My List

This past weekend was the Philadelphia Marathon.  When I would talk to runners over the weekend about the various races going on, I would always bring that one up and say “it’s on my list.”

That got me thinking, what is exactly on this “list” I always talk about? Although it has changed some since I first started running (and a few have been crossed off), a lot of it has stayed the same. I thought it would be fun to actually publish this list of races I want to run, so I could come back to it in the future for reference.

Checked two off my list with Boston 2 Big Sur!


In no particular order… here are the marathons on my to-do list (which I am limiting to 10):

  1. New York City Marathon:  I have never been to NYC before and have always wanted to go!  The marathon would be the perfect excuse, plus I think this race is probably on everyone’s to do list.
  2. Philadelphia Marathon:  I am not sure why I have always wanted to run this race but I have!  Philly sounds like a fun city to visit, plus this race is typically cold.  One of these years I will run it!  
  3. St. George Marathon:  Not only does this race look beautiful, but it’s downhill!  Like very downhill.  It’s a lottery to get in, so it’s one I may have to try to get in a few times before it actually happens.
  4. Portland Marathon:  Portland has always been on my list since I have this slight obsession with the city, even though I have never spent any significant amount of time in it.  From everything I have heard, I am pretty sure I would love it and want to stay.  Now that I DNSed this marathon this year, it’s even more on my list to run one year soon!
  5. Napa Marathon:  A local marathon here in the Bay Area in March that runs through beautiful wine country and you get an awesome bag (important things people!).  I have always wanted to run, but it has always been too close to CIM which I have done every year.  I am actually considering it this year since I have to run ~26 miles that day anyways!
  6. Chicago Marathon:  I have a lot of family in Illinois, so it would be fun to make a family trip out of it.  Plus it’s one of the big marathons that I have heard great things about.  I just wish I could pick one of the rare cold years to go run it!
  7. Berlin Marathon:  I have never been to Europe and would love to go to Berlin and run this marathon.  We actually have friends there right now which would make it very easy to accomplish, but it’s a big trip to take.    
  8. London Marathon:  Might as well round out the world major marathons on the list right?  I have always wanted to visit London and what better way to get to know a city than to run through it!
  9. SLO Marathon:  This is a brand new marathon this year but it’s in my “home.”  Even though I didn’t grow up in SLO, I wasn’t far from it and SLO will always feel like home to me.  Plus I went to college there.  The course looks great winding through downtown, out to the vineyards and back around.  
  10. Lake Tahoe Marathon:  I love this lake for many reasons (getting engaged and married there!) plus its just simply beautiful!  Running a marathon there would definitely be an experience and a new challenge with the altitude.  

Am I missing any good ones I should add to my list? 

I need some smaller, more scenic races – through New England or Washington in the fall.  I also need a race in Canada!  Any recommendations?

What races are on YOUR list? 

Do we have any of the same ones?

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64 Responses to My List

  1. Laura November 22, 2011 at 12:16 pm #

    I fully support the Portland Marathon because I live here :) Except next year I will be in Chicago kicking butt in that marathon.

    I haven’t done this race, but I’ve been interested in the Vancouver (BC) marathon. I’ve heard good things and Vancouver is beautiful.

  2. Kristin November 22, 2011 at 12:22 pm #

    I want to copy this post idea! It’s something I think about quite a bit (far more than my budget allows me to act on it…). My question is, are there also any non-marathon races on your list? Or do you just like marathons that much more than the rest? Also, maybe I’m weird but even though I love to watch the race, I can’t say that I’ve ever had a burning desire to run NYC. Napa and Chicago are definitely on my list also.

    • Aron November 22, 2011 at 1:01 pm #

      I think I just kept it to marathons or else the list would have gotten out of control! ;)

  3. Celia November 22, 2011 at 12:40 pm #

    London, Berlin, Chicago, Boston are on my list. I guess I would like to complete all the majors but have only done one!

    However, i actually prefer smaller races so I think in the immediate future that is what I am looking for. I have been looking at Napa as a potential!! :)

    • Aron November 22, 2011 at 1:02 pm #

      I pretty much prefer smaller/medium races too! I loved CIM, Eugene, Big Sur, SFM for the smaller feel than those HUGE races.

