The List of 50+ Greatest World Marathons

The marathon is a long-distance running event with an official distance of 42.195 kilometers or 26.2 miles (26 miles and 385 yards), usually run as a road race. The event was instituted in commemoration of the fabled run of the Greek soldier Pheidippides. The legend states that he was sent from the battlefield of Marathon to Athens to announce that the Persians had been defeated in the Battle of Marathon, which took place in August or September, 490 BC. It is said that Pheidippides ran the entire distance without stopping and burst into the assembly, exclaiming “We have wοn!”, before collapsing and dying.

Annually, more than 500 marathons are organized worldwide. Some of these belong to the Association of International Marathons and Distance Races (AIMS) which has grown since its foundation in 1982 to embrace over 300 member events in 83 countries and territories. The marathons of Berlin, Boston, Chicago, London, New York City and Tokyo form the World Marathon Majors series (Big Six), awarding $500,000 annually to the best overall male and female performers in the series.

Here is the Half Horse Half Man’s list of the 50+ Greatest World Marathons sorted by race date (2015).

Boston Marathon Baner

WM – The World Marathon Majors Series (Big Six)
BAA – In the List of Top 25 Boston Athletic Association qualifiers (ref. B.A.A. link)
BIG – In the List of Top 10 Largest USA Marathons by number of runners
INT – In the Half Horse Half Man’s list of marathons to run


Date WM INT BAA BIG Location Name Website
January BIG Orlando, Florida Walt Disney World® Marathon
January Charleston, South Carolina Charleston Marathon
January BAA Houston, Texas Chevron Houston Marathon
January Dubai, United Arab Emirates Dubai Marathon
January Miami, Florida Miami Marathon
February WM INT Tokyo, Japan Tokyo Marathon
February INT Birmingham, Alabama Mercedes Marathon
March Albany, Georgia Albany Marathon
March Barcelona, Spain Zurich Marato de Barcelona
March INT BIG Los Angeles, California Asics LA Marathon
March INT Atlanta, Georgia Publix Georgia Marathon
March Virginia Beach, Virginia Shamrock Marathon
March Rome, Italy Rome Marathon
April Rotterdam, Netherlands Marathon Rotterdam
April INT Paris, France Marathon de Paris
April WM INT BAA BIG Boston, Massachusetts B.A.A. Boston Marathon
April WM INT London, England Virgin Money London Marathon
May Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Pittsburgh Marathon
May Vancouver, Canada Vancouver Marathon
May Cincinnati, Ohio Flying Pig Marathon
May Fargo, California Fargo Marathon
May INT Beijing, China The Great Wall Marathon
May BAA Traverse City, Michigan Bayshore Marathon
May BAA Calabasas, California Mountains 2 Beach Marathon
May BAA Ottawa, Canada Ottawa Marathon
May Stockholm, Sweden Stockholm Marathon
May BIG San Diego, California Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Marathon
June BAA Duluth, Minnesota Grandma’s Marathon
June St. Petersburg, Russia “White Nights” International Marathon
July INT San Francisco, California San Francisco Marathon
August BAA Santa Rosa, California Santa Rosa Marathon
September BAA Salt Lake City, Utah Big Cottonwood Marathon
September BAA Allentown, Pennsylvania Lehigh Valley Marathon
September BAA Erie, Pennsylvania Erie Marathon
September Dayton, Ohio Air Force Marathon
September INT Moscow, Russia Moscow Marathon
September Omsk, Russia Siberian International Marathon
September WM INT BAA Berlin, Germany BMW Berlin Marathon
October BAA St.George, Utah St. George Marathon
October Kosice, Slovakia Kosice Marathon (the Oldest in Europe)
October BAA BIG Portland, Oregon Portland Marathon
October BAA BIG St.Paul, Minnesota Twin Cities Marathon
October WM INT BAA BIG Chicago, Illinois Bank of America Chicago Marathon
October BAA Scranton, Pennsylvania Steamtown Marathon
October INT Amsterdam, Netherlands Amsterdam Marathon
October BAA Toronto, Canada Toronto Waterfront Marathon
October BAA Lowell, Massachusetts Baystate Marathon
October BAA Columbus, Ohio Columbus Marathon
October INT BAA BIG Washington, D.C. Marine Corps Marathon
November WM INT BAA BIG New York City, New York TCS New York City Marathon
November INT Columbus, Georgia Soldier Marathon
November INT Savannah, Georgia Rock ‘n’ Roll Savannah Marathon
November BAA Indianapolis, Indiana Indianapolis Monumental Marathon
November INT Athens, Greece Athens Authentic Marathon
November INT Las Vegas, Nevada Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon
November BAA Richmond, Virginia Richmond Marathon
November Istanbul, Turkey Istanbul Marathon
November BAA Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Philadelphia Marathon
December Memphis, Tennessee Memphis Marathon
December BAA Sacramento, California California International Marathon
December INT Huntsville, Alabama Rocket City Marathon
December BIG Honolulu, Hawaii Honolulu Marathon

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