The World’s Most Famous Spring Marathons


Some of the world’s most famous marathons happen before summer arrives. Keep these noteworthy events in mind for future spring marathons, but remember—they sell out in a heartbeat.

 Tokyo Marathon

Date: Feb. 22

Place: Tokyo

Inaugural year: 2007, although it was actually two different marathons alternating years, going back to 1981

Course info: This marathon, while often rainy, takes runners right past the Imperial Palace gardens.

Course records: 2:05:42, Dickson Chumba (KEN), 2014; 2:22:23, Tirfi Tsegaye (ETH), 2014

Fun fact: One of the World Marathon Majors as of 2013, the Tokyo Marathon is one of the hardest races in the world to get an entry to compete.

What to expect this year: As of Dec. 9, both 2012 Olympic marathon champions—Stephen Kiprotich and Tiki Gelana—were confirmed to compete in this year’s event.

LA Marathon

Date: March 15

Place: Los Angeles

Inaugural year: 1986

Course info: Long a downtown-centric course, since 2010 the point-to-point Stadium to Sea route starts at Dodger Stadium and ends at Santa Monica Pier.

Course records: 2:06:35, Markos Geneti (ETH), 2011; 2:25:10, Lidiya Grigoryeva (RUS), 2006.

Fun fact: Race organizers estimated that 2,500 runners would sign up in its inaugural year. Instead, nearly 11,000 entered.

What to expect this year: A fast field. The LA Marathon will host the 2015 U.S. marathon championships with $150,000 total prize purse between top American finishers.

Boston Marathon

Date: April 20

Location: Boston

Inaugural year: 1897

Course info: The famous 26.2-mile journey from Hopkinton to Boston is a net downhill, with inclines through Newton, and, of course, Heartbreak Hill. The booming cheers the entire way make the course fly by.

Course records: 2:03:02, Geoffrey Mutai (KEN), 2011; 2:18:57, Rita Jeptoo (KEN) 2014

Fun fact: From 1897 to 1924, the course was 24.5 miles. The first edition featured 15 runners.

What to expect this year: Team MR8 will run again this year, raising money for the Martin W. Richard Charitable Foundation. Fifty-nine runners will compete in honor of the 2013 bomb victim.

London Marathon

Date: April 26

Location: London

Inaugural year: 1981

Course info: The course is flat and fast, largely taking place alongside the River Thames.

Course records: 2:04:29, Wilson Kipsang (KEN), 2014; 2:15:25, Paula Radcliffe (GBR), 2003

Fun fact: The 1908 Olympic marathon in London was the first marathon to become 26.2 miles—the course was extended so that the royal family could see the finish from their royal box in Olympic Stadium.

What to expect this year: The race will host the International Paralympic Committee marathon world championships in 2015.

Big Sur International Marathon

Date: April 26

Location: Big Sur, Calif.

Inaugural year: 1986

Course info: This hilly highway course winds along, and above, some of California’s most picturesque coastline.

Course records: 2:16:39, Brad Hawthorne (USA) 1987; 2:41:34, Svetlana Vasilyeva (RUS) 1996

Fun fact: Every year 370 runners compete in the Boston 2 Big Sur Challenge—running Boston and Big Sur six days and 3,000 miles apart.

What to expect this year: Seventeen “Grizzled Vets” have completed the race every year, and all of them are already registered for 2015.



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