The Top-10 Best Spring/Summer Marathons to Run

Marc Lindsay
by Marc Lindsay
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The Top-10 Best Spring/Summer Marathons to Run

If you’re looking to sign up for a spring or summer marathon, these 10 races, located across the U.S., should do the trick. From bucket-list races like the Boston Marathon to small, secluded destination events like the Steamboat Marathon in Colorado or the super scenic Big Sur Marathon, the 2018 race calendar has something for everyone.

1. ASHEVILLE MARATHON
March 18, 2018 | Asheville, North Carolina

Photo Credit: Blake Lewis

One of the most scenic races in the U.S., this marathon takes place in the Blue Ridge Mountains on the Biltmore Estate, which was built by George Washington Vanderbilt II in the 19th century and is known for being America’s largest backyard. What makes this race interesting is the diverse terrain you’ll face along the rustic banks of the French Broad River, ranging from groomed gardens to untamed trails.

2. LOS ANGELES MARATHON
March 18, 2018 | Los Angeles, California

Photo Credit: Gustavo.tejal

From Dodger Stadium to the Santa Monica shore, the L.A. Marathon takes runners past many of the city’s famous landmarks. Whether it’s Hollywood, Beverly Hills or Chinatown, you’ll have plenty to occupy your mind on the way to the finish. Once you reach the Santa Monica Pier, a post-race party rewards your hard day’s effort.

3. CHARLOTTESVILLE MARATHON
April 7, 2018 | Charlottesville, Virginia

Photo Credit: Bob Mical

Commonly referred to as one of the most beautiful races on the East Coast, the race begins in historic Court Square and winds along the Rivanna River before making its way to the finish. The event showcases plenty of natural beauty and Charlottesville’s rich architectural heritage. Afterward, the area’s music, nightlife and craft beer scene will be on full display for all to enjoy.

4. BOSTON MARATHON
April 16, 2018 | Boston, Massachusetts

Photo Credit: Jerome Rogich

A true bucket-list race for any runner, this marathon is worth the effort it takes to qualify. Known as Marathon Monday, the race takes place on Patriot’s Day, and will be held for the 122nd time in 2018. Heartbreak Hill on Mile 20 is one of the historic points of the race and is known to draw crowds as large as 500,000 to cheer on participants. The field is limited to 36,000 runners, and age-based qualifying times will be needed to draw entry.

5. BIG SUR INTERNATIONAL MARATHON
April 29, 2018 | Carmel, California

Photo Credit: Eric Brunstad

The largest rural marathon in the world, the breathtaking views you’ll get on this point-to-point race on Highway 1 make this one of the most unique marathons around. Keep in mind that, though you’ll experience plenty of natural beauty, the race itself is no cupcake. Runners take on 13 hills during the last 13 miles to truly test will and fitness.

6. CINCINNATI FLYING PIG MARATHON
May 6, 2018 | Cincinnati, Ohio

Photo Credit: Justin Walther

Known for being one of the best party marathons around, this race “flies” through the neighborhoods and bridges of Cincinnati, Covington, Newport and Columbia Township. Though the first half features some hills, the second half is almost completely downhill so you can cruise to the finish. A 3D medal and an amazing post-race party with refreshments are some of the highlights.

7. SUGARLOAF MARATHON
May 20, 2018 | Eustis, Maine

Photo Credit: max hahaha

Maine’s oldest marathon, Sugarloaf takes place in one of the most popular ski resort areas in the east. Though the course provides plenty of mountain scenery along the Carrabassett River, this race is mostly downhill — making it a good option for beginners or anyone looking to qualify for Boston. Though the race is a smaller event, it’s well-organized and features plenty of spectator support.


READ MORE > THE MAJOR MARATHON CHEAT SHEET


8. STEAMBOAT MARATHON
June 3, 2018 | Steamboat Springs, Colorado

Photo Credit: jgagnon

With the snow-capped Rocky Mountains as the background, this stunning race along the Elk River is one of the top destination marathons in the country. Endless green pastures and waterfront views are some of the scenic highlights you’ll enjoy on this peaceful course with a small, hometown feel. Afterward, runners are invited to take a dip in one of the area’s historic hot springs, which should help to relax aching muscles.

9. SAN FRANCISCO MARATHON
July 29, 2018 | San Francisco, California

Photo Credit: David Yu

Waterfront miles along the Embarcadero and Fisherman’s Wharf and a chance to run on the Golden Gate Bridge are a few of the rare treats you’ll experience during the SF marathon. Cooler temperatures and a loop course through one of the most beautiful cities in the U.S. make this one of the top marathons during the summer months.

10. CRATER LAKE RIM MARATHON
August 11, 2018 | Crater Lake National Park, Oregon

Photo Credit: James Collins

Run along the rim of Crater Lake where the rugged mountains and high altitude are sure to provide a challenge. But no matter which way you look, runners take in some truly majestic, one-of-kind views. In addition to the marathon, a 6.7- and 13-mile run are also options along with a 6.7-mile walk.

About the Author

Marc Lindsay
Marc Lindsay

Marc is a freelance writer based in Scottsdale, Arizona. He holds a master’s degree in writing from Portland State University and is a certified physical therapy assistant. An avid cyclist and runner of over 20 years, Marc contributes to LAVA, Competitor and Phoenix Outdoor magazines. He is the former cycling editor for Active.com.  

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