Runners at the Marine Corps Marathon. (Photo: Cpl. Bryan G. Lett/US Marine Corp)
Still deciding what marathon you want to run in the next 12 months? I am! The 15 biggest marathons in the U.S. are a common place to start.
Over the last few months, I’ve been posting when lotteries and registrations open for many popular races, from large runDisney events to a small 7-miler in Key West, half-marathons in New York to major marathons all over the U.S. It’s always frustrating to discover a race you want to run is already sold-out.
So here’s how and when to register for America’s 15 biggest marathons. 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.
Though less famous than its bigger fall siblings like the TCS New York City Marathon, Bank of America Chicago Marathon and Marine Corps Marathon, the GORE-TEX Philadelphia Marathon has the distinction of being a world-class fall marathon that you can simply register for. No complicated lotteries, no qualifying standards, no registration drama. So if you got shut out of any of the aforementioned lotteries, I recommend Philly as a great alternative. In fact, I’ve sung its praises to many a runner looking for a big city race with a small town feel.
Pausing for a photo opp just before a PR finish at the Philadelphia Marathon. (Photo: RunKarlaRun.com)
I ran the Philadelphia Marathon in 2012 to a 17-minute personal best. I would definitely call this a PR-course in general if you’re trained for a few hills. I ran that year with about a dozen friends and teammates, including my husband. Most of us walked away with personal best times. And it’s a race I would absolutely consider running again.
The Philadelphia Marathon 2014 weekend includes the marathon and half marathon on Sunday, November 23, the Rothman Institute 8K and Kids Fun Run on Saturday, November 22, and a two-day Health & Fitness Expo that’s free and open to the public on Friday, November 21, and Saturday, November 22. The race often sells out its 30,000 bibs, split between the three race distances, anywhere from a month to a few weeks before race day. More than 25,000 runners finished races in 2013 race, and organizers say 60,000 spectators came out to cheer them on. Read the rest of this entry →
The Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon Course Map
Well, this is it folks. In a little over 60 hours I’ll be at the starting line of the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. You’d think that after running six marathons, wrapping my brain around that prospect would get easier. But somehow it never does.
As always, it’s been a long and winding road to get to this point.
Running the Kaua’i Half Marathon (Photo: RunKarlaRun.com)
I started off marathon training season the wrong way: with a hip injury I sustained from falling off a horse. One month of physical therapy and two triathlons later, I was finally ready to focus on running long again.
Smiles for women’s cut race shirts at the 2012 Tinker Bell Half Marathon. (Photo: runDisney)
An Open Letter To Race Directors Everywhere
Dear Race Directors,
Earlier this year, runDisney announced they are offering women’s cut running shirts at the 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon in addition to the “unisex” race shirts they’ve handed out for the last 20 years.
Women all across the U.S. shouted a collective “Amen!” to Disney’s news. Why? We’ve been grumbling about this for years: under our breath, to other runners, and, on occasion, to you.
Disney recognized what you should too: women now account for the majority of runners. The tide has turned and women are the main driver in the current running boom.
So here are all of the reasons why you should have women’s cut running shirts at your next major race as part of your registration kit. Read the rest of this entry →
Kim Smith passes the Cyclone roller coaster on her way to victory at the Brooklyn Half. She ran the race as a half marathon training run. (Photo: NYRR)
Sometimes races aren’t about racing. Toeing the line in competition is exhilarating, but sometimes it’s good to use the occasional race as a training run or fun run, especially during half marathon training.
Kim Smith won the 2013 Brooklyn Half on May 18 in a new course record of 1:11:24. But the three-time Olympian from New Zealand who lives and trains in Providence, RI wasn’t even racing. She ran the half-marathon as a tempo-pace training run, as she told me in pre- and post-race interviews for “NYRR On The Run at the Brooklyn Half.”
“I’m going to treat it as a workout,” Smith told me at the race pre-party the day before.
Indeed, Smith’s half-marathon personal best is 1:07:11, a full four-minutes faster than her finish time in Brooklyn.
“It was a pretty relaxed effort,” Smith said after the race. “I didn’t go all out.”
She said she’s training for the track season and will be back in New York City on Saturday, June 8 to race the Oakley New York Mini 10K, a New York Road Runners event that usually attracts a stellar competitive field. The women-only race boasts a $10,000 prize for first place, and past champions include the legendary Grete Waitz, Olympic-medalist Deena Kastor and World Champions Lornah Kiplagat, Edna Kiplagat and Linet Masai.
Kim Smith breaks the tape at the 2013 Brooklyn Half in course record time, though 4 minutes slower than her personal best. (Photo: NYRR)
I found Smith’s decision to run, but not race, really encouraging. Never mind the fact that not racing for her still might mean winning and scoring a course record. What’s important is that she set-out to do the race as a half marathon training run and did just that.
In my mind, there are three types of races for mid-packers like me: personal record attempts, training runs, and fun runs. Pros and elite runners have a fourth type that will likely elude me my entire running career: running for the win or the podium. Though I did once place in the top 10 women at a small local race, out of 65 ladies. While that will likely be my claim to fame for a long time, the other three types of runs will always have a place in my racing repertoire, especially during half marathon training. Read the rest of this entry →
The Walt Disney World Marathon (Photo: Marathon Foto)
Last week marked the sixth anniversary of my very first running race back in 2007. Last fall, I chronicled how I went from a person who loathed running to someone who loves it. How much do I love it? Over these last six years, I’ve run 53 running races with number 54, the UnitedHealthcare Providence Half Marathon, in one week and numbers 55, 56 and 57 already on the books.