  4. katie November 22, 2011 at 12:52 pm #

    philadelphia! it’s my city, i love it. although i’ll need a few more days to forget about the hills.

  5. David November 22, 2011 at 1:07 pm #

    great list aron!

    I ran Munich last year – simply spectacular.

    running Napa for the second time this March – very well run. it will close out soon if it hasn’t already.

    so…two of my three biggest dreams complete!

    which leaves…NYC!!! somehow, someday.

    Philly would be next…London could be fun….and Vienna looks lovely. Portland is a great town. If some day i run Philly or Portland i would be very happy.

    but NYC…i would be thrilled beyond words – dreamed of this race for over 30 years.

  6. Amber from Girl with the Red Hair November 22, 2011 at 1:10 pm #

    NYC is on my list for sure! I am pretty sure I’m running Chicago in 2013 too. It’s definitely been discussed!

    Come run Vancouver in Canada!!! I’m doing it this May, they have a brand new point-to-point course that looks amazing. I might be biased because it’s in my province but I LOVE Vancouver. The combination of oceans + mountains makes the city SO beautiful!

    Victoria is also gorgeous. I did the half this year and it was right along the ocean and breathtaking. Rolling hills though which killed my legs!

    This was fun! I think I am going to have to steal this blog post idea soon :)

  7. PJ November 22, 2011 at 1:19 pm #

    Great list-#1, 4, 5, and 6 are also on my “to run” list, along with the Marine Corp. Marathon.

  8. Kimra November 22, 2011 at 1:22 pm #

    I have a Google Doc for this! We overlap on Berlin, NYC, Philly, and Portland. The new course for Vancouver looks *stunning* and if I wanted to do a spring marathon in 2012, I would be doing that one for sure. I’m afraid of Chicago because I went to school there and know it can be super-hot on marathon weekend (and I hate the heat). My real dream race is the Midnight Sun Marathon in Norway! I’m also interested in Eugene and possibly Charleston (but mostly because it tends to be near my birthday and I’ve heard there are shrimp and girts at the finish).

  9. Nelly November 22, 2011 at 1:23 pm #

    All of the races on your list sound awesome. I have looked into similar one’s as you too. My top 5 is probably Chicago, NYC, St. George and Big Sur. The St. George marathon video is one of my favorite running videos ever to watch:

  10. Lauren @ Sassy Molassy November 22, 2011 at 1:25 pm #

    I’ve always heard really good things about the Flying Pigs Marathon in Cincinnatti. Other than that, my list includes: NYC, Boston, NIke Women’s, CIM, Big Sur, Honolulu and an international one (i don’t really care which). Maybe Rome?

    • Ashley November 22, 2011 at 1:26 pm #

      Oh yeah, Flying Pig is supposed to be awesome!!

    • Sarah k @ the pajama chef November 22, 2011 at 2:41 pm #

      flying pig is great! i ran it in ’08 as my first full. swag is great, expo is the best i’ve ever been to (even better than indy mini, the biggest 1/2 in the country), and it has awesome crowd support and race support too.

    • JanaC November 22, 2011 at 4:24 pm #

      I can, with experience, say DON’T do Nike Women’s. I was warned, but did not heed the warnings and ran the full. AWFUL! Just my opinion :-)

      • Ashley November 22, 2011 at 9:07 pm #

        Nike Women’s was my first marathon. I actually had a great time. That said, don’t do this race if you expect to PR. It’s the type of race that you do just for fun. There’s too many walkers on the course, and you weave for the first 6 miles or so. You should run this race for the views, the on course support, the ghiradelli chocolate, and the tiffany necklace. It was a good first marathon for me because I wanted to have a good time. Knowing that the hills would be tough and that there were a lot of walkers helped me to not set my expectations too high. But I can see how others would not enjoy this race. Like I said. It’s a ‘for fun’ one.

        • Aron November 22, 2011 at 9:31 pm #

          I actually know a lot of people who LOVE this race, but yah it can be a little frustrating which is what I have found, but you just have to go into it with that mentality. The course is definitely tough, but Tiffany’s is beautiful :)

  11. Ashley November 22, 2011 at 1:25 pm #

    Marine Corp (hoping to do in 2012), Pittsburgh, NYC, Chicago, Philadelphia, Big Sur, and CIM are on my list.

