If you're a marathoner, you know how hellish it can be to spend so many hours trudging along a boring course. Luckily, not all marathons are created equal - some are so stellar, you've just got to add them to your bucket list, stat! Which one will you train for first? Let's find out!
1. Athens Marathon
Register at: athensauthenticmarathon.gr
According to legend, Athens is the site of the very first marathon in 490 AD; the finish line is at Panathinaiko Stadium, built for the first modern Olympics in 1896. If you want a little history with your run, this is the marathon to do.
2. Bermuda Marathon
Register at: bermudaraceweekend.com
The last thing most people want to do on their island vacation is sweat, but you're a runner, so this course would appeal to you on so many levels!
3. Big Five Marathon
Register at: big-five-marathon.com
It's part grueling marathon, part wildlife safari, together an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime experience. You'll literally be running through an African reserve. How cool is that?
4. Big Sur International Marathon
Register at: bsim.org
Renowned for its beauty (and its difficult hills), this marathon has a 6-hour cutoff and intensely gorgeous views.
5. Boston Marathon
Register at: baa.org
It's America's most iconic marathon event, and the first one ever run by a woman, Kathy Switzer, in 1967.
6. Chicago Marathon
Register at: chicagomarathon.com
This is a big-city marathon without the typical headaches of traffic and boredom. It's in mid-October, when the weather is iffy: you can expect a winter chill with wind/snow, or incredibly hot and humid, so train for both.
7. Country Music Marathon
Register at: runrocknroll.com
If you're a fan of country, or you just want to run for a good cause (St. Jude Children's Research Hospital), then this is the marathon for you, held in the heart of country music - Nashville.
8. Detroit Marathon
Register at: freepmarathon.com
I'm partial to this marathon because I was born in the Motor City, but also because I love the fast, flat course, winding through downtown, across the Ambassador Bridge to Canada, then back to Detroit through the Tunnel. It's so cool!
9. Great Wall Marathon
Register at: great-wall-marathon.com
Since 1999, this grueling marathon has challenged runners with more than 5,000 steep and crumbling steps, but vistas that will take your breath away (as much as the course itself).
10. Honolulu Marathon
I can't imagine a more beautiful place to run than Hawaii, and this course includes magnificent ocean views alongside Waikiki Beach, and Diamond Head and Koko Head volcanic craters.
11. Houston Marathon
Register at: chevronhoustonmarathon.com
Looking for a hard-to-find January event, one where you might just score your own PB? This fast and flat course may be exactly what you want!
12. London Marathon
Register at: virginmoneylondonmarathon.com
This course is more known for its upbeat party atmosphere than its toughness, so why not get in a little sight-seeing with your run?
13. Loon Mountain Race
Register at: acidoticracing.com
This course is ridiculously challenging - you'll literally run up a mountain- but if up you're tired of fast, flat courses, give ti a go!
14. Marabana Havana Marathon
Register at: havanamarathon.net
You'll need a special amateur sports license (issued by the U.S. Department of Treasury) to run this race in Cuba, but it's worth the extra hassle to run a course very few Americans have seen.
15. Marathon Du Medoc
Register at: marathondumedoc.com
Wine-loving marathoners, rejoice! This unique course winds through gorgeous vineyards and includes aid stations serving wine, oysters, foie gras, cheese and ice cream.
16. Midnight Sun Marathon
Register at: msm.no
Wouldn't it be great to run a marathon at night, in bright sunshine, in beautiful Norway?
17. Moab Trail Marathon
Register at: moabtrailmarathon.com
Utah is one of the most beautiful places in the world, and this race runs right through Moab's canyons and red stone arches.
18. New York City Marathon
Register at: tcsnycmarathon.org
This is the world's largest marathon, running through all five of the city's boroughs and finishing in Central Park.
19. Patagonia International Marathon
Register at: patagonianinternationalmarathon.com
This marathon is held to raise awareness of conservation efforts of the Patagonian region, so for every participant, a tree is planted.
20. Pike's Peak Marathon
Register at: pikespeakmarathon.org
It's hard to imagine a course more difficult than this, especially if you're not used to trail running and running in high altitudes. Though the race is in August, there's the possibility you'll be running in heat at first, then as you ascend, several inches of snow.
21. Portland Marathon
Register at: portlandmarathon.org
If you prefer cooler temps, and an environmentally-friendly, fun atmosphere, combined with a relatively flat course, this is the race for you - swag includes the typical medal and tee, but also a seedling.
22. Reggae Marathon
Register at: reggaemarathon.com
It's tradition: at the end of the race, slip off your shoes and run right into the ocean. During the race, reggae music plays at every mile... sounds like fun!
23. Reykjavik Marathon
Register at: marathon.is
Nearly everyone who lives in Iceland turns out as both runners and spectators at this race, which runs through the city and past gorgeous waterfront and natural geothermal springs.
24. Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas Marathon
Register at: runrocknroll.com
All the energy and fun of the Vegas strip at night - it's like a party with your PB!
25. Toronto Waterfront Marathon
Register at: torontowaterfrontmarathon.com
Run along the shores of Lake Ontario in this race, marked out in kilometers, not miles.
26. Walt Disney World Marathon
Register at: rundisney.com
Why not combine your family vacation with your next marathon? This race takes you through all four of the Florida Disney parks, with all of your favorite characters cheering you on.
Not sure you're ready for a full 26.2-mile run? Most of these also offer other distances, like halfs, 10ks, and 5ks.