Here Are The 9 Best Spring Marathons In The US

Depending on where you live, the idea of choosing a spring marathon is likely very appealing because you can use your spring marathon to help motivate you to keep running through the winter.

Plus, with fall marathons, you have to do long runs in the heat and humidity of the summer, which can be tough.

So, what are the best spring marathons in the US to choose from?

In this article, we will share our top picks for some of the best spring marathons in the United States to help you choose one to motivate you through winter running.

We will look at the following: 

  • What Are the Best Spring Marathons In the US?
  • The 9 Best Spring Marathons In The US

Let’s get started!

Runners celebrating.

What Are the Best Spring Marathons In the US?

Whether you are hoping to run your first marathon or you have run countless marathons in your day, one of the most common questions that marathon enthusiasts have is, “What are the best spring marathons in the US?

After all, running a marathon takes a considerable amount of training time, and most runners only run one or maybe two marathons per year (though there are exceptions!).

Therefore, you want to choose one of the best spring marathons to ensure your training culminates in a great race experience.

It’s important to establish that there isn’t a single definitive list of the “best spring marathons“ in the United States. Every marathon runner will have somewhat different criteria about what makes for the “best“ marathon to run in the spring.

People running a marathon.

Various factors play into what you may prioritize in a spring marathon race. 

Examples of factors to consider when trying to choose the best marathon to run for you include:

  • The location and proximity to your home
  • The field size
  • Whether you want an urban or small marathon, a road vs trail marathon, a flat and fast course, or a super challenging course
  • Pace groups and competitiveness of the field
  • Race date (when in the spring the marathon takes place)
  • Entry fees

For example, some runners prefer later spring marathons rather than ones that are right at the beginning of the spring season in March.

This is because if you live in the northern latitudes in the United States, Europe, or other countries in the northern hemisphere, the winter weather can be extremely unpredictable. You will likely have to contend with very limited daylight hours, snow, ice, and windy conditions.

People running a marathon.

But, if you choose a later spring marathon, your longer long runs at the peak of your training will occur in the early spring after the worst part of the winter is over.

On the other hand, if you don’t like running in the heat and you want to run a spring marathon in the southern US, it might be better to do an early spring marathon. 

Thus, choosing the best spring marathon for you is a matter of considering your priorities and marathon preferences. What may work well for one runner may be very unappealing to another.

That said, we have put together a list of some of the best spring marathons in the US by trying to select marathons that are well organized, very highly rated by finishers, and have different types of attributes to appeal to marathon runners with different goals and race preferences.

The 9 Best Spring Marathons In The US

Here are some of our top picks for the best spring marathons in the US:

Ribbons that say Boston Strong.

#1: Boston Marathon, Boston, MA

Almost no list of the best spring marathons in the US would fail to include the Boston Marathon. 

Although this Marathon requires very little “selling,“ here are some of the top reasons to run the Boston Marathon:

  • Oldest annual marathon in the world and approaching its 128th running. The history is unparalleled.
  • Great crowd support.
  • Challenging course.
  • An honor to run because qualifying is difficult.
  • Bucket list marathon for many runners.
  • Lots to do around Boston if you are making it a destination marathon race.

#2: The Mountains 2 Beach Marathon, Ojai, CA

The Mountains 2 Beach Marathon is a lake spring race in California with consistently positive reviews from marathon participants. 

Here are some of the perks of choosing this spring marathon:

  • Scenic course along bike paths at the beginning gives you an opportunity to see both the mountains and the sea.
  • Point-to-point course helps prevent boredom.
  • Net downhill course profile is great for running a fast time or setting a marathon PR.
  • Usually nearly 20% of finishers qualify for the Boston Marathon.
People running a marathon.

#3: Eugene Marathon, Eugene, OR

The Eugene Marathon consistently earns a spot on a list of the best spring marathons in the US.