    I hope one day I can BQ, because I really want to run in Boston (favorite city ever). However, if I never BQ, I will weasel my way into one of the charity entries, like the Red Sox Wives. :)

  12. Rena @ November 22, 2011 at 1:25 pm #

    The Big Sur and the Boston are definitely the major ones on my list. But I am actually considering signing up for my first ever marathon this spring. I hope I can keep up with the training.

  13. marlene November 22, 2011 at 1:47 pm #

    I love your list! Many of those are on mine also – particularly the big 5!

    Come run Chicago next year. :)

  14. Layla November 22, 2011 at 2:06 pm #

    Oooh, fun with marathon lists! Portland and Philly were on my short list for next fall’s goal marathon, along with Marine Corps and Toronto. The race that’s actually at the very top of my list now is Prince Edward Island, though I don’t see that happening next fall. For years I’ve said that everyone should visit NYC at least once — well, now I’m also saying that every marathoner should run New York.
    And if you’re looking for a cold, downhill marathon, Tucson fits that bill.

  15. Emily November 22, 2011 at 2:10 pm #

    I kinda always thought that I’d stick to the huge 40,000 person races with lots of buzz and excitement (basically, everything on this list), but I also want to look for some smaller events. My main thing right now is picking races in places I also want to visit. Two birds, one stone :)

  16. Courtney (Pancakes and Postcards) November 22, 2011 at 2:16 pm #

    1. NYCM (duh)
    2. Firenze Marathon (I might do that in 2012!)
    3. Ogden Marathon – doing this in 2012, and only because Alyssa made me
    4. Marathon du Medoc in south of France, wine country
    5. Antartica Marathon. JUST KIDDING!!!

    Check out this list! there are 15 fun marathons for first timers (mostly because something about them is really cool) and it made me aware of some awesome races I had never heard of!

  17. Sima November 22, 2011 at 2:26 pm #

    Love the list idea!

    Marine Corp Marathon in DC…I have a lot of friends who have done it, loved it , and its the one I am hoping to do when (notice I didn’t say if) I sign up for my first full marathon! :)

    • Aron November 22, 2011 at 2:28 pm #

      Yessssssssssssssssssss!!! WHEN :)

  18. k November 22, 2011 at 2:34 pm #

    The Leavenworth Oktoberfest Marathon is a good, small, fall race in Washington!

    And thanks to Kimra, I am now all set to run the Midnight Sun Half in Norway. I’ll conveniently be in Norway until at least July 1st.

  19. Kristy@RunTheLongRoad November 22, 2011 at 2:40 pm #

    I’m *slightly* biased but Philly is a great city with a great marathon and half marathon. You will LOVE it!

    I also want to run Chicago and London. So excited to be crossing my #1 (Boston!) off my list soon!

    • Jen November 22, 2011 at 2:51 pm #

      I had two coworkers run this, and they did really well and had a great time. It was on October 30th. It was also pretty chilly since DC got snow the night before!

  20. Jen November 22, 2011 at 2:48 pm #

    These marathons all sound amazing, but I’m not quite up to that distance yet! For a scenic, fall, New England race, you should check out the Tufts Health Plan 10K for Women in Boston. I ran it for the first time this year, and I loved it! I will definitely be participating again. It’s on Columbus Day — October 10th this year — and the course goes along the Charles River and through Back Bay, starting and finishing at the Boston Common.

  21. skinnyrunner November 22, 2011 at 2:52 pm #

    man, im loving your list. makes me want to do a bunch of them too. st george is def on mine along with pretty much any big race. or really, any race that anyone else does, i want to do!

  22. Nikki November 22, 2011 at 2:58 pm #

    Tahoe marathon is AWESOME! Difficult of course, but beautiful and has more of an ultra vibe.. very low key, casual. Highly recommend it!

    Napa is boring because it is in the winter, and frankly it was brutal to be there in marathon mode instead of wine tasting mode (although it was a quick transition after the race ;-) In Napa’s defense, it was cold and rainy this year, but there truly isn’t much to look at in March. It was a lot of the same. I decided personally to save the marathoning for non-wine-centric locales!

    NYC is a definite MUST! No comparison.

    My all-time favorite is Big Sur, and obviously you understand why! I did B2B the first year and it was a great experience. BSIM is the one I come back to year after year!!

