How To Run America’s 20 Biggest Marathons in 2015

How To Run America's Biggest Marathons in 2015

The finish of the 2014 TCS New York City Marathon (Photo: Courtesy of NYRR)

Registration for the 2015 TCS New York City Marathon lottery opened on Thursday, January 15, which means one thing: marathon registration season is here!

Here’s how and when to register for the 20 biggest marathons in the U.S. Some of them are even among the biggest marathons in the world. And guess what? Most of them sell out before race day.

Half-marathoners, keep in mind that many of these events have 13.1-mile races the same weekend. So if you don’t want to go 26.2, you’ve still got options.

20 Biggest Marathons in the U.S.

1. TCS New York City Marathon

New York
50,266 finishers in 2013
#1 in the U.S. and #1 in the world
Next race: November 1, 2015
Registration: Lottery open now until February 15, 2015 at 11:59 p.m. EST. Drawing is March 3, 2015. Charity entries will become available in March through most groups. Entry via Team For Kids available now. Entry via International Travel Partners will also be available.
Half Marathon? No

2. Bank of America Chicago Marathon

Illinois
38,879 finishers in 2013
#2 in the U.S. and #2 in the world
Next Race: October 11, 2015
Registration: Lottery opens March 10-April 21. Charity entries will be available.
Half Marathon? No

3. Marine Corps Marathon

Washington, D.C.
23,380 finishers in 2013
#3 in the U.S. and #8 in the world
Next Race: October 25, 2015
Registration: Lottery opens March 13-22, 2015. Selected runners will be notified on March 25. Charity entries will available. Bib transfers will also be available.
Half Marathon? No

4. Honolulu Marathon

Hawaii
22,064 finishers in 2013
#4 in the U.S. and #9 in the world
Next Race: December 13, 2015
Registration: Open now for Hawaii residents. Opens January 19 for U.S. and Canadian residents. Not a lottery and no field cap, so it doesn’t sell out.
Half Marathon? No

5. Walt Disney World Marathon

Florida
20,734 finishers in 2013
#5 in the U.S. and #10 in the world
Next Race: January 10, 2016
Registration: Opens April 28, 2015. Not a lottery, but the 2014 race sold out in August in just under four months.
Half Marathon? Yes. Registration opens at the same time as the marathon. Run both and get a special medal for completing Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge.

6. ASICS LA Marathon

California
19,534 finishers in 2013
#6 in the U.S. and #11 in the world
Next race: March 15, 2015
Registration: Open now. Not a lottery, but the 2014 race sold out before the end of February in just under five months.
Half Marathon? No

7. Boston Marathon

Massachusetts
17,600 finishers in 2013 (not counting the 5,633 runners who didn’t finish because of the bombings)
#7 in the U.S. and #14 in the world
Next Race: April 20, 2015
Registration: Closed. Next registration window for 2016 qualifiers will open Fall 2015. Charity entries are available.
Half Marathon? No

8. GORE-TEX Philadelphia Marathon

Pennsylvania
10,909 finishers in 2013
Next race: November 22, 2015
Registration: Opens April 1, 2015. Not a lottery, but the race typically sells out in October from one month to a few weeks before race day. Charity entries are available.
Half Marathon? Yes. It also typically sells out a month before race day.

9. Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon

Minnesota
8,857 finishers in 2013
Next Race: October 4, 2015
Registration: Opens February 3, 2015. Not a lottery, but the 2014 race sold out in early July after five months.
Half Marathon? No, but the event hosts a 10-miler with a lottery that opens July 8, 2015.

10. Portland Marathon

Oregon
6,956 finishers in 2013
Next Race: October 4, 2015
Registration: Open now. The 2014 race sold-out a month in advance.
Half Marathon? Yes. Open now. The 2015 Portland Half Marathon is filling quickly and will close in January, per the race website.

11. Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Marathon

California
6,542 finishers in 2013
Next Race: May 31, 2015
Registration: Open now. Not a lottery, but the race has sold out anywhere from two months to a few days before race day.
Half Marathon? Yes

12. Chevron Houston Marathon

Texas
6,530 finishers in 2013
Next Race: January 18, 2015
Registration: Closed. Early registration for 2016 opens January 18, 2015 at 3 p.m. CT and closes January 22, 2015 or when 10,000 entries are sold. Guaranteed and charity entries open May 6-31, 2015. General registration opens June 3, 2015.
Half Marathon? Yes

13. California International Marathon

California
6,205 finishers in 2013
Next Race: December 6, 2015
Registration: Opens March 1, 2015. Not a lottery, but the 2014 race sold-out in August.
Half Marathon? No, but the Relay Challenge lets runners tackle the marathon in teams of two, three or four.

