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Q:

The Best Marathons for Travelers: Northern California's Marathons

I don’t want to run just any old urban marathon: I'm looking for a destination race that will let me combine an incredible trip with my athletic endeavors. Any ideas?

A:Not up for international travel? Hop a plane to California, and take your pick. The Humboldt Redwoods Marathon course snakes through Humboldt Redwoods State Park, south of Eureka, beneath trees that are hundreds of feet high and hundreds of years old. A short hop south, the Napa Valley Marathon follows a beginner-friendly, gentle course through California wine country, and down on the coast, the Big Sur International Marathon, a Boston qualifier, offers a more challenging route that mixes redwoods, coastal views, and plenty of ups and downs. (There’s a six-hour time limit on both those last two, so plan accordingly. )

The next Humboldt Redwoods Marathon is on October 20, 2013. The Napa Valley Marathon happens March 2, 2014, and the Big Sur International Marathon is slated for April 27, 2014.

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