Even slugs whose idea of a marathon is having to stop at both the donut shop and the liquor store on the same trip know that Boston is in April and New York is in November. But what about the other 10 months?
There are many challenging and breath-taking (so to speak) marathons across the country throughout the year. For your motivational consideration and planning purposes, here are 12 for '12:
Miami Marathon. Jan. 29, 2012: Take your running talents to South Beach. This course begins in front of the Heat's home arena and then heads south to Coconut Grove before doubling back along Biscayne Bay. The date is favorable for sports fans: It is the Sunday between the NFL conference championship games and the Super Bowl.
Austin Marathon. Feb. 19, 2012: This is billed as the Greenest Race in North America, according to an accolade from Runner's World magazine in 2008. Austin also touts being held annually on President's Day Weekend, in case you need extra time to soak in the local ambiance -- or recover from the run.
Napa Valley Marathon. March 4, 2012: If you're going to run 26.2 miles, you might as well do it in an area known for great wine and luxurious spas. The course starts in Calistoga and winds its way through vineyards.
Big Sur International Marathon. April 29, 2012: This is a perennial winner in various lists for "Most Scenic Marathons" for good reason. The combination of the Pacific coastline and the giant redwoods is a tough hand to beat.
Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon. May 6, 2012: Many runners get decked out in pig costumes, which should give you a sense of this event's festive vibe. And afterwards, you can refuel with a local classic, Cincinnati chili. Make ours a five-way, please.
San Diego Rock 'n' Roll Marathon. June 3, 2012: The course in "America's Finest City" covers Balboa Park, Gaslamp Quarter and Mission Bay, then ends at SeaWorld.
Frank Maier Marathon (Juneau, Alaska). July 28, 2012: Looking for a cool spot in the middle of the summer? Why not the capital of The Last Frontier? It offers glaciers, mountains and ocean. Then scarf down a post-race mooseburger to celebrate.
Pikes Peak Marathon. August 19, 2012: The degree of difficulty on this one is considerable: Going uphill at high elevation on unpaved trails. But the views are spectacular.
Lake Tahoe Marathon. Sept. 29, 2012: There's a reason why Lake Tahoe is such a popular tourist destination, and we're not even talking about the Ponderosa Ranch of "Bonanza" fame. The lake, the mountains -- it is simply gorgeous up here. The course runs along the lakefront.
Marine Corps Marathon. Oct. 28, 2012: The course begins in Arlington, Va., then heads into Washington past many national landmarks like the Lincoln Memorial and Smithsonian. It returns to Virginia for a look at the Pentagon and finishes by Arlington National Cemetery and the Marine Corps War Memorial. You'll want to sing the national anthem after the race. Want a time to beat? Oprah ran the Marine Corps in 4:29:15 in 1994.
Santa Barbara International Marathon. Nov. 10, 2012: This event just started in 2009, and any excuse to go to Santa Barbara is a good one. Its nickname of the "American Riviera" is no accident.
Honolulu Marathon. Dec. 9, 2012: Get into the holiday spirit Hawaiian style. The course works along the oceanfront, including Waikiki Beach. See if you can recognize where they shot "Magnum, P.I" on location.
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