We can proudly say that the US is the home of some of the largest, most popular, and even the oldest marathons in the world. The pain and the sweat followed by joy and accomplishment are spread throughout, Boston, New York, Chicago, Washington, and Hawaii. Whilst some participate for the pure joy of running and engaging in a sporting activity, others appreciate their charitable nature towards which they can contribute in a meaningful, fun, and healthy way. Each marathon is unique in its chosen course, size, rules, entry requirements, and the types of participants it attracts.
The Boston Marathon
Let’s talk about the world’s oldest annual marathon, the Boston Marathon. It dates back to 1897. Its initial purpose was to encourage running as a sport and a means of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. As such it has become a worldwide phenomenon and an event not to be missed.
Regardless of it being a city-based marathon, it is considered one of the more challenging routes due to its hilly nature. It runs from Hopkinton through to Massachusetts ending on Boylston Street at Copley Square in Boston.
Due to its extraordinary charity involvement, participating in this marathon makes you feel like you are running for a greater cause. To get involved, you must either qualify or participate in a fundraising charity.
The New York City Marathon
An incredible 47,743 finishers in 2022 alone, make this the world’s largest annual marathon, with participants from all over the world. It certainly encourages and inspires people towards a healthier and more fulfilling lifestyle.
Established in 1970, with its unique course path, it has become more than just a marathon. Its greatest perk is that the runner gets to experience the true energy and culture of New York. They start at Staten Island and run through Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, and the Bronx whilst finishing in Manhattan, in the well-known Central Park. Its undeniable popularity has secured its place within the World Major Marathons organization.
Despite being the largest, a simple registration will not guarantee you entry into this event. You must run a certain number of races or have participated in at least 15 other NYC marathons, as well as donate or join a fundraising team.
The Chicago Marathon (Bank of America)
The Chicago Marathon, formed in 1977, is ranked the fourth-largest race in the world. Its most attractive and distinctive feature is its fast and flat loop course.
Here we have a marathon that is one of the favorites amongst elite runners and athletes around the world. The design of its course allows many to not only conquer existing world records but to achieve new personal ones. Even with strict entry requirements, the Chicago Marathon is seen as one of the fastest-growing marathons in the world.
With the involvement of many large sponsors including the Bank of America, which gained ownership over this marathon in 2008, the offered prize money is also quite exceptional.
The Marine Corps Marathon
The idea of a marathon being organized and run by the US Marines is rather intriguing. Apart from the marathon itself, they also offer training sessions.
The thrilling opportunity to run a course normally used to train new marine recruits is just one distinctive aspect of this marathon. As it spreads through Arlington, VA, and the nation’s capital, the MCM is also thought of as a sightseeing experience. Participants get to tour and see the most recognizable landmarks in the US.
It gets even better! It is very welcoming and accommodating to beginners who are still new to proper marathon preparation, it offers a 7 hours completion timeframe so it can be conquered by the least experienced. Hence its popularity amongst veterans and other first responders and heroes.
The Marine Corps Marathon has also gained a reputation for being a “people’s marathon” since it does not offer any prize money to its winners.
If the above is not enough, this marathon has also been voted and recognized as the best Mid-Atlantic marathon, best for its charitable work, and as a spectator event, with the largest field size occupied by its participants.
The Honolulu Marathon
Lastly, if you love running, why not combine it with the breathtaking views of Hawaii by simply participating in the Honolulu Marathon? This marathon spreads over 26.2 miles and is rather popular with first-time runners, especially from Japan.
The beauty of it is that pretty much everyone over the age of 7 is welcome to participate. Other than a payable fee, there are no additional qualification requirements. There are also no time restrictions, so the opportunity to reach the end line is open to all.
To conclude, whatever your drive for a good race might be, or whether you are a professional or in your training stage, there is an opportunity out there for everyone.