Ready to lace up those sneakers and escape to an awe-inspiring destination? Consider these destination marathon choices for your inspiration.
It was just before sunrise. The air was frigid in the mountain town. The clouds parted, promising a gorgeous sunrise across the horizon. As runners hit start on their smart watches and sneakers began shuffling across pavement, the scenery did not disappoint. In true Smokey Mountain fashion, this half-marathon was a race to write home about.
Have you ever wanted to join in one of these races where the landscape is worth every mile? If so, don’t stop reading now. Check out these top five U.S. race destinations – if not for the run, but for the gorgeous scenery along the way.
1 – Big Sur International Marathon – California
Calling all rugged coastline fanatics who love to watch the ocean crash against jagged mountain cliffs. Throw in a literal piano player on the infamous Bixby Bridge, and you have yourself one marathon to write home about.
This race draws runners from all across the world – and its gorgeous scenery is all the reason why. This race is held in April, which boasts beautiful spring-like weather, that offers a challenging course with a pretty significant elevation gain.
2 – Grandma’s Marathon – Minnesota
Fancy a run along Lake Superior in mid-June with views of this grand lake for days? Look no further than Grandma’s Marathon. This race is a Boston qualifier and has been in existence since 1977.
This race begins in Two Harbors and takes runners down a scenic coastline for 26.2 glorious miles, finally ending in Duluth, Minnesota. If the water inspires you, this is the perfect race for you. This marathon also offers a half-marathon option where runners join the full marathon course midway.
3 – Mesa Marathon – Arizona
Looking for a unique experience in a bit of a drier climate, perhaps in the heart of the desert with cacti and sweeping views of the Phoenix Valley? This might just be the right marathon for you. The Mesa Marathon offers distances for all fitness levels, from the full marathon to a kids’ 1K.
This race, which is also a Boston qualifier, offers diverse scenery along the entire course. This marathon has grown in popularity for being a young race at only 10 years old. Perhaps it’s the unique landscape that has put this one on every runners’ bucket list.
4 – Niagra Falls International Marathon – New York
Go big or go home, quite literally. The deafening sound of Niagra Falls is the backdrop to this marathon held in October of each year. If you have ever wanted to experience this special landmark in a unique way, this race might be your perfect match.
This course offers spectacular views of the river along the course, where you can literally be a stone’s throw away from Canada.
5 – Honolulu Marathon – Hawaii
Destination, paradise. Ever dreamt of running in a tropical paradise with the ocean on all sides? The Honolulu Marathon may be your dream come true. This race, which is friendly to all runners by offering no time limit to finish, is held every December on this beautiful island.
Runners will take the course through downtown Honolulu, past Diamond Head and through Waikiki. Finishers will receive a course worth posting about, a medal at the finish line, as well as a delicious local malasadas.
However, if running is not your jive, make sure to check out these top five inspirational hikes that will make you open that airline app and book your flights pronto.
Need some more fitness and travel inspiration? Check out these ideas and suggestions from the MockingOwl Roost personal trainers, Dana & Rita.
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Meet Florida born-and-raised Dana Reeves: Wife, dog mom, certified personal trainer and lover of all things reading and writing. What began as a hobby in writing short stories while in school soon turned into a full-fledged passion for all things writing as an adult. She loves to create fiction, poetry and fitness-related articles. When Dana isn’t writing, she loves running, traveling with her husband and family, exploring the world via cruise ship, and, as always, searching the universe over for more exciting writing material.
You can follow her on Instagram or read her blog.