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Top 10 Beginner-Friendly Marathons in the United States

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Running a marathon is a big challenge that requires top shape and a special physical fitness, as you will have to run a total of 26.2 miles. Once you decide to run a marathon, you need to find out which particular marathon suits you best. Most people want to participate in the races that offer a lot of crowd support along with memorable experience. That’s fine, but if you are a first-time marathoner, I recommend that you get started with a beginner-friendly marathon. Luckily, there are a number of such marathons across the United States. Below, you can familiarize yourself with the most popular marathons for beginners in the United States.

1. Austin Marathon

Where: Austin, Texas

When: February

If you live in Texas and want to explore the urban, hilly course of the city of Austin by running, this marathon is right for you. With race temps between 44 and 65 degrees on average, Austin marathon is suitable for beginners. The city welcomes approximately 5,000 runners each year in February. It starts on Congress Avenue (north of the Texas State Capitol) and ends south of the Capitol near where it begins. In the race, you will pass by various Austin areas and landmarks, such as South Congress, Colorado River, the University of Texas, and Hyde Park.


2. Walt Disney World Marathon

Where: Orlando, Florida

When: January

If you are looking for a unique running experience and love Walt Disney cartoons, this lovable marathon is perfect for you. Besides the marathon race, Walt Disney World Marathon also includes a half marathon, 5K and 10K race, as well as the Castaway Cay, Dopey, and Goofy Challenges. Due to the flat course through most of the race, this marathon is very favorable for beginners. The marathon race starts with an amazing fireworks display in the early dawn. It goes through four Disney theme parks – Epcot (the starting and ending destination), Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and The Animal Kingdom.


3. San Francisco Marathon

Where: San Francisco, California

When: June, July or August

This annual event includes a few road running series – an ultramarathon, a full marathon (of 26.219 miles), a 5K, and two half marathons. Every year, about 25,000 runners participate in this marathon. The marathon loop-shaped course starts and ends on the Embarcadero close to the Ferry Building. It passes by the historical landmarks and picturesque neighborhoods, such as the majestic Golden Gate Bridge, Golden Gate Park, and Fisherman’s Wharf. Next year, San Francisco Marathon will take place on July 23, 2017.


4. Newport Marathon

Where: Newport, Rhode Island

When: October

Along the 26.2-mile route, Newport Marathon features a lot of gorgeous sights, including stunning historic mansions and breathtaking views. This event promises a good time for all participants, whether you are a first-time marathoner just looking for a nice jog or a professional runner who wants to qualify for the upcoming Boston Marathon. The next Newport Marathon will be held on October, 8. Registration is not capped!


5. Asics Los Angeles Marathon

Where: Los Angeles, California

When: February

With over 25,000 runners each year, the Asics Los Angeles Marathon (LA Marathon) is one of biggest sports city events. Being one of the most scenic races in the world, it is also known as “Best Big City Race.” The “Stadium to Sea” course starts at Dodger Stadium and ends close to the Santa Monica Pier. Through this scenic course, the historic race takes runners on an unforgettable tour of Los Angeles, including every major landmark.


6. Grandma’s Marathon

Where: Duluth, Minnesota

When: June

Featuring the relatively flat terrain with just a few gently rolling hills, Grandma’s Marathon is suitable for first-time participants. The course runs from the city of Two Harbors, continuing in the city of Duluth along Lake Superior, and finishing in Canal Park. The 2017 Grandma’s Marathon is going to be held on June 17. Registration is limited to 9,000 participants.

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7. Flying Pig Marathon

Where: Cincinnati, Ohio

When: May

The Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon is one of the largest marathons in the country, which gathers about 5,000 runners every year. The race course “flies” through some the most beautiful places in the Cincinnati area, along the Ohio River. Along that course, there are plenty of entertainment and over 25 support stations.


8. Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon

Where: Las Vegas, Nevada

When: November

The race course is arranged in the Las Vegas style on the Las Vegas Strip (past the famous casinos), featuring live rock bands, themed water stations, Elvis impersonators, cheerleaders and much more. The Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon starts at night. This running night out event offers a lot of excitement and all the fun of Sin City under the neon lights.

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9. Bank of America Chicago Marathon

Where: Chicago, Illinois

When: October

Being one of the six annual Abbott World Marathon Majors and the 4th largest race in the world by the number of finishers, the Chicago Marathon is one of the most famous marathons worldwide. It is limited to 45,000 runners! The loop course starts and ends at Grant Park. This major marathon takes both elite runners and beginners on the flat, fast course, offering a scenic tour of Chicago through 29 diverse neighborhoods and numerous historic and local landmarks. Along the way, you will be supported by over 12,000 volunteers and tons of screaming fans.


10. Honolulu Marathon

Where: Honolulu, Hawaii

When: December

The last but not the least beginner-friendly marathon you should take into account is the Honolulu Marathon. This huge marathon welcomes more than 30,000 runners every year on the second Sunday in December. Due to the tropical weather conditions, exotic location in Hawaii and relatively flat course, this event is very popular among the first-time marathoners. The course starts near Ala Moana Beach Park, progressing toward downtown Honolulu, then bends back through Waikiki Beach, suburbs of Honolulu, Hawaii Kai, and ends at Waikiki’s Kapiolani Park.


Each one of these ten marathons ensures a memorable experience, making newbies stress-free, confident, and happy on their first go-round. Take into consideration courses, weather conditions, organization, and find picks that will be best for you.

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