  23. Ericka @ The Sweet Life November 22, 2011 at 3:15 pm #

    Hey there! I know that Marine Corps in DC was already said but I must second that! I have run in three times and it is an amazing race through DC, where you run over beautiful bridges with amazing views of the Capitol, the Washington Monument and more! Do it!

  24. Susan - Nurse on the Run November 22, 2011 at 3:29 pm #

    NYC and Chicago are GREAT marathons! Highly recommend them, although not when it’s 95 degrees…

    My brother is moving to Portland next year so I’m eyeing it for my race calendar next year!

    Berlin is definitely on my list! Oktoberfest is right after it, so I think that would make for a great trip. :) I’m recruiting!

    I’ve heard Grand Rapids is a great marathon with good weather, a smaller field, and a nice course. It’s been called “a runner’s race,” which you can’t go wrong with!

    • Kimra November 22, 2011 at 7:37 pm #

      I for serious might do the Berlin/Oktoberfest combo in 2012! (just need some friends to pick a wedding date and I’m in, but I feel like Berlin will close before that, if it hasn’t already — I can’t bring myself to look!)

      • Aron November 22, 2011 at 9:30 pm #

        It hasn’t sold out yet but I think it’s getting close ;)

  25. RoadBunner November 22, 2011 at 4:22 pm #

    Ooh! Fun post. For me:

    1) Edinburgh Marathon
    2) Paris Marathon
    3) MDI Marathon
    4) Tahoe Triple
    5) Boston

    • Aron November 22, 2011 at 4:25 pm #

      Maybe I should make my lake tahoe on the triple! ;)

      • Kabri November 23, 2011 at 7:59 am #

        I’d love to do the Tahoe 72 miler someday!! It’s the triple, but non stop!

  26. JanaC November 22, 2011 at 4:22 pm #

    My list includes:

    1. Steamtown – (Oct race, downhill)
    2. London
    3. Chicago
    4. Marine Corp
    5. Skagit Flat in Skagit Valley, WA (my home state, beautiful area, flat, small race)
    6. St George
    7. Grandma’s Marathon
    8. Ocean State (RI in Oct)
    9. Mayor’s Marathon (Alaska, dad’s hometown)
    10. Crater Lake Rim Run Marathon

    You should do a “worst” marathon list :-P

    • Aron November 22, 2011 at 4:24 pm #

      Ohhh a couple of these look like I might want to add them on to my list! I will be checking them out :)

      Worst marathons:
      #1 San Diego

      • Aron November 22, 2011 at 4:25 pm #

        Oops and #2 NWM? – although I have never done it ;) maybe I am making your worst list for you.

        • JanaC November 22, 2011 at 4:27 pm #

          I am tied between Nike Women’s Marathon and Honolulu as my worst. I absolutely hated Honolulu; out and back, weather was awful (which played a huge part…rainy, humid, hot & the finish area was a joke.

  27. Audrey November 22, 2011 at 4:49 pm #

    I have a list too! Mine has NYC, Big Sur (full and relay full – I love the idea of relays), LA (I live here – why not), Chicago, Disneyworld, Portland for the second time, Wildflower triathlon (not a marathon, but a race nonetheless), and . . . . Boston if I can make it ever.

    For downhill marathons, I heard that Ojai is good. It is a new race that starts in the hills and goes down from there.

  28. Rebecca November 22, 2011 at 5:34 pm #

    Great New England marathon, Mount Desert Island – Bar Harbor, Maine. Peak fall colors, smallish race, great RD, well organized small race.

  29. AR November 22, 2011 at 6:35 pm #

    Toronto Waterfront! Cool city, mostly flat course, good crowds. If you’re looking for smaller races, I really did enjoy Steamtown even if its a tough course. Nice hometown race feel and you’ll see some places referenced in The Office.

    Have yet to do Wineglass, but it is in my neck of the woods which is quite pretty that time of year.

  30. Sarah November 22, 2011 at 7:19 pm #

    The “Worst Marathons” list would be awesome!

    I had a DNF (well, I dropped to the half during the race and barely finished) in Philadelphia this past weekend so it’s definitely on my list to return to. Very well organized and lots of cool stuff going on. And maybe next year it will be colder! NYC is also on my list. And London (which seems really hard to get into as an overseas runner). Funny I have 3 marathons on my list after swearing i was done after the last marathon!

