© Pikes Peak Marathon
Original Publication by USA Today 10Best
Article Courtesy of USA Today10Best
The United States hosts around 1,000 marathons every year, the largest of which see tens of thousands of endurance runners crossing the finish line and conquering the grueling 26.2-mile distance. To find the top races, 10Best editors and a panel of experts made their nominations, then readers voted for their favorites. Here are the 10 best marathons across the nation for 2023.
No. 10: Boston Marathon - Boston, Massachusetts
The Boston Marathon is one of the oldest and most prestigious marathon races in the world, first run in 1897. Taking place annually on Patriots' Day in April, the race begins in the town of Hopkinton and finishes near Copley Square. The Boston Marathon is known for its challenging course and enthusiastic crowds, attracting elite runners from around the world as well as thousands of amateur runners of all ages and abilities.
No. 9: New York City Marathon - New York City, New York
Known for its enthusiastic crowd support, the famous New York City Marathon embodies the spirit and energy of the city where it takes place. A celebration of diversity and inclusivity, runners from all over the world come together to participate in this iconic event. The course takes runners through all five boroughs of the city, starting in Staten Island and finishing in Central Park. Along the way, runners pass by many of the city's famous landmarks, including the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge, the Empire State Building and Times Square.
No. 8: Walt Disney World Marathon - Walt Disney World Resort - Orlando, Florida
Attracting around 20,000 participants, the Walt Disney World Marathon is one of the most popular annual marathons in the country. Runners experience the magical atmosphere of Disney World as the course winds through all four of its theme parks. Participants also encounter a variety of Disney characters and entertainment acts throughout the race.
No. 7: Hatfield McCoy Marathon - Williamson, West Virginia
The longest-running marathon in the states of Kentucky and West Virginia is the popular Hatfield McCoy Marathon, which traverses both states on its journey. Named after the infamous Hatfield-McCoy feud, the challenging course takes runners through the rugged and beautiful Appalachian Mountains and includes both road and trail sections.
No. 6: Big Sur International Marathon - Big Sur, California
Famed for its stunning views of the Pacific Ocean, rugged coastline and picturesque scenery, the Big Sur International Marathon is a favorite among runners and nature lovers alike. In addition to breathtaking vistas, this challenging course features significant elevation changes on its route from Big Sur, north along Highway 1, to the finish line in Carmel. The USATF-certified course has been called “one of the jewels of American running.”
No. 5: Humpy's Marathon - Anchorage, Alaska
Humpy's Marathon in Anchorage is part of the city's annual Runfest events. Expert Amy Bushatz says, "This road race in Alaska's largest city is known for its enthusiastic course support and free grilled cheese sandwiches at the finish line." Named after a popular local bar and restaurant, the challenging course takes runners through the scenic streets of downtown Anchorage, with views of the Chugach Mountains.
No. 4: Bank of America Chicago Marathon - Chicago, Illinois
One of the six World Marathon Majors, the Bank of America Chicago Marathon is typically held on the second Sunday in October. The flat, fast course takes runners past iconic Chicago landmarks on its journey through 29 neighborhoods, starting and finishing in Grant Park. This popular race attracts more than a million spectators and to participate, runners must apply through the race's lottery system or run for a charity team.
No. 3: Shiprock Marathon - Shiprock, New Mexico
Held the first weekend of May, the Shiprock Marathon takes runners through the rugged desert landscapes of the Navajo Nation. Along the way, participants enjoy a variety of live music to motivate runners, adding to this unique and memorable running experience.
No. 2: Marine Corps Marathon - Washington, D.C.
Known as "The People's Marathon," the Marine Corps Marathon honors the dedication and sacrifice of the United States Armed Forces. The race is known for its rich history and is one of the largest marathons in the world. With a course that winds through the streets of Arlington, Virginia and Washington, D.C., the route passes many of the area's famous landmarks and monuments, including the National Mall and the U.S. Capitol.
No. 1: Pikes Peak Marathon - Manitou Springs, Colorado
The Pikes Peak Marathon is considered one of the most challenging marathons in the world, with runners ascending and descending the 14,115-foot summit of Pikes Peak. In addition to the grade, the altitude can prove difficult for many runners. Despite the challenges, runners are rewarded with breathtaking views (literally) of the Rocky Mountains and the surrounding wilderness.
441 Manitou Ave, Suite 100
Manitou Springs, CO 80829
In 1972 Peter Strudwick did the Ascent in 4:20:29 and the Marathon in 7:02:28. What is so incredible about that you ask? Well, soon after his mother had caught rubella, commonly called German measles, Peter was born with legs that ended in stumps just past the ankles, a left arm that had only one thumb and a finger, and a right arm ending at the wrist.
When Zebulon Pike tried to ascend the mountain that would later be named after him he was turned back by the harsh weather. Many claim he said that no one would ever reach its summit. However, it is generally accepted that he meant on that day, under those conditions. The snow was waist deep and his men were not dressed for it and were out of food.
“Militant tobacco-hating physician” Dr. Arne Suominen from Delray Beach FL, became the founder of the modern day Pikes Peak races when he wrote a letter to the Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce in 1956 and challenged cigarette smokers to race him up and down Pikes Peak. 1956 Results