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As the 2010 New York City Marathon approaches, OurAmazingPlanet takes a look at some of the most scenic marathons in the United States. From Big Sur to Waikiki Beach, these races will take your mind off the miles.
Lake Tahoe Marathon - Tahoe City, CaliforniaSlide 2 of 19
Lake Tahoe Marathon - Tahoe City, California
Lake Tahoe, a sprawling freshwater lake in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, is home to one of the most scenic marathons in the United States.
"Lake Tahoe marathon is a very pretty setting," said Bart Yasso, Chief Running Officer for Runner's World magazine.
The first 9 miles (14.5 kilometers) a mostly flat bike path that's easy on the legs and eyes should be a breeze for most runners. The water's edge, rustic vacation homes and lakefront mansions are along the course here. Runners start to feel the burn around mile 11 (17.7 km) as they being a 2.2-mile (3.5-km) climb up to the town of Rubicon, but the views of Lake Tahoe are enough to keep the mind occupied. A nice downhill awaits, but just as runners shift to cruise control, the "Hill From Hell" greets them at mile 15.2 (25 km). Here, runners climb 520 feet (160 meters) over just 1.6 miles (2.6 km) of road.
At mile 18 (29 km) Emerald Bay appears, and then there's just a short uphill stretch to Inspiration Point. From here. It's all downhill for the final 6.2 miles (10 km) to Pope Beach.
Feeling tough? Give the Tahoe Triple Marathon a try! Or you can just grab a beer and soak in the cold blue waters of Lake Tahoe.Slide 3 of 19
Mount Washington Road Race - White Mountain National Forest, New HampshireSlide 4 of 19
Mount Washington Road Race - White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire
"Only one hill. 6,288 ft.," taunts the Mount Washington Road Race. Bart Yasso told OurAmazingPlanet that Mount Washington was a "tough, beautiful race." And for good reason the course rises 4,650 feet (1,400 m) from start to finish. The average grade, or incline, of the course is 11.5 percent and the last 50 yards (45 m) is a 22 percent "wall."
Warning: It can get cold atop Mt. Washington, and runners are often encouraged to carry extra clothes when they run. Those with the legs to race to the top can stand tall in the alpine environment of Mount Washington State Park, a 59-acre state park.Slide 5 of 19
Garden of the Gods 10 Mile Run - Manitou Springs, ColoradoSlide 6 of 19
Garden of the Gods 10 Mile Run - Manitou Springs, Colorado
The most famous rock in the Garden of the Gods (a public park and natural monument) is Balanced Rock. This huge rock seems to impossibly balance itself on a slanted slab of granite.
The Garden of the Gods 10 Mile (16 km) Run forces race-goers right under this rock and many other spectacular geologic features in the state park. The loop-back course chugs up and down, up and down, constantly changing elevation between 6,210 feet (1,900 m) to 6,530 ft (1,990 m). Most of the course is on paved asphalt, however, a short jaunt up a wide sidewalk winds through Garden of the God's most amazing rock formations.
These rock formations along the course provide no relief from the Colorado sun though the temperature can quickly rise up to 80 degrees Fahrenheit (27 degrees C). All the more reason to hustle to the end and soak your feet in Fountain Creek at the finish line.Slide 7 of 19
Big Sur International Marathon, Big Sur, CaliforniaSlide 8 of 19