14. San Francisco Marathon

California
5,827 finishers in 2013
Next Race: July 26, 2015
Registration: Open now. Not a lottery, and doesn’t typically sell out.
Half Marathon? Yes, two of them! Runners can register to run the first or second half of the marathon. The first half typically sells out.

15. St. George Marathon

Utah
5,819 finishers in 2013
Next Race: October 3, 2015
Registration: Lottery opens April 3-May 4, 2015 at 11:59 p.m. Mountain time. Charity entries will be available.
Half Marathon? No

16. Grandma’s Marathon

Minnesota
5,620 finishers in 2013
Next Race: June 20, 2015
Registration: Open now
Half Marathon? Yes. Lottery opens February 9-20, 2015.

17. Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon

Ohio
5,606 finishers in 2013
Next Race: October 18, 2015
Registration: Opens February 1, 2015. The 2014 race sold out in early September.
Half Marathon? Yes

18. Dick’s Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon

Pennsylvania
4,834 finishers in 2013
Next Race: May 3, 2015
Registration: Open now. The 2014 race sold out in March.
Half Marathon? Yes

19. Anthem Richmond Marathon

Virginia
4,798 finishers in 2013
Next Race: November 14, 2015
Registration: Open now
Half Marathon? Yes

20. Nike Women’s Marathon San Francisco

California
4,376 finishers in 2013. No marathon in 2014, half-marathon only.
Next Race: TBA. Typically October
Registration: Lottery TBA
Half Marathon? Yes, via lottery TBA

Statistics are pulled from the 2014 Running USA Annual Marathon Report.

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Karla Bruning

About 

Karla Bruning is a race announcer at the TCS New York City Marathon + other major events, TV host for the Panasonic New York City Triathlon + regular contributor to Shape + Redbook online. She used to report for Newsweek but spent her free time squeezing in workouts. Now it's her job. She's run 8 marathons, 30 halves, 10 triathlons + open water swims, spoils her dog + travels compulsively.

18

01 2015

13 Comments Add Yours ↓

The upper is the most recent comment

  1. Pam #
    1

    So excited to be running Boston this year. I also have NYC Marathon on my radar. This week I entered the lottery with a time qualification. I hope that gives me a better chance for a spot!
    Pam recently posted..Weekly Roundup January 18thMy Profile

    • Karla Bruning
      2

      So exciting that you’re going to check off America’s two premier races in the same year! Hope 2015 brings you endless miles of great running!

  2. 3

    Just entered the NYC marathon. Praying I get in.
    Abby @BackatSquare0 recently posted..Lose Weight & Win Money – Join My DietBetMy Profile

  3. 5

    Thanks very much for this well-organized and useful list. Time to get planning!

    • Karla Bruning
      6

      Happy to help! There’s nothing worse in running than finding out the race you wanted to do has already sold out!

  4. Pam #
    7

    After commenting on this post a couple days ago, I got my acceptance email into NYC Marathon, your number 1 race on the list. Do you have any suggestions of books/blogs I can read to prepare for the race. I am a runner nerd that likes to know everything I can before race day. Hope to see you in NYC!
    Pam recently posted..Boston Marathon Training: must have running accessoriesMy Profile

    • Karla Bruning
      8

      Congratulations, Pam! That’s awesome that you got in through qualification! So much better than waiting out the lottery. One book I’d recommend is “A Race Like No Other” by Liz Robbins, which is an in-depth look at the NYC Marathon. It will definitely get you excited for and familiarized with the race!

  5. 9

    This is super helpful! I reeeeeally want to run NYC again, but there are so many awesome races on this list! :)
    Jennifer @ The Final Forty recently posted..Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend: The ExpoMy Profile

    • Karla Bruning
      10

      So many races and so little time! I’ve run NYC 3 times, but have enjoyed doing other races too. Slowly working my way down this list–I’ve checked off Chicago, Disney, Philadelphia & Nike. Just registered for Honolulu!

  6. 11

    I have 2 of these on my calendar this year – Pittsburgh in the Spring and Marine Corps (which I’d deferred from last year) in the Fall. It will be my first time running Marine Corps, but I heartily recommend the Pittsburgh Marathon. I may be biased since it is my hometown, but it is a fun, challenging race that I find to be the perfect size. Not too crowded, but enough runners to be exciting, and the spectators and gorgeous views of the city are plentiful!

  7. INGY #
    13

    karla u r sooooooooooooo pretty


2Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. How And When To Register For The 15 Biggest Marathons In The U.S. | Run, Karla, Run! 18 01 15
  2. ASICS LA Marathon Hosts Ryan Hall, USA Marathon Champs | Run, Karla, Run! 27 01 15

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