The Best Beginner Marathons In America

There are thousands of marathons in America, so choosing one for you to run can be very difficult, and even more difficult if you are a beginner.

The Best Beginner Marathons In America

If this is your first time running a marathon, you want to make sure that you feel comfortable with the route and that you will be able to complete it. 

Confidence is essential for a beginner marathon runner as you need to have faith in yourself that you can complete it.

Running a marathon that is past your ability will only cause you to doubt yourself, so choosing a suitable race for you is vital. 

This article will take you through the best beginner marathons in America to help you choose the perfect marathon for you.

You can find out more below to help you choose a marathon that you are excited to run and that will be best suited to your abilities. 

The Best Beginner Marathons In America 

Below you will find a list of the best beginner marathons in America that take place in different states at different times of the year.

This will help you to narrow down your options and see which one is best suited to you!

Space Coast Marathon

The Space Coast Marathon is held every November and takes place in Cocoa, Florida, by the Kennedy Space Center (You might also want to check out Key West Marathons here).

The marathon route takes you through the Cocoa village and around the Riverfront Park amphitheater where you can then meet your friends and family at the end of the race. 

This marathon is perfect for beginners as it covers a lot of flat ground, so there are not many hills that you need to worry about.

The marathon also begins at 6 am, which is perfect for runners who need cool temperatures.

At the end of the marathon, you receive a finisher’s towel to take to the beach afterward, a medal that is space-themed, and you can attend a party to celebrate the race!

Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon

Held in Las Vegas, Nevada, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon takes place in November, and it is an extremely popular race to take part in as it is a very fun atmosphere.

Along the course, there are cheerleaders and live music to encourage runners to keep going and to help motivate them along the way. 

The race begins at night, so runners can experience Las Vegas from a different perspective as they can run along the strip under the iconic neon lights.

There are also themed water stations along the route to add some more fun to the race!

Detroit Free Press Marathon

The Detroit Free Press Marathon is held in Detroit, Michigan, in October.

When you are running in the marathon, the course will take you through the Canadian border twice, so you will need to show your passport when you are picking up your race packet.

It is a great experience for runners as the route is extremely interesting!

As well as running across the Canadian border, the marathon also includes the only international mile in a marathon in the world.

Due to Detroit’s underwater tunnel, the participants can experience a mile underwater.

The route also takes you through beautiful scenic neighborhoods where your friends and family can comfortably watch the race. 

Steamtown Marathon

The Steamtown Marathon takes place in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and is held in October.

The marathon has been referred to as one of the fastest marathons, so it is perfect for beginners who enjoy a challenge.

It is also known for being a great race to qualify for the Boston Marathon. 

As the marathon is held in October, the temperatures are cool to allow runners the opportunity to run to the best of their abilities.

The route looks beautiful at this time of year as it is full of fall colors as orange and yellow trees light up the course. 

Marine Corps Marathon

The Marine Corps Marathon is held in Washington, D.C, in October.

The course is very popular with beginners as it is said that the time passes by very quickly as you take part in a running tour of the historic city, passing famous monuments and landmarks to distract you from the length of the race. 

The marathon is held by the Marine Corps, so it is very well organized and motivational.

You can expect to see lots of inspiring sights along the way to help you feel motivated until the end.

The marathon is also known as “the people’s marathon”, so it is open to all and very welcoming, which makes a difference to all participants, especially those who are first-timers. 

The Best Beginner Marathons In America

Chicago Marathon

The Chicago Marathon takes place in October in Chicago, Illinois.

The main reason why this marathon is popular with beginners is that the whole course is flat, so beginners do not need to worry about steep hills.

It is great for beginners to put their training to good use and to build up their confidence in marathon running.

The route takes runners through all of the sights of Chicago as it passes historic landmarks and interesting neighborhoods.

As there are around 45,000 participants every year, beginners feel comfortable in this marathon you will never be running alone.

You can also get cheered on by your family and friends on the sidelines, as well as by thousands of other spectators to keep you motivated. 

Wineglass Marathon 

The Wineglass Marathon is held in Corning, New York, and it takes place in October.

The marathon has a high number of participants who qualify for the Boston Marathon, making it a very popular race.

It is a very popular course for beginner marathon runners as the majority of the course is flat, but there are a few small hills involved. 

The hills on the course are only small but can be forgiven by beginner runners as they provide them with a beautiful view of New York in the fall.

The course is covered in trees which makes the course incredibly scenic for both runners and spectators.

Lots of beginners enjoy this race as they can see the city from a different perspective and enjoy the beauty of New York.

Walt Disney World Marathon

The Walt Disney World Marathon takes place in Orlando, Florida, in January, which is the perfect way to start your new year!

The marathon offers a very unique experience for runners as you run through all 4 of the theme parks at Disney World, which begins at Epcot and takes you through Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios. 

The marathon is extremely popular with Disney lovers, but it is also popular with beginner marathon runners as the course is completely flat.

You can enjoy the sights of Disney World to motivate you to finish, and you will also receive a Mickey Mouse medal to congratulate you at the end of the race. 

Yuengling Shamrock Marathon

The Yuengling Shamrock Marathon is held in Virginia Beach, Virginia, and takes place every year in March.

The marathon has been organized so that it is held at the same time as St. Patrick’s Day, so the marathon is popular for the fun festivities that take place, but also because the course is flat. 

When you are running the course, the route passes through historic landmarks like the Cape Henry Lighthouse and the beach boardwalk.

There is also a celebration at the end of the course that motivates runners to finish, which includes beer, Irish stew, and live music to send the marathon off in style!

Mesa Marathon

The Mesa Marathon takes place in Mesa, Arizona, and is held in February.

The course is very popular with runners for the varied scenery along the route, as you can experience desert cacti at one part of the race before you can view the beautiful scenery of the Phoenix Valley. 

The marathon also includes sections that are downhill, which lots of runners prefer to uphill running.

The last 10k of the race is entirely downhill as it gives beginners the chance to cool down from the rest of the course.

As the race takes place in February, the weather is great for runners as it is not too hot to take part in, so you can remain comfortable throughout. 

Flying Pig Marathon

The Flying Pig Marathon in Cincinnati, Ohio, takes place in May.

The race is very popular with beginners as it is fun for all of the participants and is extremely organized to take the pressure off the runners.

The marathon is named after the phrase “when pigs fly”, so it is a great race to challenge yourself if you are a beginner who never thought you could run a full marathon!

The course takes participants through a scenic view of Cincinnati neighborhoods and nearby towns like Newport and Fairfax.

The Best Beginner Marathons In America

The organizers also make sure that runners are motivated throughout the race as there are support stations surrounding the route full of cheese, cookies, and water for energy, and live music to help you get through!

Los Angeles Marathon

The Los Angeles Marathon is held in Los Angeles, California, in March.

It has more than 25,000 participants every year, but the organizers have still managed to make the marathon feel like a tight-knit community that is very supportive and motivational.

It is very popular with first-time marathon runners for this reason as they feel welcomed, helping their nerves. 

The route of the marathon takes you from Dodger Stadium to finish near the Santa Monica Pier.

It is a very scenic route that allows you to take a tour of Los Angeles and see it from a different perspective.

You can pass all of the popular landmarks in the city and get a great view from the course. 

Grandma’s Marathon

Grandma’s Marathon takes place in Duluth, Minnesota, and is held in June.

Despite June usually being a hot month, in Minnesota, the temperature is usually cooler, so it is ideal for marathon runners. 

The route is very popular for first-time marathon runners as the surface that you are running along is flat, but there are some slight hills.

There is a larger hill before mile 22 that some people can find challenging, but it helps to ease first-time marathon runners into experiencing more difficult routes. 

AIA Marathon

The AIA Marathon is held in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and takes place in January every year.

If you dislike running downhill, the route for the AIA Marathon will be perfect for you as you will be running across flat ground. It is a very scenic route that keeps runners motivated to carry on. 

You will be running through the palm trees and feeling the breeze from the ocean as you continue along the route.

There is lots of entertainment provided on the course to keep runners motivated and there is a party after the race complete with beer, cold drinks, live music, and food, where you can show off your finishing medal!

Final Thoughts

To conclude, there are plenty of marathons to choose from if you are a beginner and want to make sure that you are running to the best of your abilities.

The courses differ in terrain and scenery, so you can choose the marathon that you think is most suitable for you. 

Lots of the courses have flat ground, but some have small hills.

This can feel daunting, but it is a great way to train yourself for harder marathons and adjust your body to more difficult routes in preparation!

Jessica Knight