11 Chances to Chase a Boston Qualifier This Year
Kentucky Derby Marathon
Louisville, Kentucky - April 25, 2015 1 of 12
If you're going to run your butt off, you may as well pick a race that has a fun and unique after-party. The Kentucky Derby Marathon and Half Marathon starts and finishes in downtown Louisville. Runners will be treated to a flat course with minimal elevations that tours downtown, Churchill Downs, Louisville Slugger, the University of Louisville, past Museum Row and through the nation's largest Victorian neighborhood. Whether you get your BQ or not, celebrate at the post-race party on the waterfront featuring live music, unique Kentucky finisher medals and an admission voucher to Churchill Downs (not redeemable until after the Derby).
Eau Claire Marathon
Eau Claire, Wisconsin - May 3, 2015 2 of 12
This Boston Qualifier starts and finishes in Carson Park, a 134-acre peninsula surrounded by Half Moon Lake. Runners will cross nine bridges on this course that passes by the Eau Claire and Chippewa rivers and several parks.
Vancouver USA Marathon
Vancouver, Washington - June 21, 2015 3 of 12
Get ready for the late hills at Boston by chasing your qualifier at the Vancouver USA Marathon, which has hills between miles 14 and 21. While you pound out those hills, take in the views of the Columbia River. The event includes a three-day outdoor Active Expo, along with the Vancouver Saturday Market, The Summer Brewfest, and all VUM ceremonies and festivities in Ester Short Park.
Charlevoix, Michigan - June 27, 2015 4 of 12
Take your mind off the discomfort of your race pace with views of Lake Michigan and the shade of tree-lined residential streets. The Charlevoix Marathon and Half Marathon is set in a quaint, quiet lakefront resort town, and accommodations range from B&Bs to motels to camping. Post-race showers are offered for free at the Charlevoix pool from noon to 4 p.m.—a thoughtful option for those who will have checked out of their rooms before the start of the race. Note that this year, the race has new start times with the marathon beginning at 6:30 a.m.
PA Grand Canyon Marathon
Wellsboro, Pennsylvania - July 25, 3015 5 of 12
No, it's not that Grand Canyon—it's the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon just outside of Wellsboro. Besides, who wants to chase a BQ in the dusty, hot and rocky Grand Canyon in Arizona? In its third year, the PA Grand Canyon Marathon has added a half marathon, and both courses wind along the west rim of the canyon and feature gorgeous views of verdant foliage. The entire marathon course is held within state park land, making it a quiet and traffic-free event.
Santa Rosa Marathon
Santa Rosa, California - August 23, 2015 6 of 12
The largest city in Northern California's wine growing region, the city of Santa Rosa opens up the pathways along Santa Rosa Creek and Prince Memorial Greenway Park for the Santa Rosa Marathon and Half Marathon and 5K. Open to both runners and walkers, the race route features sights notable for the area: trestle bridges that cross the creek to glorious farmlands and vineyards that dot the landscape. There are a few minor hills at miles 11 and 16.5, but the marathon course is otherwise flat and fast. Celebrate your effort with pancakes, watermelon and a bottle of De Loach wine.
American Discovery Trail Marathon
Colorado Springs, Colorado - September 7, 2015 7 of 12
If you tried to get your BQ at an earlier event this year but didn't make the cut-off, the American Discovery Trail Marathon, Relay Marathon and Half Marathon is a great backup because of its flexible registration. While early registration is encouraged, runners can register on race weekend for $100. Enjoy a gently rolling course along hard-packed trails with some asphalt and concrete, before finishing at America the Beautiful Park.
Abebe Bikila Day International Peace Marathon
Washington, D.C. - September 12, 2015 8 of 12
Named for the distance running legend remembered by most as the barefoot unknown who won the 1960 Olympic marathon, the Abebe Bikila Day International Peace Marathon and Half Marathon provides an ideal course for chasing a BQ. Runners take two turns going out and back on the C&O Canal Towpath, which is completely flat, off-road (gravel trail) and free of crossings or turns. What sets this race apart are the little details: Runners have the option of starting at 8 a.m. (instead of 9 a.m.), bib transfers are allowed for $10, and organizers will ring a memorial bell 184 times to honor the 184 victims who were killed at the Pentagon on 9/11.
Humboldt Redwoods Marathon
Weott, California - October 18, 2015 9 of 12
Racing in the shade of towering redwood trees might help you keep things in perspective; yes, qualifying for Boston is incredibly gratifying, but just being able to run free in nature is a gift. The marathon and half marathon start together at the Dyerville Bridge on the famous Avenue of the Giants, and the 5K starts in the same location 15 minutes later. All courses are fast, paved and shaded.
Indianapolis Monumental Marathon
Indianapolis, Indiana - November 7, 2015 10 of 12
This mostly flat and fast course with only a few small hills highlights the beautiful buildings in downtown Indianapolis. If your friends and family want to run a shorter event, there's a half marathon, 5K and kids marathon (1 mile).
Select Staffing Santa Barbara Veteran's Day Marathon
Santa Barbara, California - November 7, 2015 11 of 12
This point-to-point course begins in the scenic Goleta Valley with its lush lemon and avocado orchards, winds through Santa Barbara's picturesque Mesa community, and finishes with a 2-mile descent to the Pacific Ocean. This race shows off the quintessential beauty of the Southern California coastline. The race is capped off with cash prizes for winners and a post-race celebration.