Friday, September 19, 2008

Top Cities to Run or Watch a Marathon

One of the best ways to enjoy visiting a city is on foot -- and it's a great green way to travel, too -- an effective way to reduce your carbon footprint. Some of us, though, prefer to run. And others of us like to watch the runners. For both of you, welcome to Marathon Season.

The days are cooler, the summer tourist crowds have gone home, and the streets are being taken over by both elite athletes and us mere mortals who want to keep in shape or challenge their personal best. Here's a list of some upcoming marathons:

October -- The Bank of America Chicago Marathon takes place on Sunday, October 12, 2008, with runners from all 50 states and more than 100 countries will set out to accomplish a personal dream. It's known for its fast, flat course, that is a scenic tour of 29 diverse Chicago neighborhoods and dozens of local and historic landmarks.

November -- The ING New York City Marathon is arguably one of the world's great road races, drawing more than 100,000 applicants and some two million cheering spectators, more if you add in the 300-plus million people around the world who watch the race on television. This year's race is Sunday, November 2, 2008. The NYC Marathon also is one of the richest in the marathon circuit, with more than $600,000 in prize money. No wonder it attracts so many world-class professional athletes -- including this year Olympian Kara Goucher, pictured here crossing the tape at the Beijing Olympics. More than 700,000 runners have participated in this grand tour of New York City's five boroughs since the first race. That was in 1970. There were 127 runners.

December -- The Las Vegas Marathon will take place on Sunday Dec. 7, 2008, with runners leaving from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino at 6 a.m. Remember, this is Las Vegas, so an ordinary starter's pistol isn't theatrical enough. Fireworks start the race, as 20,000 runners sprint or jog down the legendary Las Vegas Strip, including an "only in Vegas" opportunity to run thru the famous Wedding Chapel.