Top marathons for 2014: Planning ahead for your long-distance run
A look ahead to some of the greatest marathon races around the world. (Mikael Damkier/shutterstock)
Published Monday, December 23, 2013 4:07PM EST
While runners have only a slim shot of getting into next year's marathons in London, Boston, and Berlin, here is a preview of some of the biggest races happening around the globe -- from the six World Marathon Majors to a few smaller races that offer something a little different.
February 23, Japan
Registration: Closed. / 2015 registration expected August 2014.
In 2013, the Tokyo marathon was upgraded as one of the world's major champion races, World Marathon Majors, joining races in Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago, and New York City. The event draws around 30,000 mostly amateur runners.
Marathon International de Paris
April 6, France
The Paris Marathon takes in many major landmarks contained within the City of Light, as the Champs-Élysées, Louvre, Bastille, Seine, and of course Eiffel Tower mark out its metropolitan circuit.
April 13, UK
Registration: Closed, though charity registration is still possible. 2015 registration expected late April 2014.
The world's third largest marathon in 2011 with 34,705 finishers, behind only Chicago and New York, the London event is also known for its fundraising, with major charities given a set number of entries which they then allocate to sponsored runners.
Two Oceans Marathon
April 19, Cape Town, South Africa
Registration: Online registration open
At 56km/35mi instead of the usual 42km/26mi, Cape Town's annual race serves as a (relatively) gentle introduction to the world of ultramarathons. Both its name and its route refer to the Indian and Atlantic Oceans, which meet at South Africa's tip.
April 21, USA
Registration: Closed, although charity registration is still possible. Registration for April 20, 2015 is set to begin in September 2014.
Successful entrants to the Boston Marathon, one of North America's most prestigious, qualify via completion of a previous marathon within a set time. Eligible marathons are approved by the USA Track & Field association, Athletics Canada, or the Association of International Marathon and Road Races.
Midnight Sun Marathon, Tromsø
June 21, Norway
Registration: Open until capacity is reached
The Midnight Sun Marathon commences, as one would expect, at midnight, and yet in full sunlight due to the endless daylight hours experienced at the peak of Scandinavian summer. Participants are advised to register before January, after which hotel accommodation for the race weekend becomes scarce.
September 28, Germany
Registration: Sold out, though charity registration is still possible
After frustrations from entries selling out within minutes in past years, the 2014 marathon has a new registration protocol involving pre-registration, but it still quickly sold out. The Berlin Marathon is a festival of long distance races over a fast, flat course. This year's race will feature 80 bands along the course, as well as a children's Bambini Run prior to the main event.
October 12, USA
Registration: To be announced
One of the World Marathon Majors along with Berlin, Boston, London, New York, and Tokyo. The Chicago Marathon came to prominence in the 1970s and '80s following the increased popularity of long distance running thanks to the New York Marathon and an Olympic Gold for the USA in Munich.
October 19, The Netherlands
Said to be an ideal beginner's marathon because of its flat route, and also one of the fastest marathons in the world for the very same reason -- winners typically finish in just over 2 hours 5 minutes.
October 20, China
The Beijing International Marathon is the largest and most popular marathon organized in China. Accredited with the IAAF Gold Label for Road Races in 2010, it has become one of the top marathons in the world, in terms of both organization and popularity, with as many as 30,000 runners taking part.
New York City Marathon
November 2, USA
Registration: Applications open to enter drawing
New York boasts one of the world's five largest recorded marathons in terms of number of participants. Places are allocated via lottery, with guaranteed spots for New York Road Runners club members, charity fundraisers, those who purchase an official travel package, and competitors who have successfully completed at least 15 previous NYCMs.
Intercontinental Istanbul-Eurasia Marathon
November 16, Turkey
Registration: Stay tuned for details.
The intercontinental marathon takes advantage of Istanbul's Bosphorus-straddling situation in order to be the world's only marathon that starts in one continent (Asia) and ends in another (Europe).