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The Best Summer Marathons for Running Fast

Updated: Jan 21

Believe it or not, running a summer marathon can be your ticket to a marathon PR. While one might think you’re doomed to high heat and humidity during the summer, there are plenty of places across the country that have cool temperatures.

The starting line of the best summer marathon

But perhaps the best part about running a summer marathon is most of your training will be in spring, versus if you choose a fall marathon, you’ll be training through the hot and humid summer, which can be a drag.

Another benefit of running summer marathons is those trying to qualify for Boston will make the qualifying window for the following year.

Let’s look at some of the best and fastest summer marathons.

When: Early May

Where: Ventura, CA

Experience the breathtaking beauty of the Mountains 2 Beach Marathon, a 26.2-mile route that showcases stunning mountain vistas and captivating beachfront scenery. Throughout the 26.2 miles, you'll be treated to awe-inspiring views of majestic mountain peaks, the serene Ventura River Basin, the historic Ventura Downtown district, and the world-renowned Ventura Coastline. With an overall descent of more than 700 feet, the course offers a lightning-fast and exhilarating experience. Furthermore, rest assured that this course is a USATF-certified Boston Marathon Qualifier It's worth noting that we have consistently sold out every year, often months in advance.

When: Early May

Where: Cincinnati, OH

Get ready to soar through the vibrant streets of Cincinnati, Covington, Newport, Mariemont, Fairfax, and Columbia Township as you embark on an unforgettable journey with the Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon. The course features a net uphill for the first 9 miles before descending nearly 450ft over the remainder of the course. This remarkable course showcases the beauty and charm of these remarkable neighborhoods, offering participants a well-balanced and diverse tour of the area's finest locales. Prepare to be captivated by the unique character and splendor of each community as you traverse the course, ensuring an exhilarating and unforgettable experience.

When: Mid June

Where: Duluth, MN

Grandma's Marathon (Grandma's) is a beloved annual road race that takes place every June in the picturesque city of Duluth, Minnesota, in the United States. This iconic event follows a breathtaking point-to-point course, commencing in the scenic town of Two Harbors along the renowned Scenic Route 61. From there, runners embark on a captivating journey alongside the stunning shores of Lake Superior, ultimately leading them into the heart of Duluth.

The grand finale of the race awaits participants in Canal Park, conveniently situated near the renowned Grandma's Restaurant and in close proximity to the unmistakable and impressive Aerial Lift Bridge. This remarkable setting adds to the charm and visibility of the finish line, creating an exhilarating and memorable experience for all involved.

When: Early June

Where: North Bend, WA

Experience the thrill of the Light at the End of the Tunnel Marathon, renowned for its lightning-fast course across the country. This point-to-point track promises exceptional times, courtesy of its consistent downhill grade and low starting elevation—ideal for achieving a Personal Record and securing a Boston Qualification in a single race. The same exhilarating course is offered in both August and September.

Embark on your journey at Snoqualmie Pass, venturing through a dark tunnel illuminated by your fellow runners. Marvel at the scenic mountains and waterfalls, breathe in the refreshing Washington air, and let your legs carry you to the finish line in North Bend. The course's speed is attributed to a descent of just over 2,000' of elevation. Recognized among the top 10 for a BQ by Runners World and Race Raves, this USATF Boston Certified course (WA21010RMB) has contributed to over 42% of our runners achieving a BQ on the ORIGINAL Tunnel course.

When: Late August

Where: Santa Rosa, CA

Be part of a vibrant community of runners as you embark on an incredible journey through the enchanting landscapes of Sonoma County during the Santa Rosa Marathon. This extraordinary event spans a magnificent weekend, celebrating the essence of late summer in the heart of California's renowned wine country. Immerse yourself in the breathtaking beauty of the region as you traverse courses that meander through picturesque vineyards and offer captivating views of pastoral scenes.

Indulge in the scenic miles that unfold before you, taking in the mesmerizing sights and embracing the serenity of Sonoma County. With predominantly flat courses, the 5K, 10K, half marathon, and marathon routes provide a delightful experience for participants of all levels. After crossing the finish line, join fellow runners in the lively post-race festivities at Old Courthouse Square in downtown Santa Rosa, where those aged 21 and above can enjoy a complimentary beer.

As a cherished memento, all marathon finishers will also receive a bottle from the race's esteemed wine sponsor, symbolizing the spirit of this remarkable event.

Come together with thousands of passionate runners and immerse yourself in the splendor of Sonoma County as you create lasting memories during the Santa Rosa Marathon.

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