Marathons take place throughout the Southeast U.S. from the coast to the mountains and beyond, offering participants and spectators a chance to explore new places while pursuing a number of different goals and passions at the same time. This roundup of highlighted marathons features some of the most popular and unique southeastern marathons, including one of the nation's oldest and a few new events.
Late October - Arlington, Virginia and Washington D.C.
A weekend of fun surrounds this annual fall race, which has appropriately earned the nicknames Marathon of the Monuments and the People's Marathon. The beautiful course begins in Arlington, Virginia, crosses into Washington, D.C., passing by numerous monuments and memorials and returns to Arlington for the finish at the U.S. Marine Corps Memorial (Iwo Jima Memorial).
October - Atlanta, Georgia
Formerly held on Thanksgiving, this is the oldest marathon on the Southeast U.S. and on of the ten oldest in the nation, although the route has changed several times since it was first run in 1963. Today, the loop course takes participants past popular Atlanta sites and neighborhoods such as Centennial Olympic Park, the CNN Center, Philips Arena, Georgia Aquarium, Turner Field, The King Center, Piedmont Park, Buckhead and many others. (The Atlanta Half Marathon and the inaugural Thanksgiving Day 5K run / walk will take place on Thanksgiving Day.)
November - Kitty Hawk and Manteo, North Carolina
This mostly flat marathon course begins in Kitty Hawk and finishes in Manteo, with picturesque views of Albemarle Sound, the famous Wright Brothers Monument, Jockey's Ridge and much more. The post-race party in the quaint Roanoke Island village of Manteo features a Pirate Jamboree with food, music and games for all ages.
November - Richmond, Virginia
Known as America's Friendliest Marathon, this popular event welcomes both seasoned and first time marathoners, as well as walkers. The course loops around many of Richmond's unique and historic neighborhoods and features some fun amenities such as junk food stops and wet washcloth stations.
February - Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Officially a Green marathon, this marathon event features races for all ages and ability levels. The loop course passes by many popular Myrtle Beach attractions and lively post race parties add to the weekend fun.
January or February - New Orleans, Louisiana
The Rock 'n' Roll New Orleans Marathon and Half Marathon takes place in January or February during Mardi Gras season. Many of major New Orleans landmarks may be seen along the race course.
April - Roanoke, Virginia and the Blue Ridge Parkway
Celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the Blue Ridge Parkway, this inaugural marathon and half marathon event launched in 2010. Described by the event organizers as "one of the most difficult and beautiful marathon courses on the East Coast," the challenging full marathon course features stunning overlook views and more than 6000 feet of total elevation change. Starting and finishing in Roanoke, this is the first ever marathon to be run almost entirely on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
April - Nashville, Tennessee
A great way to experience music city, this lively marathon features music performances on more than 25 stages, a scenic course with great views of historic sites, a festival finish line celebration and a Downtown post race concert.
April - Louisville, Kentucky
Held during the popular Kentucky Derby Festival, this annual spring event attracts runners from all 50 states and several countries around the world. The miniMarathon attracts over 10,000 entrants, while over 2000 runners tackle the Marathon. Among many of Louisville's top attractions and interesting neighborhoods, the scenic route includes historic Churchill Downs.
July - Linville, North Carolina
Held annually during the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games in July, this challenging marathon course winds through the picturesque Blue Ridge Mountains, including steep climbs to McRae Meadows and the sounds Scottish bagpipes. This is one of the few annual summer marathons.