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Top 10 Winter Marathons in the United States

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Winter is a perfect time for a destination marathon, as it gives runners a chance to turn tough winter weather into an enjoyable vacation. If you don’t care about cold winter climates and love new challenges, check out the following ten U.S. winter marathons.

1. Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon

Where: Las Vegas, Nevada

When: November 13, 2016

The Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon offers a lot of fun and a spirit of Vegas, as it is arranged in the style of this resort city. This is one of the oldest U.S. marathons, which first took place in 1967. In the recent years, the venue itself has become a big pop culture phenomenon rather than an international race as it used to be. Most people choose to run the half marathon or a 6.55-mile “half of the half” marathon. The race starts at night on Las Vegas Boulevard, running through the famous downtown casino area. The finish line is placed on the strip near the Venetian and Mirage Casinos.


2. Seattle Marathon

Where: Seattle, Washington

When: November 27, 2016

The Seattle Marathon also has a long tradition, since it dates back to 1970. Besides full marathon, there is also a half marathon as well as the half marathon and marathon walks. The rolling course includes a few hilly sections, featuring great views of downtown Seattle and Lake Washington. It starts and finishes at 5th and Harrison near the Seattle Center, passing through downtown streets, beautiful Lake Washington, Seward Park, and Arboretum. This year, the race is set for 7:30 am and the number of places is limited to 15,000.


3. Honolulu Marathon

Where: Honolulu, Hawaii

When: December 11, 2016

The Honolulu Marathon takes place every second Sunday in December. This is one of the top 10 largest marathons in the United States. The 44th annual Honolulu Marathon will start on Ala Moana Boulevard at 5 am, so this the runners will be able to experience a sunrise during the race. The course runs along the breathtaking coastline, world-famous Waikiki Beach, historic Aloha Tower, and around Honolulu Zoo and Diamond Head (an extinct volcano). The finish line is in Waikiki near the Kapiolani Park Bandstand.


4. Texas Marathon

Where: Kingwood, Texas

When: January 1, 2017

This is a unique opportunity to begin next year with a marathon. The Texas Marathon first took place in 2000, and it’s now an annual marathon in Kingwood, Texas. The loop course starts and finishes at the Greentree Pool, passing through beautiful Lake Houston. The entire course is open to the public, and it runs on the concrete greenbelt paths.


5. Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Marathon

Where: Phoenix, Arizona

When: January 15, 2017

If music helps you keep focused and motivated during your running, then you should participate in the Arizona Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon. It includes both the marathon and half marathon races, which link three cities – Phoenix, Tempe, and Scottsdale. Along the entire course, there are numerous high school cheerleading teams and over 70 live bands performing diverse kinds of music. The race held annually before Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. The start of the race is located near the CityScape Plaza in downtown Phoenix. The course runs through picturesque Camelback Mountain, finishing at the Tempe Beach Park in the city of Tempe.


6. Miami Marathon

Where: Miami, Florida

When: January 29, 2017

The Miami Marathon is a high-energy race that offers scenic views of South Florida. The race is run on a spectator-friendly paved course, which is relatively flat. It starts at the American Airlines Arena, weaving through downtown over a few bridges, and along the famous Biscayne Bay. The finish line is located at Bayfront Park. Next year, you can join the 15th annual celebration of this great marathon, when it will welcome about 25,000 runners.


7. New Orleans Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon

Where: New Orleans, Louisiana

When: February 5, 2017

With race-day temperatures of 49 to 59 ℉, this winter marathon offers an ideal weather for running. The New Orleans Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon features a fast and flat course that starts on Poydras Street (near the Lafayette Square) and finishes at New Orleans City Park. Along the course, there are a variety of live bands who energize the runners. After the race, you can enjoy a great post-race concert.


8. A1A Marathon

Where: Fort Lauderdale, Florida

When: February 19, 2017

The Fort Lauderdale A1A Marathon is currently a Boston Marathon qualifier, which first took place in 2006. Today, this is one of the major events in Florida. The fast, flat course boasts beauty of South Florida, offering plenty of wonderful ocean views. The race features beach themed medals, a great on-course entertainment, as well as a post-race party with beverages, beer, food, and live music. For those who live in a cold climate, this is an excellent excuse to visit sunny Fort Lauderdale in winter.


9. Austin Marathon

Where: Austin, Texas

When: February 19, 2017

This is another U.S. marathon that is set for February 19, 2017. The Austin Marathon is also a Boston Marathon qualifier, and it attracts a lot of runners from all over the world every year. Keep in mind that places for this marathon fill quickly, so you are advised to register as soon as possible if you want to join 18,000 participants next year. Also, bear in mind that the route includes some challenging hills. The marathon will start at 16th Street and Congress Avenue (south of the Texas State Capitol), touching numerous Austin landmarks and historic areas, including Congress Avenue, Lady Bird Johnson Lake, the Colorado River, Hyde Park, the State Capitol complex, and the University of Texas campus. It will finish at 10th Street on Congress Avenue, near where it begins but south of the State Capitol. With 26 PowerAde and water stops as well as about 40 Austin bands, this is one of the best-supported marathon routes in the United States.


10. ASICS LA Marathon

Where: Los Angeles, California

When: March 19, 2016

The ASICS LA Marathon is a huge annual city marathon that hosts over 25,000 runners each spring in Los Angeles. Its iconic “Stadium to Sea” course takes runners on an amazing tour of Los Angeles , showcasing the major landmarks of this area. It starts at Dodger Stadium and finishes in Santa Monica. Along the way, the marathoners are supported by hundreds of thousands of spectators and numerous volunteers.


There is no real excuse for avoiding winter running. Check out these ten winter marathons, get prepared for them, and good luck.

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