As the popularity of marathon running continues to surge, the quest for the perfect race brings runners from all walks of life to the diverse landscapes of the South East United States. This region, renowned for its vibrant cities, historic charm, and natural beauty, offers a variety of marathon races that cater to different skill levels and preferences.
From the mountainous challenges of the Blue Ridge and Grandfather Mountain Marathons to the musical energy of Nashville’s Country Music Marathon, and from the scenic tranquility of the Jackson River Scenic Trail Marathon to the bustling city courses of the Atlanta and Marine Corps Marathons, there’s a marathon for every runner in the South East.
In this article, we delve into the unique characteristics of each marathon, providing insights into the race dates, course terrains, and special features that make them stand out. Whether you’re a seasoned marathoner seeking a new challenge, a beginner looking for an enjoyable first marathon, or a running enthusiast planning your next race-cation, you’ll find a race that suits your needs in the South East United States. Let’s lace up and explore!
New River Marathon
Next Race Date: May 2024
Course Terrain: Road / Hilly
Nestled in the heart of North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, the New River Marathon is a scenic delight for runners. Since its inception, the race has offered participants the chance to soak in the rustic beauty of the region, running along the banks of the New River, one of the oldest rivers in the world. The hilly course terrain adds to the challenge, making this marathon an exciting endeavor for seasoned runners.
Despite the demanding course, the New River Marathon holds a charm that keeps participants returning year after year. From the beautiful landscapes to the supportive local community, this race presents a unique marathon experience, promising both challenge and enjoyment.
Marine Corps Marathon
Next Race Date: Sunday 29th October 2023
Course Terrain: Road / Flat
The Marine Corps Marathon, often referred to as “The People’s Marathon,” is a staple in the United States running community. Runners from around the world come to the nation’s capital to participate in this prestigious event, which pays homage to the United States Marine Corps. Established in 1976, this marathon has grown to be the fourth largest in the United States and the ninth largest in the world.
The course, mostly flat, takes runners through iconic landmarks of Washington, D.C., and Arlington, Virginia. The experience is further enriched by the cheering crowds and the enthusiastic Marines supporting the runners throughout the course. The race is a great opportunity for runners of all abilities, offering an inspirational atmosphere and a memorable journey.
Next Race Date: February 2024
Course Terrain: Road / Rolling Hills
As one of the premier running events in the South East United States, the Atlanta Marathon takes runners on a tour of Atlanta’s most iconic landmarks and neighborhoods. The course, characterized by rolling hills, offers a distinctive challenge while showcasing the city’s historic charm and modern vibrancy.
The Atlanta Marathon has long been an event that celebrates the city’s rich history and the legacy of the Olympic Games held in 1996. Runners of all levels can expect enthusiastic crowd support and an electrifying atmosphere. This race offers a unique blend of southern hospitality and competitive spirit, making it a must-run for marathon enthusiasts.
The Outer Banks Marathon
Next Race Date: Sunday 12th November 2023
Course Terrain: Road / Flat and Hilly
The Outer Banks Marathon, taking place in North Carolina, offers a unique coastal experience for runners. The course winds its way through the natural beauty of the Outer Banks, including the maritime forest, sound and oceanfront, and historical sites. The terrain is a combination of flat stretches and challenging hills, adding a diverse mix to the marathon experience.
This marathon is known for its scenic beauty and community support. Runners can enjoy the stunning sunrise over the ocean, the tranquil nature trails, and the cheers from local spectators. Whether you’re a seasoned marathoner or a first-timer, the Outer Banks Marathon is sure to provide a memorable and rewarding experience.
Rock N Roll Nashville
Next Race Date: 28th April 2024
Course Terrain: Road / Flat
The Country Music Marathon, held in Nashville, Tennessee, combines running with the city’s rich music history. The course takes runners through the heart of Music City, passing by landmarks like Music Row, The Country Music Hall of Fame, and the Grand Ole Opry.
The flat course is lined with stages featuring live country music, energizing runners and providing a uniquely Nashville soundtrack for the race. This marathon is not just a race, it’s a celebration of the spirit of Nashville. With its high energy and lively atmosphere, the Country Music Marathon offers an unforgettable experience for runners and music lovers alike.
The Blue Ridge Marathon
Next Race Date: 20th April 2024
Course Terrain: Road / Mountainous
Billed as “America’s Toughest Road Marathon,” the Blue Ridge Marathon in Roanoke, Virginia, is a challenge that pushes runners to their limits. The course takes participants along the Blue Ridge Parkway, featuring stunning vistas and over 7,430 feet of total elevation change, making it one of the most demanding marathons in the United States.
Runners who dare to take on the Blue Ridge Marathon are rewarded with breathtaking views of the Appalachian Mountains and an overwhelming sense of accomplishment. The supportive community and well-organized race make this a must-try event for those seeking a true test of their marathon abilities.
SunTrust Richmond Marathon
Next Race Date: Saturday 11th November 2023
Course Terrain: Road / Flat
Known as “America’s Friendliest Marathon,” the SunTrust Richmond Marathon in Richmond, Virginia, has earned a reputation for its exceptional organization, enthusiastic spectators, and beautiful course. The mostly flat course takes runners along the scenic James River, through historic neighborhoods and past iconic landmarks.
The race prides itself on providing a top-notch experience for runners, with excellent course support and lively entertainment. The Richmond Marathon is a fantastic event for runners of all skill levels, offering a welcoming atmosphere and a great opportunity to achieve personal bests.
Jackson River Scenic Trail Marathon
Next Race Date: Saturday 3rd June 2023
Course Terrain: Trail / Mostly Flat
Set along the peaceful Jackson River in the Alleghany Highlands of Virginia, the Jackson River Scenic Trail Marathon offers runners a tranquil and picturesque experience. The mostly flat course follows a converted railroad bed, providing a smooth trail surface suitable for runners of all levels.
Surrounded by the natural beauty of the region, participants can enjoy the sights and sounds of the flowing river, lush forests, and abundant wildlife. This marathon is perfect for those seeking a serene and scenic race experience, with the added benefit of a less crowded course. The Jackson River Scenic Trail Marathon is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered.