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The Best Marathons for Beginners

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The Best Marathons for Beginners

Need a lesser-known course? Try one of these

Running a marathon is a big freakin’ deal. It takes months of dedication and preparation. You’ll learn about pacing yourself, the perfect shoes, and what to eat and when. And though you might not know it, picking the perfect race for you is also important. What factors go into choosing the right course for your first time? You should consider location, proximity to home, crowds, course ease and entertainment. If you think the Boston, New York City or Marine Corps marathons are “too big” your first time out, you might want to give one of these beginner-friendly courses a go:

Walt Disney World Marathon

Mickey, Minnie, and their crew cheer you on while you run this course, which stretches through all four Walt Disney World Theme Parks and the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Date: January 10, 2016; Cost: $175

Austin Marathon

You’ll will run through some of Austin’s most scenic neighborhoods, including Hyde Park and the campus of the University of Texas. Bands play all along the course to keep you entertained.  Plus the race caps at 5,000 runners, making this marathon small enough to keep you from being overwhelmed. Date: February 16, 2016; Cost: $130

Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon

Billed as “the largest weekend party in town,” the Flying Pig Marathon gets its moniker from Cincinnati’s heyday in the 1800s, when the city was a center of commerce—mainly livestock and agricultural. Hogs were a major source of income, earning the city the nickname “Porkopolis.” When city organizers named this event in the late 1990s, the Flying Pig Marathon seemed like a perfect choice. If you need throngs of screaming spectators to push you through the 26.2 miles, this is the perfect marathon. More than 100,000 people line the streets to cheer on runners. Date: May 1, 2016; Cost: $95

New Jersey Marathon

Does the thought of Heartbreak Hill make you weak in the knees? Then the New Jersey Marathon, with its flat course though the beach towns of the state is for you! It’s also a good choice for folks trying to qualify for the Boston Marathon. Date: May 1, 2016; Cost: $100

Lehigh Valley Health Network Via Marathon

The Via Marathon has a net elevation drop of 240 feet, making it a speedy course. And if you want to run in the shade, the course has plenty of it as it winds through Allentown to Easton, Pennsylvania. This 60-year-old marathon, which caps at 2,000 runners, is a fundraiser supporting people with disabilities in the Lehigh Valley. Date: September 11, 2016; Cost: $95 before January 8; $110 January 9-March 18

Newport Marathon

You’ll be tempted to get off track as you run this seaside marathon, which winds along scenic ocean-side roads, through miles of waterfront views and past the famous mansions of Bellevue Avenue. Note that the course is exposed to moderate winds. Date: October 9, 2016; Cost: $85

Philadelphia Marathon

With only one real hill, around mile 8, and minimal major turns, the Philadelphia Marathon, which is regularly listed among the top 10 courses in the country, is known for its flat terrain through historic neighborhoods. The mellow weather and spirited crowds don’t hurt, either. Date: November 20, 2016; Cost: $110

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BHM Edit Staff