26 of the Top Autumn Marathons - The Running Channel Advertisement

26 of the Top Autumn Marathons

Autumn Marathons
BY: Mark Dredge
02 May 2024

Are you looking for an autumn marathon to sign up to? Here are some of our top picks for autumn races, including road marathons in the UK, Europe and the rest of the world! 

UK MARATHONS

LOCH NESS MARATHON
When: 29 Sept 2024
Entry: Sign Up 
PB Potential: 7/10

This point-to-point course runs alongside the length of the loch and is a net downhill route (but with a few challenging uphills!). It’s in a stunning location running through the countryside, though that means much of the course is quiet without many supporters. The finish leads you right into Inverness. 

CHESTER MARATHON 
When: 6 Oct 2024
Entry: Sign Up 
PB Potential: 8/10 

One of UK’s larger marathons, where organisers claim that 70% of runners achieve a PB. It’s a mostly flat course which has a few sharp hills on a route which begins and ends in the historic city of Chester, with lots of time spent on traffic-free rural roads (with seven miles crossing the border into Wales). It’s well organised, well supported and well worth considering if you want a UK autumn marathon. 

YORKSHIRE MARATHON
When: 20 Oct 2024
Entry: Sign Up 
PB Potential: 7/10

This picturesque marathon runs past many of York’s best sites, though much of the race heads out into the pleasant countryside on traffic-free roads. It’s a pretty flat course which can be quiet in places, but a lot of runners like how the race is well organised, and the potential for a good time. 

EUROPEAN MARATHONS

MARATHON DU MÉDOC
When: 7 Sept 2024
Entry: Sign Up 
PB Potential: 0/10
Fun Potential: 10/10
Hangover Potential: 10/10

This one is a little different to the other races on the list… Instead of aiming for your fastest marathon, this will almost certainly have you hoping for your slowest time because the 23 hydration stations are in French chateaus, where you can stop for a sip of their own wine, before carrying on to the next stop. There’s a different fancy dress theme each year, and racing is definitely discouraged. Over 8,000 people take part and it’s a lot of fun, but with a 6.5 hour cut-off time, you actually do need to run this race! 

BERLIN MARATHON
When: 29 Sept 2024
Entry: Ballot
PB Potential: 9/10

One of the six Abbott’s World Marathon Majors and it’s a course famous for being very flat and very fast (the current women’s world record of 2:11 was run there in 2023). It’s a large race, with a lot of support on the course, and 2024 will be the 50th running of the race. Plan ahead to enter 2025’s ballot as all places are filled for this year. Here’s a video of Sarah setting a new PB at Berlin in September 2022 (it’s a race finish you don’t want to miss!).

COLOGNE MARATHON  
When: 6 Oct 2024
Entry: Sign Up 
PB Potential: 8/10

With some fast course records, this flat route is a great race for PB chasers. The route winds around the city, so is good for supporters to cheer the 7,000 runners on, and it finishes in front of the famous cathedral. Celebrate your achievement with a glass of crisp, cold, local Kölsch beer at the end!

LISBON MARATHON 
When: 6 Oct 2024
Entry: Sign Up
PB Potential: 7/10

Organisers say that this is ‘Probably the most beautiful marathon in the world.’ With a seaview for the majority of the run, it’s definitely a nice one, but we’ll wait to run a few more before we commit to saying the most beautiful! Around 7,500 runners take part and the course records (2:05 and 2:24) show that it’s possible to run fast here. It can still be warm in Lisbon in October (15-20ºC during the race), but the run starts early to avoid the warmer temperatures. 

AMSTERDAM MARATHON
When: 20 Oct 2024
Entry: Ballot
PB Potential: 7/10

Starting and finishing in the Olympic Stadium, Amsterdam is a flat course and the 45,000 bibs sell out quickly each year, showing the race’s popularity. Around 13K of the course is out-and-back along the Amstel river (from 13K-26K), then you come back into the city with a good amount of support. In 2025 it celebrates the 50th running of the Amsterdam Marathon.

DUBLIN MARATHON 
When: 27 Oct 2024
Entry: Sign Up 
PB Potential: 6/10

Held on the last Sunday October, this is Ireland’s largest marathon. It’s not a flat course, but the hills are rolling (apart from a couple near the end which are a little steeper and harder on tired legs), and the crowd support can be relied upon. Given Dublin’s location, it doesn’t get a large amount of rain, and temperatures can be ideal for running. 

FRANKFURT MARATHON 
When: 27 Oct 2024
Entry: Sign Up 
PB Potential: 9/10

With course records 2:03 for males and 2:21 for females, this is a fast course. Aside from some winding turns near the beginning and end, you’re on nice, open roads, and it’s unusual for a marathon in that the finish is inside. The race ends in the Festhalle, where a party atmosphere greets you as you run on a long red carpet to the finish line.

