Runners pass by Big Ben at the London Marathon
visitlondonimages/ britainonview/ Grant Pritchard

The World of Marathons
These days, every major marathon sells out months in advance, and signing up usually happens before your training even starts. Sign up now for one of these races, then get running.

Boston Marathon (April): The world’s oldest and most prestigious to complete. You need to prequalify with another fast marathon-finishing time just to register.
Big Sur international Marathon (april): Spectacular Northern California scenery makes this a favorite destination marathon.
Paris Marathon (April): One of the world’s largest; carbo load on baguettes and run past the Eiffel
Bank of America Chicago Marathon (October): The nation’s second-largest race has a very flat, fast course, is well organized, and has plenty of encouraging spectators to offer support.
Marine Corps Marathon (October): This perennial D.C.-area favorite winds along the Potomac and past monuments and offers a 10K.
ING New York City Marathon (November): The mother of all marathons, it’s the largest in the world — and tough to get into.
•Metropcs Dallas White Rock Marathon (December): Run past some of the Dallas area’s most notable neighborhoods in this primarily flat-terrain marathon.
Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon and Half Marathon (December): Run down rarely closed “The Strip.” See hundreds of runners dressed as Elvis and even a run-through wedding chapel.
Honolulu Marathon (December): Popular for novices, it’s flat, scenic — and in Hawaii. But a chaotic, crowded start means little running until mile three and slower finishing times.
Walt Disney World Marathon (January): Run through “The Happiest Place on Earth” and past Cinderella’s castle. Flat terrain and the largest U.S. marathon that offers a half-marathon option.

Training For 26.2
Look to one of these resources for a plan to get you marathon-ready.

• Runner’s World magazine has more online plans for every type of runner than you can imagine, plus interactive personal training.
• Running guru Hal Higdon has 18-week programs for five ability levels, plus plans specifically for seniors, multiple marathoners, and more.
• Most big races have their own free training plans. The ING New York City Marathon offers three 15-week online versions; Chicago has a 17-week version; and most host live group-training runs. Go online for details.
• Team in Training is the biggest of many charity groups that provide coaching, support, and group runs nationwide.