When: November 16, 2014
Where: Las Vegas, Nevada
Why do it: The Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas Marathon promises all the fun and excitement of Vegas, without the risk. The race course will feature live bands, cheerleaders and themed water stations to entertain participants in true Las Vegas style. The race starts at night, so runners run under the neon lights on the strip.
When: Dec. 14, 2014
Where: Honolulu, Hawaii
Why do it: Say "Aloha!" to the Honolulu Marathon if you want to sightsee on-the-go. You'll forget all about the winter blues as you run through the streets of Honolulu, along the breathtaking coastline and around the base of Diamond Head, an extinct volcano. The finish line is in Waikiki, one of the most popular surfing spots in Hawaii. And for those marathoners who want an authentic pre-race Hawaiian welcome, there is a concert/luau with an all-you-can-eat dinner the Friday before the race.
When: January 11, 2015
Where: Orlando, Florida
Why do it: If you're a Disney fan or you're just looking for a unique marathon experience, the Walt Disney World Marathon is a must. The race kicks off with an pre-dawn fireworks display and then takes you through all four Walt Disney World theme parks starting at Epcot, continuing on to Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios and then back to Epcot for an exhilarating finish. The flat course is very beginner-friendly and the Mickey Mouse shaped medal makes running 26.2 miles well worth the effort.
When: Jan. 18, 2015
Where: Phoenix, Ariz.
Why do it: If music is what helps keep you motivated and focused during your runs, then check out P.F. Chang's Phoenix Rock 'n' Roll Marathon. Whatever your music tastes may be, you're sure to love one of the many live bands performing along the entire course. Camelback Mountain, one of Phoenix's signature landmarks, will serve as a picturesque backdrop throughout a portion of the course. And, don't worry, you won't feel like you've been "deserted" once you cross the finish line -- you'll be greeted by even more live music, refreshments and ice-cold beer.
When: Jan. 25, 2015
Where: Miami, Fla.
Why do it: If you're looking for a high-energy marathon with beautiful views of South Florida, then the Miami Marathon may be a good option for you. As you run through paradise there will be 15 Miami-style entertainment stations keeping your morale high. The course is relatively flat and weaves through downtown, over bridges as well as along the Biscayne Bay and Atlantic Ocean's turquoise waters. Keep your eyes peeled -- some places along the marathon route may look familiar to you because many movies and TV shows have been filmed there.
When: Jan. 25, 2015
Where: New Orleans, Louisiana
Why do it: With average race-day temps of 49 to 59 degrees F, the Mardi Gras marathon boasts ideal weather for runners. Like other Rock 'n' Roll races, the race course will feature bands at every mile along the course, playing original and cover songs to energize the runners. New Orleans runners will be treated to a post-race concert after the event.
When: February 15, 2015
Where: Austin, Texas
Why do it: The Austin Marathon runs through some of Austin's most scenic and historic areas, including Lady Bird Johnson Lake, the Allandale and Hyde Park neighborhoods, Congress Avenue, the University of Texas campus and the State Capitol complex. With nearly 40 Austin bands to keep you motivated and 26 water and PowerAde stops, the Austin Marathon race course is one of the best supported routes in America.
Where: Los Angeles, California
Why do it: With more than 25,000 runners, the LA marathon is a big city marathon, but still manages to maintain a small town, community feel with tons of support along the way. The popular “Stadium to the Sea” course, starting at Dodger Stadium and finishing near the Santa Monica Pier, is one of the most scenic in the world, taking runners on a tour of Los Angeles past every major landmark. The race has been named “Best Big City Race” by Runner’s World.
When: March 22, 2015
Where: Atlanta, Georgia
Why do it: The Georgia Marathon is a true showcase of historic Atlanta, beautiful Decatur and all of the neighborhoods in between. Highlights along the course include the birthplace of Martin Luther King, Jr., historic houses, eclectic Little Five Points, tours of four college campuses, Piedmont Park and much more. After you cross the finish line and receive your commemorative medal, the party begins at Centennial Olympic Plaza where you can enjoy live music while celebrating with your friends, family and fellow runners.
Still can't decide which marathon to do? Check out MarathonGuide.com, a great source for marathon race information and reviews from runners.