Home Suburbs Bucket List: America’s Five Most Unforgettable (and fun!) Marathons

Bucket List: America’s Five Most Unforgettable (and fun!) Marathons

Bucket List: America’s Five Most Unforgettable (and fun!) Marathons

Marathons have been around for thousands of years. If we believe the ancient story of the origin of the marathon, it was named after the fabled Greek Soldier Pheidippides who carried the message of Athens victory over Sparta from the battlefield of Marathon to the city of Athens. The distance between the battlefield and Athens was approximately 26 miles.

The exact distance of the modern marathon of 26 miles and 385 yards was set in the 1908 Olympics in London. The course was designed to have the race start at Windsor Castle and end in front of the Royal Box in the Olympic Stadium. It was not until 1921 that the distance of 26 miles and 385 yards was accepted as the official Marathon distance by the IAAF.

Having been a runner most of my life and growing up in a suburb of Boston, my whole experience of marathons until recently was that they were designed to be an athletic competition. Boston is still very much an athletic competition but has evolved over time to include many runners who are running to raise money for many different and helpful organizations.

Even more recently, marathon running has evolved into something that is still an athletic competition and an opportunity for fundraising but also a wonderful opportunity for friendships to develop and a time to simply have fun. Today there are many who run marathons for the beauty of the course and to have fun at the events that follow most marathons. This article is about the five most fun and unforgettable marathons in America.

5. Anchorage Mayor’s Midnight Marathon

2015 Mayor's Marathon - Photo by Sam Wasson/UAA Athletics
2015 Mayor’s Marathon – Photo by Sam Wasson/UAA Athletics

This marathon is run in June on the longest day of the year. The race is sponsored by the University of Alaska and Anchorage Parks and Recreation Department. The beauty of the course on this Midnight Sun Marathon begins in the foothills of the Chugach Mountains on the east side of Anchorage up the Chester Creek trail and into town at Delong Park. The course is known for its natural beauty and being run at midnight in Alaska in June where darkness seems to be only a momentary thing.

The scenery along the racecourse is the beauty piece, and the post race festivities are the fun piece. The Summer Solstice Festival is in full swing during the time of the Midnight Sun Marathon, in fact, it is very close to the finish line in Town Square.

The Festival is designed for all ages to have fun. For the runners, you may want to toast your victory at a nearby brewery and to replenish your calories by eating at the many good restaurants in and near Town Square.

If you recover from the race the next day, there are many amazing sights beyond the city of Anchorage. You might choose a voyage on the Glacier and Wildlife Cruises, Flightseeing Tours to Denali or Prince William Sound and numerous exceptional day trips.

Anchorage features first-class, convenient, centrally located hotels, motels, B and B’s and numerous Inns. This marathon is one that will be fun and unforgettable.


Jamie Stewart America Unraveled's resident expert on all things higher ed!


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