Here are some of the top reasons why:

  • Extremely flat and fast course is excellent for smashing your PR.
  • Gorgeous route takes you through beautiful parks and tree-lined paths.
  • Eugene is known as “Track Town USA“ with tons of history for distance running (you can follow in the footsteps of running legends like Steve Prefontaine!)
  • Finish is in a beautiful Riverfront Park.
  • Over 25% of finishers typically run a Boston qualifying time.
  • Net downhill course makes it one of the fastest marathons in the USA.

#4: Myrtle Beach Marathon, Myrtle Beach, SC

If you are looking for one of the best early spring marathons in the US, you may love the Myrtle Beach Marathon. However, some runners find that the race is not particularly well organized.

Here are a few of the top reasons to choose this spring marathon:

  • Ocean views with a relatively flat course.
  • Ideal early spring marathon for runners who want to avoid the risk of unseasonably hot temperatures with later spring marathons.
  • Great spring marathon escape for people who live in the Northeast and need a break from winter.
People running a marathon.

#5: Bayshore Marathon, Traverse City, MI

This late spring marathon is extremely popular. Runners consistently return to the race year after year even though there are many marathons to choose from, which is evidence of the fact that this is one of the best spring marathon choices.

Here are some of the top reasons to run the Bayshore Marathon:

  • Memorial Day marathon is a great way to kick off summer running.
  • Great crowd support, with bands along the race playing music.
  • Flat course travels along the scenic shores of the Grand Traverse Bay in Michigan.
  • Vistas of the shimmering waters of Lake Michigan.
  • Out-and-back course helps you know what to expect on the way back.
  • Flowering cherry trees are gorgeous in this springtime marathon.
  • Ice cream and homemade cookies at the finish line party.

#6: Carmel Marathon, Carmel, IN

This Carmel Marathon is not often on the list of one of the most popular spring marathons in the US, but there are some good reasons to run it.

Here are a few:

  • Very well organized.
  • Supportive crowd and volunteers.
  • Nice race expo and finisher’s medal.
  • Scenic course with about 30% of runners hitting a BQ time.
People running a marathon.

#7: Colorado Marathon, Ft. Collins, Colorado

The Colorado Marathon made our best spring marathons list because of the following reasons:

  • Net downhill course with a gradual decline for fast times, yet still a Boston Qualifying race.
  • Scenic course goes into the Poudre River Canyon.
  • Good opportunity to try your hand at running at altitude, but this will certainly pose a challenge for runners who have not done any altitude training.

#8: The Grandma’s Marathon, Duluth, MN

The Grandma’s Marathon is one of the most popular spring marathons in the US.

Here are some of the reasons that this top spring marathon is beloved by runners:

  • Great size of about 9,000 runners helps the course feel supported enough with other runners yet not congested.
  • Very well organized with great crowd support
  • Fast course with no major hills even though the course is slightly rolling.
  • Good option for a late spring marathon without hitting super hot summer temperatures.
People running a marathon.

#9: San Francisco Marathon, San Francisco, CA

Although more of a summer marathon than a spring marathon, the San Francisco Marathon is a large marathon held in California that made our list because it’s just so wonderful that we didn’t want to overlook it.

Plus, if you get a late start on spring marathon training, it’s a great option.

  • Despite being a big marathon, the San Francisco Marathon manages to retain a small-town feel.
  • Course is very scenic, meandering past many of the famous, notable landmarks in San Francisco, including the wharves, Cobb Hill.
  • Runners get to cross the Golden Gate Bridge.
  • Array of other distances within the marathon weekend festival, including a half marathon, 10k, 5k, and even an ultramarathon.

Looking for a training plan for one of our best spring marathons? Click here for our marathon training plan database.

People running a marathon.
Photo of author
Amber Sayer is a Fitness, Nutrition, and Wellness Writer and Editor, as well as a NASM-Certified Nutrition Coach and UESCA-certified running, endurance nutrition, and triathlon coach. She holds two Masters Degrees—one in Exercise Science and one in Prosthetics and Orthotics. As a Certified Personal Trainer and running coach for 12 years, Amber enjoys staying active and helping others do so as well. In her free time, she likes running, cycling, cooking, and tackling any type of puzzle.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.