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10 Fastest Boston Qualifying Courses

Are you trying to set a new PR? Or trying to qualify for Boston? We did the research to pick what races you should chose from.

Are you trying to set a new PR? Or trying to qualify for Boston? We did the research to pick what races you should chose from. Based on course elevation, average race day temperature, and historical performance of runners, here are the 10 fastest US marathon courses:

1. Revel Mt. Charleston Marathon

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Where: Las Vegas, NV

Elevation Change: -5,400 ft

% of Runners that qualify for Boston: 38.85%

2017 Race Date: TBD (2016 race was May 7th)

Course: Downhill, Road/Pavement, Point to Point

Race Website: https://www.runrevel.com/rmc

This incredibly fast and remarkably beautiful road race takes runners from the forests of Kyle Canyon on Mt Charleston to Las Vegas, Nevada. Featuring a smooth downhill slope and spectacular scenery, this race will be sure to help you set your PR and finally hit that Boston Qualifying time as it is the fastest marathon and half marathon in Nevada.

 

2. Revel Big Cottonwood Marathon

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Where: Cottonwood, UT

Elevation Change: -5,300 ft

% of Runners that qualify for Boston:  25.1%

2016 Race Date: Saturday September 10

Course: Downhill, Road/Pavement, Point to Point

The Big Cottonwood Marathon course starts at a very high elevation of approximately 9,600 feet and finishes at just above 4,300 feet (~5,300′ net loss). The course begins on Guardsman Pass, circles through Brighton, and then winds straight down the canyon. If your quads and lungs survive, the course can be fast.

Race Website: http://www.runrevel.com/BCM

 

3. Revel Canyon City Marathon

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Where: Azusa, CA

Elevation Change: -5,073 ft

% of Runners that qualify for Boston: 21.2%

2016 Race Date: Saturday, November 12

Course: Downhill, Road/Pavement, Point to Point

This beautiful course drops 5,200 feet from the start (~5800′) to the finish at ~600′. It is the fastest possible course for those runners who are able to successfully navigate the significant downhills.

Race Website: https://www.runrevel.com/rcc

 

 4. Freakin Fast Marathon

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Where: Boise, ID

Elevation Change: -4000 ft

% of Runners that qualify for Boston:  23.2%

2016 Race Date: Saturday, October 17

Course: Downhill, Road/Pavement, Point to Point

The Freakin Fast Marathon course is has over 4,000 feet of elevation drop from the start to finish. Over 24 miles of the course are paved with a packed gravel / dirt two mile out and back section.

Race website: http://www.freakinfastmarathon.com/

 

5. Light at the End of the Tunnel Marathon

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Where: North Bend, WA

Elevation Change: -2,150 ft

% of Runners that qualify for Boston:  26.7%

2017 Race Date: TBD (2016 race was June 12th)

Course: Downhill, Trail, Point to Point

The Light at the End of the Tunnel Marathon runs on a scenic, point-to-point, rail-trail course which descends 2050 feet in 26.2 miles from Snoqualmie Pass to North Bend. Running just over two miles through a tunnel and the trail surface (hard-packed gravel) may slow some runners a little. However, the move from a July race date to a June date is resulting in faster times due to the more favorable temperatures (edited: 26.7% of finishers in 2015 ran Boston qualifying times compared to 14.7% in 2014).

Race Website: http://www.littlemarathon.com/tunnel/

 

6. Peak to Creek Marathon

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Where: Morganton, NC

Elevation Change: -2050 ft

% of Runners that qualify for Boston:  26.4%

2016 Race Date: Saturday October 29

Course: Downhill, Mostly on Trails, Point to Point

This east coast course loses a total of 2800 feet from the high to low points, with the most of the loss occurring from about mile 6 to mile 15 (~2200 feet). As with any downhill course, pace management is a key component of race strategy. Being too aggressive on the fast downhill sections (~4% average downhill grade) may result in extremely fatigued quads the last 10+ miles of the race.

Race Website: https://runsignup.com/Race/NC/JonasRidge/PeaktoCreekMarathon

 

7. Tunnel Lite Marathon

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Where: North Bend, WA

Elevation Change: -2,050 ft

% of Runners that qualify for Boston: : 32.1%

2016 Race Date: Sunday September 18

Course: Downhill, Trail, Point to Point

The course starts at Hyak, 50 miles east of Seattle Washington, and runs down to North Bend on gravel rail-trails. It is a Boston qualifier and has the best profile in the country for a fast time due to the consistent gentle downhill grade and the low starting elevation. The first three miles are flat, cold, foggy inside an unlit tunnel. Flashlights are strongly recommended. Once out of the Tunnel the gravel trail starts down the hill and keeps on going down, 2050 feet in the next 23 miles. It’s never steep enough to be uncomfortable; you just feel like you’re having a good day.

Race Website: http://www.littlemarathon.com/LittleMarathon/TunnelLite/default.asp

 

8. Jack and Jills Downhill Marathon

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Where: North Bend, WA

Elevation Change: -2024 ft

% of Runners that qualify for Boston: 19.4%

2016 Race Date: Sunday July 31

Course: Downhill, Trail, Point to Point

This course drops approximately 2,000 feet from the start just before the Snoqualmie Tunnel to the finish in North Bend, Washington. The course is mostly on the the dirt/gravel Iron Horse and Snoqualnie Valley Trails.

Race Website: http://jackjillmarathon.com/

 


9. Pocono Mountain Run for the Red Marathon

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Where: Stroudsburg, PA

Elevation Change: -1,500 ft

% of Runners that qualify for Boston:  37.03%

2017 Race Date: TBD (2016 race was may 15th)

Course: Downhill, Road/Pavement, Point to Point

The Pocono Mountain Run for the Red Marathon is one of the fastest courses in the U.S. and a high percentage of finishers achieve Boston Marathon qualifying times on the downhill course.

Race Website: http://www.poconomarathon.org/

 

10. Mountains 2 Beach Marathon

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Where: Ventura, CA

Elevation Change: -1,050 ft

% of Runners that qualify for Boston: 29.33%

2017 Race Date: TBD (2016 race was May 29)

Course: Downhill, Road/Pavement, Point to Point

The Mountains 2 Beach Marathon is one of the fastest marathon courses in the United States and Canada. If the weather is cooler and less humid than normal for race day, PRs and BQs are very achievable. Otherwise, the reasonably warm and humid race day averages may make it a little more challenging – especially for those not acclimated to the temperature – on this very fast marathon course.

Race Website: http://www.mountains2beachmarathon.com/

 

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