los Angeles CA
April: St Jude Rock N’ Roll Marathon, Nashville TN*
May: Cincinnati Flying Pig, Cincinnati OH*
Capital City Marathon, Olympia WA*
June: Rock N’ Roll San Diego, San Diego CA*
Lake Placid Marathon, Lake Placid NY*
July: San Francisco Marathon, San Francisco CA*
September: Air Force Marathon, Dayton OH*
October: Twin Cities Marathon, Minneapolis MN
Chicago Marathon, Chicago IL
Portland Marathon, Portland OR*
Maui Marathon, Maui HI*
Seven Bridges Marathon, Chattanooga TN*
Marine Corp Marathon, Washington DC
Toronto Waterfront Marathon, Toronto, Ontario Canada*
November: New York City Marathon, New York City NY
GEICO Rock N’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon*
Space Coast Marathon, Cocoa Beach FL*
December: California International Marathon, Sacramento CA
Honolulu Marathon, Honolulu HI
Be sure to check desireable race websites for registration details; some are so competitive that a lottery is used to award entry. It may not be too early to start planning 2018!
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EARNED RUNS is edited and authored by me, runner and founder. I began participating in road races before 5Ks were common. I've been a dietitian, practiced and taught clinical pathology, and been involved with research that utilized pathology. I am fascinated with understanding the origins of disease as well as health.
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