Boston Marathon - Boston, USA - mid-April
The Boston Marathon is an annual marathon hosted by the U.S. city of Boston, Massachusetts, on Patriots' Day, the third Monday of April. Begun in 1897 and inspired by the success of the first modern-day marathon competition in the 1896 Summer Olympics, the Boston Marathon is the world's oldest annual marathon and ranks as one of the world's best-known road racing events. It is one of five World Marathon Majors.
Today, the Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.) manages this event. Amateur and professional runners from all over the world compete in the Boston Marathon each year, braving the hilly New England terrain and varying weather to take part in the race.
The event attracts an average of about 20,000 registered participants each year.
London Marathon - London, UK - late April
The London Marathon is a charity road marathon that has been held each spring in London since 1981. The race is currently sponsored by Virgin Money, as the Virgin London Marathon.
In addition to being one of the top five international marathons run over the traditional distance of 42.195 km (26 miles and 385 yards), the London Marathon is also a large, celebratory sporting festival, second only to the Great North Run in Newcastle, in terms of the number of participants. It is one of the World Marathon Majors, a two-year series of elite marathon racing that also includes the Boston, Chicago, New York and Berlin marathons.
Berlin Marathon - Berlin, Germany - late September
The Berlin Marathon is a major running and sporting event held annually in Berlin, Germany. The official marathon distance of 42.195 kilometers (26 miles 385 yards) is set up as a city-wide road race where professional athletes and amateur sportsmen jointly participate. First initiated in 1974 the event traditionally takes place on the last weekend in September.
With 40,827 enrolled starters from 107 countries, 35,913 official finishers and more than one million spectators in 2008 the Berlin marathon is one of the largest and most popular road races in the world. Along with four other venues it forms the World Marathon Majors, a series offering a $1 million prize purse to be split equally between the top male and female marathoners.
The most marathon world records for men and women have been set at the Berlin course, which is known for its flat profile, even surface, a cheering spectator crowd, and its frequently mild autumn temperatures.
Chicago Marathon - Chicago, USA - early October
Is a major marathon held yearly in Chicago in Cook County, Illinois, United States. Alongside the Boston, New York, London and Berlin Marathons, it is one of the five World Marathon Majors. The October 10, 2010 running will be the 33rd Anniversary running of the race. It has been run every year since the September 25, 1977 running of the first race under the original name the Mayor Daley Marathon drew a field of 4200 runners. It is among the fastest growing marathon road races in the world, due in part to its largely fast and flat course which facilitates the pursuit of personal records and world record performances.
New York City Marathon - New York, USA - early November
The New York City Marathon (ING New York City Marathon for sponsorship reasons) is a major annual marathon (42.195 km (26.219 mi)) whose course runs through all five boroughs of New York City. It is one of the largest marathons in the world, with 43,659 finishers in 2009. Along with the Boston Marathon and Chicago Marathon, it is among the pre-eminent long-distance annual running events in the United States and is one of the World Marathon Majors.
The race is organized by New York Road Runners (NYRR) and has been run every year since 1970. The next marathon will be run on November 7, 2010. In recent years, it has been sponsored by the financial group ING. It is held on the first Sunday of November and attracts professional competitors and amateurs from all over the world. Because of the popularity of the race, participation is limited to 37,000 entrants chosen largely by a lottery system. Runners who are members of NYRR can gain entry by meeting the qualifications for guaranteed entry or via nomination from an official running club. Officially recognized running clubs are allowed two guaranteed spots for members who did not make it in via lottery.