Running Long Distance 9 Fun and Unique Summer Marathons in the U.S. By Christine Luff, ACE-CPT Christine Luff, ACE-CPT LinkedIn Twitter Christine Many Luff is a personal trainer, fitness nutrition specialist, and Road Runners Club of America Certified Coach. Learn about our editorial process Updated on March 22, 2020 Reviewed Verywell Fit articles are reviewed by nutrition and exercise professionals. Reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more. by John Honerkamp Reviewed by John Honerkamp LinkedIn Twitter John Honerkamp is an RRCA and USATF-certified running coach, celebrity marathon pacer, and recognized leader in the New York City running community. Learn about our Review Board Print Many runners have more time to travel to race destinations in the summer months. But there aren't as many marathon races in July, August, and early September. Spring and fall are more popular seasons for U.S. marathon runners since the weather is more comfortable for distance running. But if hot-weather running is your thing, you still have plenty of races to choose from. Fun summer marathons are out there, especially if you’re willing and able to travel. Consider these unique and exciting places to run or walk 26.2 miles in the summer. Missoula Marathon Aurora Photos/Getty Images Where: Missoula, MontanaWhen: Late JuneWhy run this summer marathon: The Missoula Marathon starts early, so participants get to watch a spectacular sunrise from behind the mountains as they run through the scenic Montana countryside. The course finishes in beautiful, historic downtown Missoula. With a cap of 1,300 participants, this race is perfect for runners seeking a rural, community-supported marathon with beautiful scenery. And with a 7.5-hour course limit, it’s also walker-friendly. San Francisco Marathon Marty Honig/Getty Images Where: San Francisco, CaliforniaWhen: Late JulyWhy do it: The San Francisco Marathon takes race participants on a scenic tour of the city’s natural beauty and famous landmarks, from the Embarcadero and Fisherman’s Wharf to gorgeous Golden Gate Park, the Haight-Ashbury district, and the San Francisco Giants’ AT&T Park. A highlight for most runners is crossing San Francisco's famous Golden Gate Bridge. Of course, there are some hills, but you won’t be running any of the ridiculously steep hills the city is known for. San Francisco is the perfect destination for a summer marathon, as the city’s typical July weather is typically warm, mild, and dry. Run Faster and Stronger With Hill Training Crater Lake Rim Marathon Bruce Shippee/EyeEm/Getty Images Where: Crater Lake National Park, OregonWhen: Early to mid-AugustWhy do it: One of the most picturesque marathon courses in the U.S., the Crater Lake Rim Marathon is run along the rim of majestic Crater Lake. You'll be challenged by the rugged mountains, with altitudes ranging from 5,980 to 7,850 feet above sea level, but you'll also be seriously rewarded with breathtaking views. How Can I Prepare for Running at Altitude? Pikes Peak Marathon Transcendental Graphics/Getty Images Where: Manitou Springs, ColoradoWhen: Late AugustWhy do it: If you assume that the Pikes Peak Marathon is difficult based on its name, you’re absolutely correct. The race is so physically challenging that race organizers don’t just let anyone attempt it. To qualify, you must have completed a half-marathon or longer race in under 2:25:00 or a marathon or longer race in under 6:00:00. If you make the cut and are up for the challenge, the difficult ascent to the top and running at high altitude are worth the breathtaking (literally) views. You'll have a unique experience and a lifetime of bragging rights. The race begins and finishes in Manitou Springs, but the majority of the course is run on Barr Trail in Pike National Forest. The first half of the course has an elevation gain (start to summit) of 7,815 feet. Once runners reach the summit of Pikes Peak, they turn around and head back down to the finish. Summer Half Marathons in the U.S. Santa Rosa Marathon John Elk/Getty Images Where: Santa Rosa, CaliforniaWhen: Late AugustWhy do it: The Santa Rosa Marathon allows runners to experience all the beauty of California wine country on a flat, fast course. Participants start and finish in the Old Courthouse Square in downtown Santa Rosa. The fun continues with a post-race festival at the Santa Rose Beer Fest, complete with pancakes and a free beer-tasting glass, plus vendors and live music. 13 Fastest Marathons in the U.S. to Race in 2023 Sioux Falls Marathon DenisTangneyJr/Getty Images Where: Sioux Falls, South DakotaWhen: Late August or early SeptemberWhy do it: The Sioux Falls Marathon route is a loop course that takes you on a scenic 26.2-mile journey around Sioux Falls. You’ll experience the city’s historic downtown, Falls Park, the Sioux Falls River Greenway, and an award-winning trail alongside the banks of the Big Sioux River. Air Force Marathon Erik Lykins/Getty Images Where: Dayton, OhioWhen: Mid to late SeptemberWhy do it: If you’re looking for a smaller, fast, and well-organized marathon with plenty of inspiration and support along the way, the Air Force Marathon may be for you. From the pre-race pasta dinner at the Air Force Museum to running through an Air Force base to the Air Force personnel handing out medals at the finish line, the race offers numerous opportunities to appreciate and honor the military. Quad Cities Marathon Ken Ilio/Getty Images Where: Moline, IllinoisWhen: Late SeptemberWhy do it: The Quad Cities Marathon course features one of the most scenic river views in the country. It covers four cities, three bridges, two states, and one island, all along the mighty Mississippi River. Race weekend offers something for everyone. Along with the marathon, there's a half marathon, marathon relay, 5K, Pump-N-Run, a one-mile walk, and even a micro-marathon for the kids. How to Get Into the Boston Marathon 7 Sources Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. USA Marathon List. USA Marathons. MissoulaMarathon.org. Race Info/FAQ. San Francisco Marathon. The Biofreeze San Francisco Marathon and Elevation Pricing. April 28, 2014. Crater Lake Rim Runs. Event details. Pikes Peak Marathon. The Course. Santa Rosa Marathon. Race Details. Quad Cities Marathon. Volunteers & Spectators. By Christine Luff, ACE-CPT Christine Many Luff is a personal trainer, fitness nutrition specialist, and Road Runners Club of America Certified Coach. See Our Editorial Process Meet Our Review Board Share Feedback Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! What is your feedback? Other Helpful Report an Error Submit Advertiser Disclosure × The offers that appear in this table are from companies that partner with and compensate Verywell Fit for displaying their offer. 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