Wake County shares the title of “marathon capital of the state” with Guilford County over in The Piedmont Triad area. Both areas have four marathons this year after Wake owned a 6 – 4 edge last year. There still are six total Triangle area marathons, however, with the 2017 additions of the RDC Marathon in November in Durham and the Race Across Durham Trail Marathon in December.
Wake County lost one of its most prominent marathons and appears to have lost a low-key marathon, but the county still boasts the most popular 26.2-mile race in the state of North Carolina.
The Tobacco Road Marathon, which starts and finishes in Cary for the ninth time in March, again handed out more marathon medals than any race in the state. TRM had 868 marathon finishers, with the Charlotte Marathon (which was rebranded two years ago after previously being called Thunder Road Marathon) second at 850.
The Rock ’n’ Roll Raleigh Marathon ended a four-year run after seeing its finisher total fall from 963 in 2016 to 799 in 2017. The companion half-marathon and 5K still will run this April.
The Too Slow for Boston Marathon in Holly Springs was run in 2017 for the first time since 2013, but it doesn’t appear that the race will be held again this year.
” North Carolina’s marathon total is down from 32 in 2017 to 31 in 2018 “
There’s a marathon at Pilot Mountain for the first time since the final running of the Pilot Mountain Pay Back Marathon in 2015. Under different management, the inaugural Pilot Mountain Marathon has a new course that starts and finishes at the Pilot Creek Trailhead. There also is a 20K race that starts up at the top of the mountain and back.
Unlike last year, there is a January marathon in North Carolina. The South Mountains Marathon in Connelly Springs is set for Jan. 13. Last year, wintry weather forced the race to be postponed until March.
South Mountains, which got slightly more finishers last year, was one of the few marathons that didn’t suffer a drop in the number of finishers (it had an increase of four). The only others with more finishers than in 2016 had modest increases: the Wrightsville Beach Marathon (up 76), the Asheville Marathon (up 73), the Grandfather Mountain Marathon (up 28), the Peak to Creek Marathon (up 27), the Mainly Marathons Appalachian Series race in Fletcher (up 14) and the Charlotte Marathon (up 9).
A few races changed dates, including the New River Marathon (going from early May to early June) the Indoor Insanity Marathon (shifting from late May to mid-June) and both the Wrightsville Beach Marathon and the Emerald Isle Marathon moving to earlier March dates.
March remains the busiest marathon month but is down from 10 to 9 because of the South Mountains Marathon’s move. With the exit of the Rock ‘n’ Roll race and the Indoor Insanity move, there are no North Carolina marathons in April or May in 2018.
There are five days this year when there will be two marathons run in the state: February 17, March 10, March 17, June 9, October 20 and November 11.
2018 North Carolina Marathons
Here is a complete break-down listing all of the upcoming marathons, including date, location if not part of the name, how many years this will be for the race, how many marathoners finished last year and how the number compared to 2016. (An * denotes that there also is a half-marathon)
13 — * South Mountains Marathon (Connelly Springs), 3rd running, 47 finishers, up 4 (last year postponed until March because of wintry weather)
11 — (Valentine’s Day) Massacre Marathon (Greensboro), 13th running, 10 solo finishers not in relays, down 5
17 — * Run Oak Island Marathon, 2nd running (3rd year for half), 69 finishers, was inaugural
17 — Pilot Mountain Marathon (Pinnacle), inaugural race
24 — Black Mountain Marathon, 19th running, 218 finishers, down 148
24 — * Ellerbe Marathon, 27th running, 61 finishers, down 16
3 — Umstead Trail Marathon (Raleigh), 14th running, 159, down 14
10 — URE Marathon (Mount Gilead), 2nd running, 78 finishers, was inaugural
10 — * Emerald Isle Marathon, 3rd running, 101 finishers, down 70
11 — Northern Trails Marathon (Summerfield), also a 10-miler, 4th running, 22 finishers, down 18
17 — * Asheville Marathon, 6th running, 573 finishers, up 73
17 — * Wrightsville Beach Marathon, 9th running, 629 finishers, up 76
18 — * Tobacco Road Marathon (Cary), 9th running, 868 finishers, down 107
24 — * New South Trail Marathon (Charlotte), 3rd running, 56 finishers, unchanged
25 — * All-American Marathon (Fayetteville to Fort Bragg), 5th running, 562 finishers, down 50
10 — Indoor Insanity Marathon (Winston-Salem), 6th running, 14 solo finishers not in relays, down 6
9 — * New River Marathon (Todd, near Boone), 7th running, 151 finishers, down 28
9 — Boogie Marathon (Ellerbe), 13th running, 37 finishers, down 5
14 — Grandfather Mountain Marathon (Boone to Linville), 51st running, 320 finishers, up 28
9 — Mainly Marathons Appalachian Series (Fletcher), 5th running, 57 finishers, up 14
14 — * Cannonball Marathon (Greensboro), 3rd running, 76 finishers, down 249
Date not set — * Carolina Beach Marathon, 3rd running, 69 finishers, down 40
20 — Medoc Trail Marathon (Hollister), 11th running, 124 finishers, down 24
20 — * Triple Lakes Trail Marathon (Greensboro), 12th running, 33 finishers, down 26
Date not set — * Cary Fire House Tour Marathon, 3rd running, 25 finishers, down 35
27 — Peak to Creek Marathon (Jonas Ridge to Collettsville), 12th running, 319 finishers, up 27
4 — * Raleigh City of Oaks Marathon, 12th running, 419 finishers, down 90
10 — * Charlotte Marathon, 14th running, 850 finishers, up 9
11 — * Outer Banks Marathon (Kitty Hawk to Manteo), 14th running, 655 finishers, down 25
11 — * RDC Marathon (Durham), 2nd running, 313 finishers, was inaugural
2 — Race Across Durham Trail Marathon, 2nd running, 138 finishers, was inaugural
North Carolina is Home to Many Great Marathons
There are plenty of choices with contrasting challenges throughout the upcoming year. If you want to be challenged by a hilly course, there’s the Grandfather Mountain Marathon — which starts at Appalachian State’s football stadium and ends at the base of Grandfather Mountain — the Asheville Marathon or other less-hilly but still challenging courses such as the Charlotte Marathon and the Raleigh City of Oaks Marathon.
If you’d prefer a flatter course that might give you a better chance of earning a Boston Marathon qualifying time, good options are the Tobacco Road Marathon, the RDC Marathon, the Outer Banks Marathon or the Wrightsville Beach Marathon.
And then there is a less scenic and possibly monotonous choice such as the Indoor Insanity Marathon, which is run entirely inside at the JDL Fast Track in Winston-Salem. You run the same serpentine 800-meter loop 52.75 times.
There are so many good options in North Carolina for you to show your mettle on the way to a coveted marathon medal.
This post was created in collaboration with 919 Blog contributor R.L. Bynum for exclusive digital publication on 919Blog.com