Looking back at six years of racing, it occurred to me that certain races have a special place in my heart. Every runner has that race they look forward to every year, the race they’ve always dreamed of running, the race that moved them in unexpected ways. These are mine.
So without further ado, here are my “Races to Remember,” the running races that left the biggest impressions on me, culled from my six years out there on the road.
So every week, I’ll countdown to the Disney marathon with the Disney running profile of a different Disney character. Yes, in addition to being a running nerd, I am a Disney running nerd too. Drum roll please…
Sleeping Beauty: The Runner Who Needs Rest and Recovery
Let’s face it, no other Disney running character could possibly own the time honored running tradition of rest and recovery quite like Sleeping Beauty. Sleeping Beauty is the runner who needs to take a few weeks off, even if she doesn’t want to, whether it’s to recover from a marathon or a more pernicious injury. Read the rest of this entry →
Visiting the Philly Finish the day before the race.
The Philadelphia Marathon is a big city race with a small town feel. Unlike more crowded marathons like New York and Chicago, runners wander into corrals just 15 minutes or so before the race’s 7 a.m. start. The vibe is relaxed and unhurried. There’s no closing time given for the baggage trucks or corrals, for that matter. It feels like the city simply wants you to relax and have a good time. Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter is at the start and the finish passing out high-fives to runners, setting the tone for a friendly, flat and fast course. With 11,617 finishers, the 2012 race on November 18 was the largest in the city’s history. Another 10,921 runners finished the half-marathon.
It’s been an eventful training season for the Philadelphia Marathon on November 18. As always with marathon training, I’ve enjoyed plenty of highs and lows over the course of the last few months. But marathon training comes down to this–how ready you are on race day. I’m ready to tackle Philly with a vengeance and leave all my cares out on the course in an attempt at my marathon personal record. Read the rest of this entry →
The running life is like any other life—fraught with pitfalls and challenges, but also rewards and joys. And I’ve experienced them all. Some lessons I learned the hard way and others were pleasant surprises. Some are obvious, but not necessarily if you’re a new runner. Some are humorous and some are serious. But all of them are worth heeding.
I hope to keep adding to my trove of running wisdom over the course of my next 50 races and beyond—which begins with the Philadelphia Marathon on Nov. 18. But for now, here are a few nuggets from my running wisdom treasure trove, in no particular order. Read the rest of this entry →
The Staten Island course is an out-and-back jaunt along the waterfront that tours runners through the eastern side of the island, with lovely views of Manhattan to the north and past the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge—famous as the start of the ING New York City Marathon. We ran through busy neighborhood centers, industrial back roads and residential streets, past shops, jovial construction workers who cheered us on and locals watching from their porches. Read the rest of this entry →
It’s seven weeks into my 16-week training plan for the Philadelphia Marathon on Nov. 18, 2012. To inject a little excitement into my training routine and get me pumped to run Philly for the first time, I put together a Philadelphia Marathon Running Playlist.
Here are just a few songs about the City of Brotherly Love, in no particular order, that make for good running company. Enjoy and please list any great Philly running songs I may have missed in the comments!
Hands down, this ode to the Philadelphia 76ers and the highways of Philly is my favorite song about the City of Brotherly Love. It will help you find your running groove for sure. Read the rest of this entry →
In years past, I’ve written about my running adventures while on vacation--beachfront runs in Australia, stumbling upon a marathon in Argentina and treadmill workouts in India. Running on vacation, or sight-running, as I like to call it, is one of my favorite ways to see a new place. There’s no better way to get to know a new city or patch of countryside than to run it.
So what do you do when your vacation seems to be in an anti-running destination? What do you do when there’s nowhere to run? Read the rest of this entry →
The Philadelphia Marathon is on Nov. 18, 2012 (Photo: Philadelphia Marathon)
It’s that time of year again…dun dun dun! Marathon training starts! This year, I’m running the 2012 Philadelphia Marathon on Nov. 18. In just under 18 weeks, I’ll be at the starting line in the City of Brotherly Love, hopefully prepared to tackle my fifth tango with 26.2. Read the rest of this entry →
On June 17, 2012, a triathlete was born. She emerged from the waters of the Long Island Sound, swathed in a wetsuit, and said to anyone who would listen, “I am triathlete. Watch me swim, bike and run.”
The Long Island Gold Coast Sprint Triathlon was only my second attempt at the crazy art of mashing three sports into one. The first was last summer at the Peterborough Sprint Triathlon in the Subaru Triathlon Series in Ontario, Canada. I did the race with my triathlon partner in crime, Tania, a Toronto native. We had so much fun that we decided to make it an annual ritual.
Come Sunday morning at 5 a.m. we departed New York City to do it all over again: a half-mile swim, 11.5 mile bike and 3 mile run. Read the rest of this entry →
I’m not the fastest runner and I’m not the slowest, but I am a running nerd. A journalist by trade, I love to research, read, learn and cogitate. So stick with me. Like all good nerds, I’ll do the homework and share it. But the running is up to you!