So you've already set your goal to run a marathon this fall, but here comes the tough question: Which one should you run? For those of you looking for a unique experience or a fabulous destination, check out this list of top U.S. fall marathons. Any one of them will make all those miles run in heat and humidity of the summer totally worth it.
When: October 5, 2014
Where: Minneapolis/St.Paul, Minn.
Why do it: The Twin Cities Marathon lays claim to being the "Most Scenic Urban Marathon in America" and people who've run say that it's true. With a backdrop of spectacular fall foliage, the course takes runners through gorgeous neighborhoods, along the shoreline of the lake and on the banks of the Mississippi.
When: October 12, 2014
Where: Chicago, IL
Why do it: Chicago is a flat, fast marathon, so it's a great one to do if you've never run a marathon or you're trying to run your fastest time ever. In addition to its speed, the course offers a scenic tour of Chicago as it weaves through numerous diverse neighborhoods and dozens of local and historic landmarks. You'll see all that is great about the city of Chicago, while being supported by tons of screaming fans.
When: October 18, 2014
Where: Baltimore, Md.
Why do it: The Baltimore marathon course travels through the many diverse neighborhoods including the scenic Inner Harbor waterfront area, historic Federal Hill and charming Fells Point. It also starts and finishes at the stadium area that's home to both the Ravens and the Orioles, so there are plenty of restrooms for everyone. The marathon also boasts about its top-notch expo, Under Armour race shirt, and crowds of supporting spectators.
When: October 19, 2014
Where: Detroit, Mich.
Why do it: As a runner in the Detroit marathon, you'll actually cross the U.S./Canadian border twice (race organizers suggest carrying your passport!) The fast, spectator-friendly course takes you through historic neighborhoods and the only underwater international mile in the world. First-time marathoners have an added incentive to choose this race: All first-time runners receive a special green number. Detroit knows and loves its "greenies" and gives them added support needed to cross the finish line.
When: October 19, 2014
Where: San Francisco, Calif.
Why do it: If the spectacular views aren't enough incentive to run the Nike's women's marathon, you might be enticed by the Tiffany necklace given to all participants after they cross the finish line. Runners also love the massages and yoga classes at the Nike Expotique. And, despite the marathon's name and all the amenities, the race is open to men, too.
When: October 26, 2014
Where: Washington, D.C.
Why do it: The Marine Corps marathon is often called the "People's Marathon" because it doesn't offer a huge purse for top finishers, despite its large size. As a result, it attracts lots of recreational runners who are rewarded with a well-organized race and a scenic course.
When: November 2, 2014
Where: New York, NY
Why do it: Everything about the New York City marathon is big. It's the largest marathon in the country -- both in terms of participants and spectators. Runners tour the biggest city in the country, as they experience diverse and vibrant neighborhoods in all five of New York's boroughs. Gaining entry by lottery gets tougher every year, but the race does have some charity partners that also grant numbers in exchange for fundraising.
When: November 15, 2014
Where: Richmond, Va.
Why do it: Dubbed "America's Friendliest Marathon" by Runner's World magazine, the Suntrust Richmond Marathon offers many of the benefits of a big city marathon while maintaining a small-town feel. Runners keep coming back year after year because of the friendly and courteous volunteers and superb course amenities, such as junk food stops and wet washcloths.
When: November 16, 2014
Where: Philadelphia. Pa.
Why do it: If you're looking for a big city marathon experience, but don't want to deal with the crowds, Philadelphia may be a good option for you. Philly's course treats you to historical landmarks like the Liberty Bell, as well as the natural beauty of scenic sections along the Schuylkill River. And, if you still have some energy left at the finish line, you can do your best "Rocky" imitation by running up the Philadelphia Museum of Art's steps.
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