How to Choose Which Marathon to Walk

Honolulu Marathon Walkers
Honolulu Marathon Walkers. Cory Lum/Getty Images for HONOLULU MARATHON

If you want to walk a marathon rather than running one, you have to consider these questions and factors to know you are choosing the right one.

Types of Marathons for Walkers

  • Walker-friendly running marathons: Those that are primarily a running marathon but have added a walking classification or allow for very slow runners/fast walkers.
  • Non-competitive walking marathons: These are primarily for walkers with the rare runner participating. A variety of walking organizations host these in Europe. In the USA and Canada, they are most often hosted by IVV member clubs.
  • Racewalk marathons: While the 50K is the standard long distance racewalk, sometimes a judged racewalk marathon may be held. Participants must use legal racewalk form throughout the event.
  • Top Picks for Marathons for Walkers

Things to Consider When Choosing a Marathon

  • How walker-friendly is it - what are the cut-off times to be off the course, and does it match your anticipated speed? More: How to Find a Walker-Friendly Marathon or Half Marathon
  • How many walkers participate each year, and for how many years has the event been held and allowed walkers? Check the results from previous years to see how many people finished at or after your expected finish time.
  • What is the course like? Is it paved or are there gravel or dirt stretches? Is the course closed to traffic or will you have to share the road with vehicles? Are there hills> Will you be in the shade or sun? Is it in an urban area or rural?
  • What are the course amenities - how often are the water stops, rest stops, first aid stations, music along the course? Is it well-supported or will you need to carry your own water, sports drink, energy snacks?
  • What is the average temperature and rainfall on marathon day? Know what weather you may expect. If you don't do well in heat, you will want to choose a cooler marathon. If you can't stand getting wet, you'll need to choose accordingly.
  • What do other walkers say who have done the event previously? Check for comments and reviews.
  • How much does it cost, and what do you get for your registration fee?
  • Is it primarily a running marathon or is it primarily a walking marathon?
  • Do they publish results for the walkers as well as the runners?

How to Find Out More About a Marathon

  • Read the event's website in detail.
  • Call or email the race contact for more information, or post a message on their Facebook page, Twitter or other social media.
  • Ask other walkers for their opinions via social media or Facebook pages for marathons. Our Facebook page is a great place to reach other walkers who have done various marathons.
  • Search for reviews of marathons.

More: Walker-Friendly - or Not?

Marathon Walk Training

Strategy for Walking a Marathon

Continue Reading