We're hopeful that 2021 will bring a return to normalcy in our world. As we all continue to help one another stay safe and healthy, we're looking forward to the possibility of getting back to our usual athletic endeavors--including the awe and excitement surrounding marathon running! We've compiled a list of the top marathons all over the world that we can't wait to get a chance to participate in sometime soon!
What makes a good marathon a good marathon? Well, it all depends on who you ask. For some, it’s the size — the biggest is the New York Marathon, drawing more than 50,000 runners each year — while for others it’s the prestige, the history or the scenery along the route. As such, it is extremely difficult to rank the top marathons in the world in an objective manner.
However, the following six are universally regarded as some of the best bucket-listers for serious runners. And they’re definitely some faves among Armpocket fans! They also just so happen to be the six marathons that are part of the Abbott World Marathon Majors, a series of the biggest and most renowned marathons across the globe.
- Boston Marathon — Every April, Bostonians enjoy the day off work (the regional holiday on marathon day is known as Patriots’ Day) to watch some 30,000 registered participants run the streets. The marathon is often ranked at the top of the list because it’s the world’s oldest — it was first held in Boston on April 19, 1897. Of course, it also has tragically historical significance due to the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombings.
- Chicago Marathon — Held on the first or second Sunday in October, the Chicago Marathon draws over 45,000 participants each year, making it one of the biggest in the world. The marathon’s loop course begins and ends at Grant Park and traverses through 29 of Chicago’s neighborhoods and past Wrigley Field, Soldier Field and more.
- New York City Marathon — The biggest marathon in the world by participation, the New York City Marathon, begins on Staten Island and covers all five boroughs, ending in Central Park. It’s not an easy 26.2 for participants, though. The hilly, bridge-filled route brings plenty of sights and plenty of ups and downs. The New York City Marathon is always held on the first Sunday in November.
- London Marathon — Typically held annually at the end of April, the London Marathon draws serious runners and casual competitors alike. In fact, runners are known to don costumes along the route, with many world records set for fastest times in unique outfits. For example, the world record for the fastest person dressed as a shoe was 4 hours, 14 minutes at the London Marathon. The more you know!
- Tokyo Marathon — Though it was founded more recently than the rest (2007), the Tokyo Marathon is still one of the most popular and prestigious runs for elite marathoners. With a relatively flat, fun course, it draws massive crowds of over 30,000 runners annually. It’s set each year in the beginning of March.
- Berlin Marathon — Held each September in Berlin, Germany, this 26-miler is beloved among Europeans. When it was first founded in 1974, the race was only run in West Berlin. Since 1990, it has spanned both East and West Berlin and draws more than 41,000 participants. The historical significance alone makes this one worth running!
Running marathons is about more than just winning titles or getting fit. It’s also about connecting with other runners and exploring new cities and we can't wait until we're able to do that again safely!