I'm trying to compile a list of US marathons, from hardest/slowest to easiest/fastest course. I looked on google for such a list but couldn't find anything other than 3 slowest and 3 fastests lists, so now it's up to the Let's Run community! Post all of the marathons you've run, from hardest course to fastest course. Post your times as well if you want to. I've only run 3 marathons, so I'll start the list with that. I'll attempt to combine everyone's list into one big list.
1. Boston Marathon 2:54:21
2. Baltimore Marathon 2:54:29
3. Freedom's Run Marathon (Harpers Ferry) 2:51:58
These 3 courses are all pretty similar, so it's hard to rank them...now add your marathons!
Fargo Marathon has to be the fastest non-point-to-point. There isn't so much as a bump on that course. It was won in 2:24 last year, so not crazy competitive, but it's honest.
Pikes Peak; Toughest
Toss up between NYC/Boston for a "moderate" road course that can be rougher than anticipated.
Grandma's beckons the right guy on the right day. This point to point course can be very fast, but has been hexed by heat the last several years. I still rate it my personal favorite.
Columbus Marathon-2:40:40-very flat course, had a nice pack to go with
Chicago-2:49:25-Did not deserve a sub 3, makes Columbus look hilly
Boston-2:50:35-Thought I was in shape for a sub 2:38, could not find a pack, dealt with 15mph headwind on own.
Conditions in Boston affected the performance a lot, Chicago being a super easy course affected that time a lot.
Massachusetts - Boston Marathon (really blows)
NY - NYC Marathon - (semi-blows)
Massachusetts - Bay State Marathon (solid)
Chicago - pretty solid
Austin - good
Berlin - tops
Grandfather Mountain Marathon is one of the slower (albeit one of the cooler) ones
Myrtle Beach and Kiawah are two of the faster ones if the wind isn't blowing.
You all forget the hardest of the all. Yonkers.
John Kelly (The younger) still has the course record - 2:21
No one even wants to try and beat it. It has over 15 hills. All are very steep and very long.
I was thinking about doing Grandma's but it's on a weekend I can't go, I'm now thinking about San Francisco, does anyone know how that compares to Boston?
My best try at the list so far:
2. Pikes Peak
3. Grandfather Mountain
7. Freedom's Run (Harpers Ferry, WV)
8. Bay State Maration (MA)
10. Myrtle Beach
12. Missoula (MT)
13. Tricities (Richland, WA)
Only done three:
Boston moderate to easy, but I had bad luck picking a year. Cold, headwind, drizzle.
Sugarloaf (ME)-super easy. One very long hill between 5 and 10 miles, but from 10 to the finish is a long gradual downhill. Drawback, you're likely running alone the whole way if you run under 2:50.
ME Marathon-Medium hard. Lots of small hills, a couple big ones. Starts and finishes with a couple flat miles but they can be windy along the ocean.
Isn't Austin a hilly course now?
I would put Houston at slightly slower than Chicago. Maybe 30 seconds. I've run 4 course and from easy to difficult it would be...
Chicago < Houston << Boston << NYC
hmm lets see...
you have a marathon where the poster said was hard w/ a record of 2:21 with a trail marathon that 2:21 would win the HALF and another that has over 1000 ft of elevation gain in the mountains.
you might want to reconsider your methods
|apples and oranges|
I think you need to separate road marathons from trail marathons. Trail marathons such as Pikes Peak, Leadville, Catalina, and Big Sur (the trail marathon) are a different kind of beast from road marathons. Toughest road marathons would have to include Yonkers (hills), Estes Park (hills and elevation), and Big Sur (hills and potential wind).
And absurd downhill courses like St George and Tucson should be separated from flat fast courses like Chicago, Bay State, Mardis Gras, and others.
|Coke for Breakfast|
You guys are talking about the old Yonkers course right? The most recent version (it has changed twice in recent years) is a double loop, not really that bad. I have run two new ones, but not the original, which was definitely a beast.
Hardest Trail marathon is one called Buzzards in the mts. near Harrisburg, PA. Lots of steep climbs and it's in early March, which often means snow is present. Ran a 4:35 one year and heaved up a lung on the last climb.
Hardest road marathon was probably one I ran in West Virginia, near Huntington...I forget the name, but it was very hilly with a real monster at mile 25 or so. I think my time was @ 4 hrs flat.
Boston is deceptively difficult for me...It was very warm both times I ran and I wasn't yet acclimated. Suffered through both in @ 3:30-3:40
Marine Corps was easiest by far - ran 3:08 twice. I've never broken 3 hrs - too many slow twitch muscles.
I've run Greenbelt (MD) and Pittsburgh (PA) also - both semi-tough but pretty and fun. Lots of spectators at Pittsburgh and a great post-race celebration.
Speaking of old courses, Johnny Kelley also set the course record for the hilly Holyoke Marathon in its first year- 1963. I can't believe he ran a 2:20 on the current course, it must have been a different one.
Correct. Austin is very hilly now. I think the others are referring to the old point-to-point course that was net downhill. I think a Kenyan guy ran around 2:14-2:15 on the hilly course by himself in 2007(?), but no one else has come close to that.
I've only run 2 so not much room to talk but,
1. Chicago 2:36:54
2. Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon 2:32:08
Chicago is super easy, I wish I had been in good shape for it and hadn't gone out in 1:13:30. The KDF marathon's second half is challenging.