If you are looking for the World’s Best Marathons, look no further. Every week of the year there’s a great marathon being run somewhere in the world, so wherever you fancy visiting, you can, with careful planning, fit in a great world marathon.
Interestingly, one of the world’s best marathons takes place in the UK – the London Marathon is consistently rated as one of the most popular races anywhere on the planet! It has lots of good company in Europe, with other leading races including Berlin, Stockholm, Rotterdam, Paris and Amsterdam.
While all of these can attribute at least part of their popularity to their flat courses (most runners dread hills when they are covering 26.2 miles!), they are also mass participation races, meaning that every year thousands of people from all over the world have a chance to take part in them.
As you might expect, the USA is well-represented when it comes to popular races – Chicago features highly, with its great water front vistas and fast flat course (world records have been set in Chicago), but the two most popular races in the US are Boston and New York.
Both are held in great cities – always part of the experience – but it goes beyond that. What both Boston and New York have in spades is marathon history. New York was the world’s first mass participation marathon, while for Boston that history is quite simple – it is the world’s oldest marathon, first run in 1897.
Boston has great crowd support, and a top-class elite field – unlike most of the other top races, you have to run a qualifying time to be eligible for Boston. The course starts in Hopkinton, west of Boston, and passes through seven small towns before finishing in the centre of the city. The most notorious part of the course is the climb through Newton Hills between 17 and 22 miles.