Regularly recognized for its excellent trail systems and outdoor activities, it’s no wonder that Minnesota is host to an inordinate number of marathons. To be sure, the state is also home to a burgeoning running community that supports these events. A significant challenge that requires months of preparation, for some, it’s a bucket-list accomplishment and others, a way of life.
Regardless of which category you find yourself, we’ve rounded up a list of all the marathons in the state for the rest of the year to give you a head start on planning your racing season. From the trails of the northwoods to the streets of downtown Minneapolis, there’s truly something for every runner here in Minnesota. Once you get that race on your calendar, all that’s left is training.
1. Lake Wobegon Trail Marathon
Saturday, May 9, 2015
This flat and fast course is held almost entirely on the famous Lake Wobegon Trail in Central Minnesota, which is a 10-foot wide asphalt trail on a former railroad bed. Runners pass through four small towns during the 26.2-mile journey, with plenty of rural landscapes in between.
2. Med City Marathon
Sunday, May 24, 2015
Starting eight miles west of Rochester, runners follow rolling country roads before winding along a creek and heading through the neighborhood streets and parks of Rochester. With a downtown finish line, the post-race party is not to be missed.
3. Minneapolis, Marathon
Sunday, May 31, 2015
This race starts on Theodore Wirth Parkway before entering downtown Minneapolis. After mile 6, the rest of the route is run along the mighty Mississippi River, offering beautiful views of the urban/natural interface. An event known for great swag, this year they are giving finishers jackets to all marathoners.
4. Heartland Series Marathon
Sunday, June 7, 2015
This low-key race located in Great River Bluffs State Park is an out-and-back course with multiple laps on gravel, dirt, and grass terrain over easy rolling hills. If you’re motivated to run more than a single marathon in a week, be sure to check out the other races that are part of the Heartland Series of marathons held in the days prior.
5. Grandma’s Marathon
Saturday, June 20, 2015
An annual attraction for some of the best professional runners from around the world, Grandma’s Marathon is a prestigious race with a small town feel. Starting in Two Harbors and finishing in Canal Park in Duluth, runners are treated to gorgeous views of Lake Superior. Be sure to stick around for the event’s epic finish line festival, which includes rocking music, cold drinks, and great food.
6. Eugene Curnow Trail Marathon
Saturday, July 11, 2015
This point-to-point trail marathon was originally devised as an introduction to the Minnesota Voyageur 50-Mile Trail Ultramarathon course, but over the years it has become popular in its own right. The course takes runners on one leg of the ultramarathon course from the Lake Superior Zoo in Duluth to Carlton. While the elevation gain and rugged terrain make this more challenging than your average road marathon, the gorgeous scenery is well worth the effort.
7. Saint Paul Urban Trail Marathon
Saint Paul, MN
Saturday, August, 22, 2015
For a laid back event within city limits, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better race than the Saint Paul Trail Marathon. Showcasing a hidden network of trails, participants are treated to a tour of Battle Creek Regional Park, the Mississippi River Bluffs, and Mounds Park, which offers spectacular views of the Saint Paul skyline.
8. Dick Beardsley Marathon
Detroit Lakes, MN
Saturday, September 12, 2015
While the Dick Beardsley Half Marathon has been held for 20 years, 2015 will mark the first running of the full marathon. Routed around Big Detroit Lake, this race will provide the picturesque scenery that is characteristic of northwest Minnesota. A mostly flat course with a few rolling hills, this is a good course to snag a PR.
9. Superior Trail Marathon
Saturday, September 12, 2015
The point-to-point Superior Trail Marathon is held almost entirely on single track trails. Traversing the Sawtooth Mountain Range, this event forks out a net elevation change of 11,000 feet, making it one of the toughest 26.2-mile races in the state.
10. Walker North Country Marathon
Saturday, September 19, 2015
Run during the peak season for vibrant fall foliage, this race is held in the beautiful Chippewa National Forest in northern Minnesota. About five miles of the course is run on roads, with the rest on grass, paved, and gravel trails.
11. Ely Marathon
Saturday, September 26, 2015
This year marks the first running of this northwoods event. If you’re looking to get out in the true wilderness, this race is perfect. Taking runners from Burntside Lake, along the historic Echo Trail, and eventually into downtown Ely, the natural scenery will be fantastic.
12. Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon
Sunday, October 4, 2015
The Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon is recognized as one of the best 26.2-mile races in the entire country. Dubbed “The Most Beautiful Urban Marathon in America,” it lives up to the hype by taking runners from downtown Minneapolis, around the chain of lakes , along the Minnehaha Creek and Mississippi River, and into downtown St. Paul to finish on the Capitol Lawn.
13. Bemidji Blue Ox Marathon
Saturday, October 10, 2015
Held on paved trails and roads, a fairly flat course and cool temps produce fast times at the Bemidji Blue Ox Marathon. Limited to just 300 runners, this is one that will offer a uniquely small town race experience for runners who love northern Minnesota.
14. Mankato Marathon
Sunday, October 18, 2015
Introducing a new finish line in 2015, the Mankato Marathon is a favorite among area runners. In addition to showcasing the surrounding rural area and Mankato’s recent Front Street developments at the finish line, the post-race party includes live music, local beer, and plenty of other refreshments.