The starting gun for the Boston Marathon goes off Monday, April 16, with a stampede of world-class runners not far behind. It’s one of five World Marathon Majors (the New York City and Chicago marathons are the other majors in the U.S.), the most important races each year in the running world.
But is the Boston Marathon also one of the toughest in America? Turns out, not quite.
To find America’s most grueling marathon, we started with marathons that had at least 5,000 finishers in its most recent race. These marathons attract the best runners from around the country—and the world.
Then we looked at the coldest, most telling statistic available as a proxy of a race’s toughness: finishing time. Specifically, we took into account overall average finishing time, best average finishing time for the men’s winner, and the best average finishing time for the women’s winner, over the most recent three-race period available—with data from Marathon Guide. Each category was weighted equally to determine our final ranking.