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Beaver Chase Urban Trail Quarter, Half and Full MarathonAug. 13, 2016; Indianapolis 1 of 11
Are you a wilderness lover who lives in the city? This race combines the best of both worlds, taking advantage of the Urban Wilderness Trail in downtown Indianapolis. The marathon course involves six loops of wooded and open trails that offer views of Fall Creek and White River, plus glimpses of the city for those who don't like to be too far from civilization.
Forrest Gump ChallengeSept. 9, 2016; Reeds Spring, Mo. 2 of 11
Just feel like running? Run, Forrest, run...26.2 miles in the Forrest Gump Challenge. This race honors the Academy Award-winning movie and encourages runners to dress up in their best Forrest Gump costume. The course takes runners through the small town of Reeds Spring, with the marathon completing eight laps of a roughly 5K loop.
The cherry on top? The famous movie will be played on loop at the finish line, so your family and friends certainly won't be bored while they wait for you.
Kroll's Diner Bismarck MarathonSept. 17, 2016; Bismarck, N.D. 3 of 11
This race attracts runners from across the country—and Canada—as they shoot to qualify for the New York or Boston Marathon in a beautiful Midwestern setting. Runners will begin at Cottonwood Park in Bismarck, make their way across the Missouri River into Mandan and return to the capital city for the finish.
Proceeds from the race go toward different local charities each year, specifically those that give back to youth communities, so you can feel good about where your race entry fees are going.
Moonlight Marathon at Oak Ridge CemeterySept. 17, 2016; Springfield, Ill. 4 of 11
This race is for runners who aren't afraid of the dark—or cemeteries after dark. The course runs through the historic 160-year-old Oak Ridge Cemetery, where President Abraham Lincoln was laid to rest. Runners begin at 5 p.m. and pass through the country's second most-visited cemetery—a beautiful and haunting experience.
While glow necklaces and course reflectors are provided, runners are encouraged to have their own headlamps, as it will be plenty dark in the final miles of the marathon.
RunND Trail RaceOct. 1, 2016; Mandan, N.D. 5 of 11
Looking for more of a challenge? This race is run almost entirely on singletrack trails next to Otter Creek, providing a decent test for even experienced marathoners. Participants will complete two hilly laps of a looped, dirt trail at the Harmon Lake Recreation Area. Don't worry about stocking up on your own race fuel, though—aid stations will be stocked with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, pretzels, potato chips, candy and fruit (in addition to the standard water and Gatorade, of course).
The race is limited to 300 runners total, so be sure to sign up early for this one.
Milwaukee Lakefront MarathonOct. 2, 2016; Milwaukee, Wisc. 6 of 11
This point-to-point course is flat, charming and a great opportunity to qualify for the Boston Marathon. Traveling through rural countryside and quiet north shore neighborhoods, the race finishes along the shores of Lake Michigan.
The race is capped at 3,500 runners, so early registration is encouraged.
Prairie Fire MarathonOct. 9, 2016; Wichita, Kan. 7 of 11
Looking for a Boston qualifying time or a 26.2 PR? This race is one of the flattest and fastest options in the country, as it takes runners through the heart of Wichita. Seasonal temperatures will be just right for running, and more than 10 live bands will keep you entertained on your journey to the finish line.
An extra special perk? Runners receive free race images so you can commemorate your achievement by framing a snapshot of your sweaty, smiling self.
Towpath MarathonOct. 9, 2016; Sagamore Hills, Ohio 8 of 11
Taking place entirely in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, this race has quickly become one of Ohio's premiere marathons. This Boston qualifier runs on the historic Towpath Trail, showcasing breathtaking Midwest beauty between Akron and Cleveland.
All proceeds from the event go toward preserving, protecting and educating the public about local park systems.
Medtronic Twin Cities MarathonOct. 9, 2016; Minneapolis, Minn. 9 of 11
Dubbed "The Most Beautiful Urban Marathon in America," the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon is celebrating its 35th year in 2016. Runners will begin in downtown Minneapolis and make their way through the city and across the Mississippi River, finishing at the Capitol building in St. Paul. The course winds past five different lakes and along the Mississippi, so there's no shortage of spectacular views along the way.
Photo courtesy of Twin Cities In Motion.
Oregon Trail Run of NebraskaOct. 22, 2016; Hebron, Neb. 10 of 11
What better way to experience the historic Oregon Trail by running along the route where the country's settlers traveled west? Not only does part of this race take place on the iconic Oregon Trail, runners will also cover the Mormon Trail and Pony Express route for an extra dose of history. The course is mostly flat, with just a few rolling hills, and takes you through canopies of cottonwood, oak, locust and ash trees.