Calling All Marathon Runners: 2015’s Guide to the Best Spring Races in the Nation

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Spring is here, which means warmer weather and ever the more reason to enjoy a leisurely run. In fact, with summer coming closer, why not kick up your fitness game by joining a 10k, half or full marathon somewhere in a city near you?

Or, make the occasion more festive and enter a marathon in a different state. Seasoned runners, this goes out to you too! These 9 races inspire marathon runners around the world, and all of them are taking place this spring! Slip on those sneakers and hit the ground running, literally.

1. Miller Lite Charlottesville Marathon, Charlottesville, VA – April 4, 2015

For marathon runners among us who like the scenic course, the Miller Lite Charlottesville Marathon is up there with the best. The race combines flat surfaces with moderately steep hills – the kind of diversity that keeps you focused and challenged. And, when things get rough, the stunning rural setting is sure to make each step worth it. The event offers a full, half, 8k and kids mile. Registration fee: $76-$161.

2. Foot Leveler Blue Ridge Marathon, Roanoke, VA – April 18, 2015

If elevation lifts your motivation, the Foot Levelers Blue Ridge Marathon is perfect for you. It is one of the most challenging marathons on the east coast. Less than 1,000 runners trek 7,430 feet of elevation throughout the course, mounting Mill Mountain, Blue Ridge Parkway and Roanoke Mountain. The scenes are breathtaking and are quite the reward after a steep ascent. A half marathon and 10K option exist as well. Registration fee: $80.

3. Boston Marathon, Boston, MA – April 20, 2015

Since the 2013 bombings, the Boston Marathon has never felt the same. Completing the marathon now means more for the city than it did ever before. This year, the Boston Marathon celebrates its 119th year, drawing some 500,000 spectators. Qualifying takes time and effort to deserve, so if you aren’t able to run it yourself, travel to Boston to watch the event take place. Registration fee: $175-$225.

4. Country Music Marathon, Nashville, TN – April 25, 2015

Run through America’s music city whilst being entertained by 50 bands on 28 different stages. The race passes through the Parthenon, Music Row and the Tennessee Titans’ LP field. For a truly entertaining run, the Country Music Marathon is the place to be – leave your iPod at home. Registration fee: $65-$130.

5. Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon, Louisville, KY – April 25, 2015

Aside from a full marathon, the Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon also includes a half marathon and a team relay marathon. The track takes runners through Iroquois Park and the historic Churchill Downs. Registration fee: $80.

6. Big Sur International Marathon, Carmel, CA – April 26, 2015

The largest rural marathon in the world, the Big Sur International Marathon is a must for long-distance runners near and far. The track includes 13 hills over the last 13 miles and includes Pacific Ocean views and an adventure through the Redwood forests. Competitor magazine ranked the marathon as the “Best Destination Marathon” in 2012. Other race distances include 21 miles, 10.6 miles, 9 miles, 5K and 3K. Registration fee: $160-$300.

7. Flying Pig Marathon, Cincinnati, Ohio – May 3, 2015

As one of the biggest marathons in the U.S., the Flying Pig Marathon is also popularly praised for being a very well organized and entertaining race, boosted by 25 support stations and tons of entertainment for marathon runners. It also offers half, 10K and 5K races. Registration fee: $25-$500.

8. Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon, Cleveland, OH – May 17, 2015

Among the 50 oldest marathons in the U.S., the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon is also one of the flattest and fastest of its kind in the country. The race offers a half, 10K, 5K and kids run options. Registration fee: $85-$120.

9. San Diego Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon, San Diego, CA – May 31, 2015

With 40 bands and high school cheerleaders cheering you on, the San Diego Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon is a 26.2-mile party. The race passes through the Petco Park, the Gaslamp Quarter and the San Diego Harbor. Registration fee: $40-$195.

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Photo Credit: JD