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If you're contemplating running a marathon, the first step should be selecting an appropriate race. Consider choosing something local or an out-of-state race that will keep your motivation levels up leading up to race day.
There are a wide variety of courses and distances for running, ranging from flat and fast to more difficult and scenic routes. It is important to consider your training preferences, such as whether or not you prefer point-to-point or loop running routes.
1. Marine Corps Marathon
Marine Corps Marathon (MCM), one of the world's largest and best beginner marathons, brings out both runners and spectators alike with its intense competition. Also dubbed as “The People's Marathon,” MCM does not award cash prizes – instead each participant earns an official medal upon finishing.
Since 1976, when Colonel Jim Fowler started the Marine Corps Marathon (MCM) as a way to promote Marine Corps membership and raise funds for various charities, its scenic course has featured national landmarks in Arlington and Washington DC for runners to experience while being cheered on by Marines along the course. Although challenging, MCM provides runners with an unforgettable experience; celebrities like Oprah can even turn out and run this event!
The MCM Marathon Qualifier draws runners from all 50 states and around the world, as it qualifies them to run the Boston Marathon. Alongside offering a marathon race, MCM also hosts 10K, 5K and Kids Run events; plus there's even Carbo Dining In before each race for last minute inspiration and carbs for runners!
The MCM start line can be found between Arlington National Cemetery and the Pentagon on Route 110 in Arlington, VA. Runners can catch the Metro to reach it but should use caution as Pentagon station could become exit-only before race start time. There are other public transportation options nearby as well, including Crystal City and Smithsonian stations. A post-race celebration takes place at the finish area, which features Marines who bestow medals as they offer their congratulations – it makes for a fantastic atmosphere! The crowds are loud and amazing.CHECK OUT OUR RUNNING COURSES
2. Steamtown Marathon
Starting out is no small undertaking, requiring physical fitness and strong endurance to cover 26.2 miles over marathon distance. But with proper preparation and the selection of an appropriate marathon race for beginners can help them meet their goals without becoming overwhelmed. While selecting a beginner-friendly marathon may seem intimidating, there are plenty of beginner-friendly marathons across America available that could meet these criteria.
One of the best beginner marathons is Steamtown Marathon in Northeast Pennsylvania. This Boston qualifier and point-to-point course boasts city, waterfront and rural views that will leave runners feeling as though they are floating through the air. Though considered flat by New England standards, there are a few challenging hilly sections which may tire runners out over time – providing beginners with plenty of opportunity to soak in autumn beauty during this beautiful marathon course.
Fargo Marathon, held annually in downtown Fargo, offers full and half marathon runners an unforgettable experience. Renowned for its welcoming atmosphere and welcoming newcomers with special support services like jumbotron displays that display race finishes as well as bands and DJs who keep runners motivated throughout their race, this marathon stands out as an exceptional option.
Disney World Marathon offers runners looking to experience running through a theme park an ideal opportunity for their first marathon experience in an enjoyable, festive environment. Rated flat by experts, runners will experience breathtaking sights while running through each park before winding back towards Runner's Village for relaxation and celebration of accomplishments at race's end.
3. Ogden Marathon
Ogden stands out among top 10 best beginner marathons for many reasons, not the least of which being its scenic road running course that winds its way through mountainous landscapes, rivers, and runs into downtown city streets. Every year runners from across America come to take part in this race – many Facebook reviews praise its organizers for their professionalism and excellence!
Ogden Canyon provides stunning views of open roads, green fields, a rushing river, and cascading waterfalls – a challenging course for first-time runners, but their beautiful surroundings and volunteer support is enough to keep them going forward.
Ogden offers full and half marathon races as well as 12K (5K), and relay (5 legs). While full and half marathon events are point-to-point races, other distances include looped races. No matter which distance you choose to run in Ogden, you will experience different parts of its city!
If you aren't ready to commit to running either the full or half marathons yet, the Granite Construction Kids K is an alternative option that does not count towards timed marathon finish lines.
The Ogden Marathon attracts an abundance of locals each year. Many reside near or live close by the course, which helps reduce costs to participate. For first-time marathoners, having someone nearby to cheer them along at each milestone makes a huge difference to their race experience; having familiar faces cheering you across the finish line helps ease nerves while simultaneously celebrating your achievement! It is no secret why this event has such high esteem among participants.
4. Disney World Marathon
Are You New to Running and Want Your First Marathon Experience? Consider This Race As Your Guide. It provides a friendly environment, where runners feel welcome and encouraged to participate. Plus, race organizers offer plenty of support – perfect for beginners just starting out!
The Napa Valley Marathon offers participants an idyllic course through picturesque vineyards and wineries in Napa Valley, providing stunning vistas to keep runners motivated while running. Plus, with no lost-footage issues or extra miles covered during this point-to-point race format, runners won't have to worry about extra distance being covered or getting lost along their course!
Austin Marathon provides runners looking to experience something different with their marathon destination experience with breathtaking city and waterfront views that provide a challenging run, while still remaining relatively flat with only minor hills to navigate. Beginners may find this marathon ideal.
Disney World Marathon provides another ideal marathon experience for beginners. This event boasts plenty of entertainment and excitement as runners run through four Walt Disney World theme parks and ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, meeting plenty of Disney characters along the course and having their photos taken along the race. Furthermore, its flat and fast course makes this marathon course ideal for novice runners.
Register early if you're planning on participating in this marathon as registration typically closes before summer begins. The race offers an enjoyable, welcoming experience for runners of all levels; participants will likely see high school cheering squads, bands, DJs and dancers as they run.
5. Napa Valley Marathon
Since 1979, the Napa Valley Marathon has earned itself a stellar reputation on the West Coast as a scenic race. The USATF-certified course takes runners through beautiful Napa wine country from Calistoga along the Silverado Trail all the way to Vintage High School in North Napa with only minor rolling hills along its course – perfect for beginner marathoners seeking an inspiring course while experiencing wine country at first hand!
The Napa Valley Marathon is one of the best beginner marathons and has long been dedicated to fostering quality road racing while supporting local community causes. Over its many years of operation, this race has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to local charities. Main charitable beneficiaries include supporting student athletes through programs and scholarships as well as contributing to the Napa Valley Food Bank.
Running through vineyard scenery, runners will delight in the breathtaking vineyard views on the Napa Valley Marathon's point-to-point course from Calistoga to downtown Napa. After six miles, which feature some rolling hills, it remains level and gradually declines toward its conclusion.
Spectators can watch runners traverse the picturesque Napa Valley countryside from the sidelines. After the race, participants can celebrate their achievement with wine tasting and delectable fare at local restaurants; plus post-race massages and an award for finishing.
Running a marathon is an immense achievement for any runner, but it is essential that they remember they need support through both training and race day. Napa Valley provides ample amenities that will ease their journey while celebrating their achievement.LEARN MORE ABOUT OUR TRAINING PLANS