The Top Texas Marathons for Runners and Challengers

2016 Humana Rock 'n' Roll Dallas Half Marathon
Cooper Neill / Stringer Getty Images

Texas has a variety of running events for fitness enthusiasts. However, for top runners, marathons are the ultimate challenge. Those wishing to push themselves will find plenty of marathon events across the Lone Star State. Driving across the state can take more than 14 hours, so road trips outside of Texas are usually out of the question. The following list of marathons and challenges in Texas take place in cities that should take locals a manageable amount of time to get to, including Austin, Houston, and Ft. Worth.

01 of 05

Livestrong Austin Marathon

Held in the Capitol City, the Livestrong Austin Marathon is one of the most scenic races in Texas, with nearly half the course being run along Town Lake and the Colorado River. The rolling hills of Austin also make this one of the more challenging races offered in the Lone Star State.

Runners can opt-in for the marathon, half marathon, or 5k and will be able to experience highlights like Hyde Park, Lady Bird Johnson Lake, and the University of Texas. Over 30 bands from Austin play throughout the course to keep runners pumped up and on their A-game.

02 of 05

Chevron Houston Marathon

What started as a humble race with just over 100 runners has blossomed into the largest single sporting event in Houston. This year's Houston Marathon features nearly 18,000 participants, making it one of the largest running events in the country.

The Houston Marathon Committee (HMC) was created in 1972 as a nonprofit organization and has board directors, staff members, and nearly 7,5000 volunteers on the day of the race.

03 of 05

BMW Dallas Marathon

The BMW Dallas Marathon has been around for over 40 years and is a combination of a fitness festival and day-long concert. This is one of the unique running events in the nation, with bands stationed at every mile marker along the marathon route.

This event is great for both beginners and experts, with a flatter course for the half marathon and more hills in the full marathon. There is also an expo that's fairly large with vendors, motivating spectators along the track, and police around to keep the event safe.

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Cowtown Ft. Worth Marathon

The Cowtown Marathon has been around for over 40 years. This is one of the largest races in Northern Texas with sponsors like Miller Lite. Runners, volunteers, and cheery spectators are welcome to the event. There is even a Cowtown Challenge for advanced runners who want a medal to take home.

Ft. Worth's annual Cowtown Marathon is comprised of several events in one:

  • The USA T&F certified marathon and half-marathon
  • Three-person relay marathon
  • USA T&F certified 10k and 5k for adults
  • A USA T&F certified 5k for kids
Continue to 5 of 5 below.
05 of 05

Big D Marathon in Dallas

This annual marathon starts and finishes at Dallas Fair Park, the site of the Texas State Fair. The course winds through a variety of Dallas neighborhoods, as well as nearby White Rock Lake. A half-marathon and 5k are also held in conjunction with the Texas Marathon.

The schedule typically includes a packet pickup and late registration in the early morning, followed by the marathon, half start, and 5k. There is a party following the race, and the courses close in the afternoon. Runners can expect beautiful spring weather in Dallas with water stations, flat fast courses, and chip timing. 

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