A Guide to the Most Popular Marathons

The most popular marathons showcase the running abilities of the world's running elite. In cities across America, people gather to compete or simply attempt to finish these 26.2 mile road races. Though marathons are held everywhere, there are some that are more well-known than others. Here are some of the most popular marathons.

Boston
The Boston Marathon is one of the world's most famous marathons because it is the oldest. It was started by John Graham in 1897 and was just 24.5 miles the first thirty years it was run. Boston is popular not just because of its course but also because it is rich with history. Thousands of runners travel to Boston to compete in this race, which boasts a difficult hill known as "Heartbreak Hill."

New York City
The New York City Marathon is the world's largest marathon. Over two million people watch the marathon live from the streets of New York, with an additional 315 million spectators watching on television. Though it is one of the most popular marathons in the world, it is not as old as the Boston Marathon. The first New York City Marathon was run in 1970. Originally, the New York City Marathon was just a couple of laps around Central Park. Today it travels through the five boroughs of New York.

Chicago
The Chicago Marathon is the newest of the popular US Marathons, with the first one being run in 1977. The Chicago Marathon is popular among runners because it is a fast, flat course, prompting quick finishing times. The Chicago Marathon takes runners through twenty-nine Chicago neighborhoods.

London
The London Marathon was inspired by the New York City Marathon and was first run in 1981. Though 20,000 people applied to run the first London Marathon, only 7,747 were allowed to. Its course has changed since its beginning, making it flatter and therefore faster.

Berlin
This is the fifth of the world's most popular marathons. The Berlin Marathon has been around since 1974, with the number of runners in the mere hundreds. Today the Berlin Marathon is the second largest marathon. Berlin is known as one of the fastest marathons in the world, and has been since 1990; the same year that the marathon was run the day before the unification of Germany.

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