Kickstart Your Spring with One of These 10 Marathons

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We’ve corralled a constellation of races: big and small, coastal and inland, east and west. These are marathons you may not be as familiar with but are well worth the miles. Kickstart Your Spring with One of These 10 Marathons

Spring is a welcome season as we relish all the rays of sun we can absorb and spend as much time as possible outside after months of being cooped up indoors. As such, spring is just about the best time of year to run a marathon. The not-too-hot & not-too-cold weather makes for ideal running conditions across the country. We’ve compiled a list of spring races, big and small, coastal and inland, east and west. These are marathons you may not be as familiar with, (you’ll notice Boston’s absence on the list) but are well worth the miles. From ocean views to extinct volcanoes to oyster “shooters” along the course, we’re excited about each of these upcoming spring marathons.

Newport Rhode Races

Where: Newport, RI
When: April 14, 2018

Not much else screams spring like running through 10,000 daffodils, and that’s just what you’ll do at this coastal marathon. Race coordinators like to call it a “dash through the daffodils.” Aside from the daffodils, this is a course you won’t want to miss. The first half features the best of Newport, showcasing its rocky shores, beautiful open vistas, historic mansions and more. Once you hit the halfway point at Easton’s Beach the course ramps up and takes runners past the local sites of Hanging Rock Surfers Edge to finish with even more gorgeous coastal views.

Blue Ridge Marathon

Where: Roanoke, VA
When: April 21, 2018

Head to Roanoke for “America’s Toughest Road Marathon.” The race earned the title from its 7,430 feet in elevation change, more than any other road race in the U.S. This marathon isn’t for the faint of heart. Throughout the marathon, runners cover three significant climbs and descents, with the most challenging part of the course at Roanoke Mountain, where runners embark on the 780 ft ascent up the mountain over two miles with multiple switchbacks. If that sounds daunting, don’t be discouraged. You’ll be distracted by gorgeous Blue Ridge Parkway. Though, do keep in mind that runners need to keep a 16:20 min a mile pace to complete the challenging marathon. Finishers will be rewarded with a complimentary beer and the pride in knowing they completed “America’s Toughest Road Marathon.” Plus, proceeds from the event benefit the parkway and local charities.

Garmin Marathon in the Land of Oz

Where: Olathe, KS
When: April 21, 2018

This Wizard of Oz themed marathon is in its 16th year, the year of Dorothy and is held just outside of Kansas City. All race swag (think t-shirts and medals) will follow suit in theme. If you need a little extra motivation, after crossing the finish line, runners will be privy to a complimentary beer or margarita. There will be free massages, an instructor lead post run yoga stretch and of course, plenty of snacks including protein balls. If the post race perks aren’t enough motivation, the top finishers in the female and male category will receive the Garmin Forerunner 935 running watch.

Salt Lake City Marathon

Where: Salt Lake City, UT
When: April 21, 2018

The readers of Salt Lake City Weekly voted this marathon as the best running event in all of Utah and with a course ideal for any level of marathoner, it’s hard not to agree. Runners are taken on a scenic and slightly downhill course offering views of snow-capped peaks from the Wasatch Mountains while running through the valley floor of spring blossoms. In 2002, Salt Lake City hosted the Winter Olympics and since 2004, when the marathon made its debut, it has hosted an equally world class event. Plus a fun race perk: all finisher medals double as luggage tags so you can tout your marathon accomplishment wherever you go.

Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon

Where: Louisville, KY
When: April 28, 2018

The Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon and its counterpart the miniMarthon (half marathon) have become the largest day of road racing in Kentucky history. The race is part of the larger Derby festival, a whirlwind of over 70 events. Marathon participants will run along the infield of the iconic Churchill Downs. Plus, if you’re a local to the area, race coordinators have organized a free, 15 week training program to get you ready.

Big Sur International Marathon

Where: Carmel, CA
When: April 30, 2017

With a tagline like “running on the ragged edge of the Western world” how could you not be at least a little intrigued by this marathon? Voted “Best Destination Marathon” in 2012 by Competitor Magazine this certainly seems like one of those bucket-list marathons. The course is nothing short of dreamy, taking runners from Big Sur to Carmel on the scenic Highway 1, the nation’s first nationally-designated Scenic Highway. Runners will see towering redwoods and crashing waves throughout the course but its centerpiece, the iconic Bixby Bridge, is the at the halfway point of the marathon where runners will be greeted by a tuxedo wearing pianist playing a Yamaha Baby Grand Piano. Talk about motivation.

Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon

Where: Cincinnati, OH
When: May 6, 2018

How could you not want to run a marathon with a name like this? Flying pigs are a throwback to the city’s historical nickname “porkopolis” as it was a center of the meat packing industry in the 1800s. Pigs often ran through the downtown streets, which you’ll now be doing as a marathon runner. The race’s two-sided, three-dimensional medals are quite the hot commodity, race coordinators say some people run the marathon strictly for the unique medal. Other reasons might be the gradual downhill course over the second half of the race.

Shiprock Marathon

Where: Shiprock, NM
When: May 12 and 13, 2017

This has been the premiere race of the Four Corners region since 1984. The marathon boasts terrific terrain passing the “Tsé Bit’a’í” the Shiprock Pinnacle.  The namesake is a 27 million year old 1,583 foot monadnock or remnant of an extinct volcano. Runners will make their way to the Navajo Nation’s largest town, Shiprock, where the marathon finishes at Dine’ College. What used to be a relatively small race has grown to over 2,000 participants throughout its 34 year history. All proceeds of the race benefit the nonprofit Navajo Yes.

By Dicky Hayward (Flickr) [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Vermont City Marathon

Where: Burlington, Vermont​
When: May 27, 2018

This midsize races takes you through the heart of Ben & Jerry’s territory as you run past residential neighborhoods and downtown Burlington passing by the well known Marketplace filled with spectators. During the marathon runners will have views of the Adirondack Mountains and Lake Champlain. Mile 15 brings what’s known as the “Assault on Battery.” It’s six blocks up a hill called you guessed it– Battery Street. Followed is a steep downhill and then relatively flat course finishing at Waterfront Park with post-race festivities and cheering spectators.

Newport Marathon

Where: Newport, OR
When: June 3, 2017

This course is full of record breaking stats. Nearly half of all participants earn personal records. In 2004 the World Record marathon time for a 63 year old male was set by Herb Phillips of Burnaby B.C., Canada when he ran a 2:47:28 at the Newport Marathon. Plus, in 2009 a runner set the course’s oyster eating record when he slurped down 80 of them. Yes, you read that right. Along the course, at mile 11 and 19, Oregon Oyster Farms offers world famous Yaquina Bay Oyster “shooters” for all race participants. If that’s not enough, the race boast gorgeous coastal views and cool average race day temperatures around 50- 60 degrees. Plus runners will be greeted with beers and clam chowder at the finish area.