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The United States has 12,383 miles of coastline. For you runners out there, that translates to roughly 472 domestic marathons. And while charting your own route can be fun, there’s something to be said for an organized event: the aid stations, the swag, the camaraderie that develops when putting in 26.2 miles with a bunch of strangers. If you’re up for letting the experts do the planning for you, check out our favorite seaside races.
Surf City Marathon
Registration for the February 2015 race opens in March
The Surf City Marathon’s Southern California locale is tempting, as is its relatively hill-free course. The Pacific Ocean views, the 20,000 other runners, and average highs in the upper 60s all serve as pleasant distractions from your burning lungs and thighs. Once you’ve crossed the finish line, you can retreat to the sandy shores of Huntington Beach (a.k.a. Surf City, USA). If you plan on hanging ten, be sure to wear a wetsuit, though: water temperatures in February hover around 57 degrees.
Cape Cod Marathon
October 26, 2014
Each fall, the Cape Cod Marathon beckons runners to sandy shores, lush cranberry bogs, and the quaint town of Falmouth. Unlike the other runs in our roundup, this picturesque route does have a hilly section—at Sippewissett. And, if you’re interested, you can also compete in the Clam Chowdah Challenge, which dares participants to run 13.1 miles on Saturday, then the full 26.2 miles on Sunday. As a reward for your efforts, you can enjoy all the seaside charms this legendary hook of land offers.
Lifetime Miami Marathon
January 25, 2015
The Lifetime Miami Marathon is ideal for anyone who prefers their post-26.2-mile downtime to be an invigorating mashup of parties and poolside loafing. The relatively flat course places runners first in Miami proper, next, over the bay to Miami Beach, and then returns them to the start. After you’ve finished pounding the pavement (and, of course, cleaning up), a host of decadent hotels, trendy watering holes, lavish pools, and white South Beach sand awaits.
December 14, 2014
Nearly all the Honolulu Marathon’s 26.2 miles trace breathtaking Hawaiian shoreline. As runners fly past such fabled beaches as Ala Moana, Waikiki, and Maunalua Bay, they can mentally line up candidates for a favorite spot to plant an umbrella post-race. With average temperatures ranging between the upper 60s and lower 80s, you’ll find the weather about as perfect as it gets for running, as well as for basking in the sun later.
Wrightsville Beach Marathon
March 16, 2014
The Wrightsville Beach Marathon is held on a barrier island that’s home to a quaint beach town. You’ll run across bridges, by beach houses on stilts, and even through an arboretum, before ending up at the popular Mayfaire Town Center. Later, you can spread your towel on the beach and venture into nearby Lumina Station, a charming shopping village, when you need a bite to eat or want to browse some boutiques.