ISTANBUL MARATHON 
When: 3 Nov 2024
Entry: Sign Up 
PB Potential: 6/10

This is probably the only marathon where you start in one continent and finish in another! The race begins on the Asian side of Istanbul, and immediately crosses the Bosphorus River into the European side, for an impressive start to the race. The course is mostly an out-and-back on a flat, straight road (which can be sparse of supporters), and it finishes by the Blue Mosque.

ATHENS MARATHON
When: 10 Nov 2024
Entry: Sign Up
PB Potential: 6/10

We couldn’t make a list of marathons without including the original! Starting in the town that gave its name to the race distance, you run from Marathon all the way into Athens, finishing in the incredible Panathenaic Stadium, where the first modern Olympic Games took place in 1896. The course isn’t very interesting, and miles 11-20 are almost all uphill (though it’s never steep and is more of a gentle incline), but then you can enjoy (!) six miles of downhill into Athens and one of the best finish lines of any marathon. Just for the history this should be on your running bucket list. 

VALENCIA MARATHON
When: 1 Dec 2024
Entry: Sign Up 
PB Potential: 9/10

Valencia has become one of the world’s top marathons in recent years, bringing in runners chasing fast times on the flat course. You’ll run in the cool December sunshine, on streets lined with orange trees and 200,000 cheering supporters, and get to enjoy one of the great finish lines in world marathons across the bright blue carpet of the City of Arts and Sciences. The 35,000 bibs sell out quickly, so sign up early. 

MALAGA MARATHON
When: 15 Dec 2024
Entry: Sign Up 
PB Potential: 8/10

We might be closer to winter now, but with a sunny 17ºC forecast for much of December, it’ll feel more like a spring race. It might also be your last chance to grab a new PB in Europe before the end of the year (and it’s a great alternative to Valencia). It’s got a lively atmosphere and a nice route around the city, finishing in the historic old part of town. And you can chill out on the beach afterwards! There’s also a half marathon on the same day.

REST OF THE WORLD

SYDNEY MARATHON
When: 14 Sept 2024
Entry: Sign Up
PB Potential: 5/10

Sydney is a candidate race to become an Abbott’s World Marathon Major, and is currently further progressed than the other two candidates (Cape Town and Chengdu). In 2024, it reached its 24,000 race capacity four months before race day, boosting its chances of promotion. The race began in 2001 as a legacy of the 2000 Olympic Games, and the route is hilly and winding with some sharp turnarounds, so while it’s not a fast course it is a fun one which passes incredible landmarks, including running over Sydney Harbour Bridge and finishing next to the Opera House. 

BUENOS AIRES MARATHON
When: 22 Sept 2024
Entry: Sign Up 
PB Potential: 7/10

Race organisers call it the fastest marathon in Latin America, and it’s also one of the largest marathons in the region with over 12,000 runners. It’s a grand tour of the city and its different districts, and the race will celebrate its 40th anniversary in 2024. It’s a top race for runners in South America in search of fast times. 

CHICAGO MARATHON
When: 13 Oct 2024
Entry: Ballot
PB Potential: 9/10

The fifth Abbott’s World Marathon Major of the year, Chicago is one of the fastest races in the world – the men’s world record was set there in 2023, and three of the top four women’s times were run there. Almost 50,000 runners take part on a route that begins and ends in Grant Park, and takes you through 29 different neighbourhoods, each with their own different atmospheres created by over 1.7m people who come out to cheer on runners. It’s a ballot entry but faster runners may be able to qualify with a previous fast time (see more on how to run the World Marathon Majors here).

MELBOURNE MARATHON
When: 13 Oct 2024
Entry: Sign Up
PB Potential: 7/10

With a finish line inside the Melbourne Cricket Ground, with its capacity of 100,000 people (though probably don’t expect that many cheering you home!), the Melbourne Marathon is a flatter and faster course than Sydney, and you can enjoy an out-and-back alongside the sea, plus lots of green scenery – not something you get in many city marathons. Melbourne is a city of sport, and the marathon is a great addition to that.

CAPE TOWN MARATHON 
When: 20 Oct 2024
Entry: Sign Up / Ballot
PB Potential: 7/10

Alongside Sydney and Chengdu, Cape Town is a candidate race to become an Abbott World Marathon Major. In 2023, over 18,000 runners took part in the race in which you can enjoy great views of Table Mountain, lots of music on the course, and a final few kilometres running alongside the Atlantic Ocean before finishing in front of the DHL Stadium. 

TORONTO WATERFRONT MARATHON
When: 20 Oct 2024
Entry: Sign Up 
PB Potential: 7/10

One of Canada’s top marathons, the route has a few rolling hills, but it’s fairly flat, with a lot of the race running parallel to the lake (so could be a little exposed if it’s a windy day), before a big finish in the middle of the city. There’s a half marathon option which begins at the same time, so the first half of the race is a lot busier than the second. Like a lot of bigger North American races there’s also a popular 5K run the day before.

