Running a marathon is a serious commitment.

So it makes sense to choose one that you’ll like! And fortunately, you don’t have to travel far to find plenty. If you need help making a decision, look through our list of the top ten best marathons in Virginia.

The 9 Best Marathons in Virginia

The Cause:

To not only promote physical fitness and generate community goodwill, but also to showcase the high standards and discipline of the Marine Corps.

The Course:

One of the largest marathons in the world, the Marine Corps Marathon has also been recognized as the “Best Marathon in the Mid-Atlantic,” “Best for Families” and “Best for Beginners.” The race starts at 7:55 am in Arlington, VA, and closes at 3:00 pm. There are two “gauntlets,” which participants must reach by 12:33 and 1:49 respectively, in order to qualify as an official finisher.

The Registration Fee:

$0 – $170 (get more information on the different packages)

Other Information:

Water is provided every two miles, and Gatorade every four miles starting two miles out. Baby strollers, roller blades, walking sticks, and pets are not allowed on the course.

The Cause:

Various local charities; varies from year to year.

The Course:

Starting in Newport News Park, runners take a 26.2 mile tour of Newport News, VA finishing at the Newport News Victory Arch. The course is flat and fast. Participants receive complimentary runner food from food vendors and 2 beers from Tradition Brewing Company!

The Registration Fee:

$75 – $115

Other Information:

Following the race is the One City, One Celebration in Victory Landing Park. There is an age requirement of 18 years, and a pace requirement of 16:00 minutes a mile.

The Cause:

A variety of charities including One in the Fight Against Cancer, Operation Smile, Access College foundation, and many more.

The Course:

A circular course along Virginia Beach’s coast. View this map for more details. There is a seven hour time limit.

The Registration Fee:

$75 -$140

Other Information:

You must be at least 16 years old to participate in this marathon. Headphones are allowed but strongly discouraged.

The Cause:

Proceeds from the marathon go to the Reston Runners Community Fund, which provides scholarships to local high school students.

The Course:

Varied, with some hills and turns, giving runners a combination of fast downhill roads, flat paved trails, and mildly challenging uphill sections. A 13.1 mile loop, which marathoners must complete twice. Starts and finishes at South Lakes High School, Reston, VA.

The Registration Fee:

$85 – $100

Other Information:

A free pre-race pasta dinner is provided for both runners and volunteers, while all participants, volunteers, and their families can join in the extensive post-race feast.

The Cause:

Varies from year to year, but proceeds often support local Lee High School students and the local Parks department.

The Course:

A fairly flat marathon (860 feet of gain and loss), the race is run on the Cross County Trail, with a mixed surface of concrete, asphalt, dirt, and gravel. Starts and finishes at Lake Accotink Park, Springfield, VA.

The Registration Fee:

$75 – $90

Other Information:

Since the marathon is run every November, expect temperatures in the 40s or 50s.

The Cause:

Currently, the official charity of the Anthem Richmond Marathon is Kids Run RVA, which runs a variety of programs across the Richmond area designed to promote physical activity in children. Their goal is “getting more kids moving more often!” It’s an appropriate charity for a marathon to support.

The Course:

Weaves in a loose figure-eight through scenic and historic areas of Richmond. The Anthem Richmond Marathon maintains its reputation as America’s friendliest marathon by providing runners with copious amounts of water, Gatorade, and even pickle juice (to combat cramps). And yes, bathrooms are available every two miles as well.

The Registration Fee:

$112.35

Other Information:

After the race, enjoy a celebration on Brown’s Island, complete with pizza and a free beer!

The Cause:

Local charities, and the maintenance of the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway.

The Course:

If the best marathons in Virginia means the hardest marathons in Virginia, then this race is perfect for you. Along with its sister races the Blue Ridge Half Marathon and the Blue Ridge Double Marathon, the Food Levels Blue Ridge Marathon is officially trademarked as one of America’s Toughest Road Races. It’s not hard to see why: the course boasts a 7,430 ft. gain/loss in elevation, along the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway near Roanoke, Virginia.

The Registration Fee:

$95 – $114

Other Information:

Runners are rewarded with a unique finisher’s medal, a tech-tee, live music and local craft beer at the festival-like finish in downtown Roanoke. Race sponsored by Foot Levelers.

The Cause:

TBD

The Course:

If you’re looking for a change of pace, consider this indoor marathon: 211 laps around a pancake-flat around-the-indoor track at Thomas Jefferson Middle School, 125 Old Glebe Rd, Arlington VA 22204. It’s a small race but a fun one, as well as the warmest winter marathon you’ll find in Virginia!

The Registration Fee:

$65 – $100

Other Information:

Participants receive a unique premium, a custom Hawk Indoor Marathon belt buckle, and cash prizes for winners.

The Cause:

TBD

The Course:

The race doubles back and forth along Virginia Creeper trail, a former railway bed near Abingdon, VA. The grade is varies from flat to gentle, and the running surface is soft. Water is provided every 2 – 2.5 miles.

The Registration Fee:

$15

Other Information:

This race is billed as a low-key, low cost event: making it stand out from most of the others on this list! It’s also a smaller event, but no less rewarding for all that. Refreshments and homemade goodies at the finish.

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Marathons are a great format for sporting your custom tag line, quote or image on a custom t-shirt.

Blue Ridge Graphics would love to custom screen print your T-shirt! Or create your own signature running shirt through Blue Ridge Graphics’ “Design my own Tee” service. Use your own design or let our graphics team help create a memorable T-shirt design for you.

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