  31. JD November 22, 2011 at 8:09 pm #

    I was thinking of doing Napa as my next marathon (have done CIM twice and itching for #3!), but was really surprised to see how strict they were about NO MUSIC. How do you feel about running a full without an iPod? I rely on it so much, that just might be a deal-breaker for me! Am I crazy? :)

    • Aron November 22, 2011 at 9:29 pm #

      I know others who wouldn’t run it because of the no music policy… so you are not crazy :) I don’t know, I don’t run with music much these days but I do know it helps when I am racing! I guess if I was training to race it, I just wouldn’t ever train with music.

  32. Sarah November 22, 2011 at 9:53 pm #

    Research the Bizz Johnson Marathon that is in Northern CA. I ran it for the first time this year and loved it! It’s on the Bizz Johnson trail and after the first 6 miles, the rest of the way is on a downhill grade. Beautiful course and not your typical over-crowded marathon. :)

  33. XLMIC November 22, 2011 at 10:42 pm #

    I spectated at the Paris Marathon this past year. The course is pretty spectacular. If it weren’t for major jetlag issues, it’d be on my list.

  34. Page November 22, 2011 at 10:55 pm #

    I’m pretty sure we have the same list (plus or minus a few). And Napa this year as a training run? You are a bad ass.

  35. Suman Basnet November 23, 2011 at 12:15 am #

    Hi Aron:

    You may be surprised that a male runner all the way in Nepal follows your running blog. I am 49 years old and want to make running as much a part of life as you have done. I have been runnng off and on for the last 10 years or so, but since September last year, have decided to be more focused. Yours is one blog I follow regularly. Anyway, I just want to recommedn that you plan to come and run in Nepal at least once in your lifetime. nepal is great for trail running that also in the ultra category. Why don’t you check this website. All the best!

  36. Holly November 23, 2011 at 6:05 am #

    NY and Chicago are on my “wish list” too, but I just haven’t been able to stomach training for a marathon in the summer in TX yet…maybe next year :) We have friends in London who want us to try to get into the 2013 race and come visit them–maybe you should try then too!

    The biggest one on my current list is Boston and it’s what I’m focused on for my upcoming Houston marathon (qualifying). I’d also like to do Marine Corps sometime- I’ve heard great things about that race and I just love the history. Nike Women’s Marathon is on my list because of the necklace. :)

  37. kristen November 23, 2011 at 7:21 am #

    GREAT list! I second most of them. Particularly, Napa and Berlin. I would add Marine Corps to mine :)

  38. The Blonde November 23, 2011 at 10:05 am #

    You must, must, must run PDX!!!!

    On my own list….A few in CA (go figure), NYC, and Grandma’s.

    I didn’t know that info about Lake Tahoe! Nick lived in Tahoe for 3 years! Loved it!

  39. Michaela November 23, 2011 at 11:06 am #

    Great list! St. George is also on my list — such an absolutely beautiful place to run! And Napa too — the course actually goes right past the first winery I ever worked at, so I think of it as a homecoming of sorts.

  40. Kristin November 23, 2011 at 4:38 pm #

    LONDON! Always on the top of my list. I tried the overseas lottery this year (for 2012) but didn’t get in. I don’t know how many times I’ll mess with the lottery before I just fork over the bucks for a guaranteed entry package with Marathon Tours! I’m doing Eugene instead as my consolation prize for London. I am also intrigued by the Twin Cities Marathon and may do that in the fall. Portland is a great one, you should definitely plan for it again! I’m also planning to do the Midnight Sun Marathon in June, but it’s still a gamble whether I’ll get it together with the travel arrangements….

  41. Megan November 23, 2011 at 6:29 pm #

    I ran the Wurzburg Half Marathon when I was stationed in Germany. They had huge glasses of hefe-weizen at the finish. Best recovery drink ever :)

  42. onelittletrigirl November 24, 2011 at 6:28 am #

    Yes, come to Philly :)

  43. Leah November 29, 2011 at 4:07 pm #

    I also live in the Bay Area. I just signed up for SLO and am thinking about Napa, I’m just not sure I’m capable of running without headphones. Let’s do it!!

    I ran Portland for my first marathon this year. It was absolutely amazing, I hope to run it every year from here on out.


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