MARINE CORPS MARATHON
When: 27 Oct 2024
Entry: Sign Up
PB Potential: 8/10

Arranged by the Marines, this race is consistently celebrated as one of best organised and one of the best runs for first timers and experienced runners alike (and a great alternative to Chicago or New York City). The route is a grand tour of Washington DC and Arlington landmarks: The Lincoln Memorial, The Mall, Jefferson Memorial, and it finishes outside the Pentagon. And if a marathon isn’t far enough, there’s a 50K route which starts before the marathon and follows the same course just with a 5-mile add-on. There’s also a 10K which starts on The Mall and finishes in the same place as the other runs.

CHENGDU MARATHON
When: 27 Oct 2024
Entry: Ballot 
PB Potential: 7/10

Since 2019, the Chengdu Marathon has been a candidate as a World Marathon Major. This is a point-to-point course which connects the old and new of the city by beginning in the 3,000 year old Jinsha archaeological site and ending at the modern International Exhibition Centre. There’s a good amount of support on the course in the first half and at the end of the race, though it can be quieter from 20km to 38km as it’s an out-and-back on one long, wide straight highway. Around 35,000 runners completed the race in 2023.

NEW YORK CITY MARATHON
When: 3 Nov 2024
Entry: Ballot
PB Potential: 5/10

The year’s final Major, New York City is perhaps the hardest, and definitely the hilliest, course of the lot. Starting on Staten Island, the run passes through each of NYC’s five boroughs, before a superb finish in Central Park. The crowd support is incredible throughout, and a lot of runners say NYC has the best crowds of all the Majors. Over 50,000 people run it each year but it’s not an easy one to enter (more on that here).

AUCKLAND MARATHON
When: 3 Nov 2024
Entry: Sign Up
PB Potential: 7/10

This is New Zealand’s largest marathon and one of the world’s most scenic big city marathons. There’s a few hills in the first half, including a steep one up and over the Auckland Harbour Bridge, but the views make the climb worthwhile, then the second half is fairly flat, with more nice views as you run out-and-back along the waterfront before finishing in Victoria Park. There’s also a half marathon on the same day.

CALIFORNIA INTERNATIONAL MARATHON
When: 8 Dec 2024
Entry: Sign Up 
PB Potential: 8/10

This is a popular race for people taking one last shot at getting a Boston Qualifier or a PB for the year. It’s a rolling net-downhill course with a fast finish into Sacramento, and it’s responsible for a lot of people getting their BQ, though it’s still a tough course with plenty of uphills (but at least that makes it ideal practice for anyone hoping to get to Boston!). 

HONOLULU MARATHON 
When: 8 Dec 2024
Entry: Sign Up
PB Potential: 7/10

After the three Majors, this is the fourth-largest marathon in the US. It’s a destination marathon with a vibrant atmosphere, a lot of runners in fancy dress, fireworks at the start (even though it begins at 5am!), views of the mountains and the ocean, and no cut off time for slower runners (and also a decent course profile if you want to go fast). But if you’re looking for an alternative December race in Hawaii with a great PB potential, then how about the Hawaii Bird Conservation Marathon? It’s pretty much 26.2 miles downhill!

Do you have any other favourite marathons during the final months of the year? What autumn road marathons are on your bucket list? 

MOST VIEWED

1

How To Run...

Do you want to run further but feel too tired to...
2

On Cloudmonster 2...

On Running have just dropped the second iteration of the incredibly...
3

What Happens To...

So you’re a 5k runner. Nice one! But aside from covering...
4

Nike Alphafly 3...

Nike is back. After a lacklustre 2023 where Nike’s own athletes...
5

10 Things Not...

While we always see running as a positive thing to do,...
6

The Running Channel’s...

If you’re looking for the ultimate present for the runner in...

Running News

19 June 2024

Michael Johnson’s Grand Slam Track: Everything You Need To Know

American sprinter Michael Johnson has announced the launch of Grand Slam Track, which will bring together the world’s best runners for four annual competitions, revolutionising track running.
18 June 2024

How Far Do Footballers Run In a Game?

They look like they’re walking, running and sprinting for a full 90 minutes, but how far do footballers actually run in a game?
17 June 2024

Ultrarunner Jasmin Paris Awarded MBE in the King’s Birthday Honours List 2024

British ultrarunner Jasmin Paris, who became the first woman to complete the infamously challenging Barkley Marathons, has been made a Member of the Order of The British Empire (MBE) in the King’s Birthday Honours List 2024. 

Latest Video

17 June 2024

I Asked An Olympian To Pace Me To A 5k PB 🥵

Ever wondered what a sub 19 minute 5k should look/feel like? Or not sure how to pace the perfect race? Well Andy and Jess are here to help! Watch as he talks you through how...
Author icon BY: The Running Channel
See more

Our Partners