Marathons are a popular and common goal for the “Life To-Do List”. Beginning runners often see the finish line at the end of 26.2 miles as the ultimate accomplishment of their training. Large marathons like the Boston Marathon and the New York marathon are reserved for experienced runners. One must be invited after proving the ability to run the race within a specified amount of time. Other marathons are challenging because of difficult courses, such as those with steep hills.
The marathon for your first time should be relatively flat and during temperate weather to reduce the risk of overheating. It helps to have entertainment along the way to keep up the momentum.
5 marathons that top many experienced runners’ lists of those good for beginners include:
Marine Corps Marathon (Washington DC)
With 30,000 participants in 2007, the MCM is the 5th largest marathon in the United States. Active.com has named the marathon “The Most Charitable,” as it has become a destination for many charity groups as a fundraiser. Oprah put the marathon in the public eye, when she ran in 1994 – her first ever marathon. The first 8 miles contain a few hills, but the majority of the race is flat, making it a good run for beginner marathoners. The downside of this marathon is that it is so popular that runners must enter a lottery. The 35th annual running of the race will be on October 31, 2010.
Disney World Marathon (Orlando, FL)
Florida is a always popular destination in the winter, particularly in January when runners turn out for the Disney World Marathon. To stay ahead of the heat, the race begins at 6am. The course runs through all four Disney theme parks and is fairly flat. In 2010, the marathon will be run on January 10th, but festivities leading up to the race will begin on January 7th.
Bank of America Chicago Marathon (Chicago IL)
October in the Windy City is cool, but the Chicago Marathon is one of the more popular races for beginners because of its scenic course, millions of encouraging spectators and a great staff of organizers and volunteers. More than 30,000 participants from all 50 states and more than 100 countries participate. The race also includes a 27th Mile Post-Race Party at Butler Field, which is an outdoor celebration with food and live entertainment. In 2010, the race will be run on Sunday, October 10th.
Rock N Roll Las Vegas Marathon (Las Vegas NV)
Las Vegas is known for its entertainment, which does not cease during the Rock N Roll Marathon. The course runs right through the famous Strip, and features Bengal tigers, Vegas showgirls, skydivers and a fireworks show. The race is run early while the weather is cool. The average temperature over the past four years of the event has been 50 degrees. The 2010 race is scheduled for December 5th.
Honolulu Marathon (Honolulu, HI)
The Honolulu Marathon has been run since 1973, when only 167 runners participated. Today, the race is the 8th largest in the world, with more than 28,000 registered for 2009. The course is very flat, with the highest point only 124 feet above sea level. The race begins early in the morning, 5am, so runners finish before the heat of the day. It's held on the second Sunday of December each year.