I think I've recommended the Big Sur Marathon about a dozen times here. It's my favorite. I am aware that there are some good ones I haven't done yet, though.
Oh, yeah, and Carlsbad always comes up.
Seems like I wrote a list of favorite marathons very recently.
Oh, yeah. It was in Glu, and I just went back and looked it up.
This is copied from there:
I agree, Scott, that Twin Cities is a great marathon. The scenery manages to be urban, residential, rustic, historic, modern, and beautiful for every step of the way. Great crowds for the size of the marathon, too.
It is also sponsored by Medtronic, and Medtronic brings together runners from around the world who have been helped by medical devices to run in this race every year. Diabetics who wear insulin pumps are always included in this group of "Global Heroes." It's definitely a great way to get into this race, marathon or half, to apply to be a Medtronic Gloabal Hero. You don't have to be using a Medtronic device, either.
Carlsbad is a great, scenic marathon by the Pacific Ocean, and is now the site of an annual pilgrimage of insulindependence members and other diabetic athletes. There will be more than 100 in the marathon and half this year.
The races are just part of the weekend events. It's a big party. Check it out at insulindependence.org if you're interested.
This year will be my 6th year running with Insulindependence there.
My favorite marathon so far is Big Sur. It is magnificently beautiful, challenging but rewarding. It was the inspiration for all of the "musical marathons" which have followed, but still does it better, more consistently than any of them.
I have also done Carlsbad, Malibu, and Long Beach. Malibu is nice, but of course I prefer Big Sur, Carlsbad, and the Surf City Marathon. Long Beach did not impress me.
Other marathons I recommend from experience:
Bataan Death March, White Sands, NM
Golden Gate Headlands
Nisene Marks Park - Santa Cruz, CA
Lost Dutchman - Apache Junction, AZ
Whiskey Row - Prescott, AZ
St. George, UT
Avenue of the Giants, Humboldt, CA
Marathons on my to do list:
Las Vegas (I did the old Las Vegas Marathon, which was not on the strip like it is now.)
Marathon de Monaco et des Riviera
Comrades Marathon, South Africa
Victoria Falls, Zambia
Harpeth Hills Flying Monkey