Best Marathons In New Hampshire – Runner’s Choose New Hampshire’s Top Marathons

After running, from the high White Mountain Region to the low Lake Region, runners have selected the best marathons in New Hampshire that you won’t want to miss.  

Gate City Marathon- Nashua

This marathon’s inaugural year was 2015 and is managed by the biggest running club in the state. 

It is also in cooperation with the High Hopes Foundation whose mission is to deliver life- changing experiences to children with serious health problems.

Event conditions are hit or miss running in the spring, so a color-coded Event Alert System (EAS) will be in use to communicate to runners at the start, finish, and transition locations. Early registration includes a commemorative pint glass, bottle opener and t-shirt. Click Here learn more about this event and it’s marathon training program

The Course

The start, finish and all relay exchanges will happen directly in front of City Hall. The course has five loops where spectators will have views at the start, finish, and miles- 5.4, 10.4, 16.4, 20.8 on Main Street. The third loop will be the shortest and fourth the longest. The route includes views of Rivier University, Greely Park, Lincoln Park, Mine Falls Park, and Nashua High School. Water and gel packs will be on the loops.

gate city marathon elevation map

Image Source: Gate City Marathon


“Something that really impressed me about this marathon was the goodie bag it came with – not only was it filled to the brim, it was also the best bag I’ve ever gotten at a race, hands-down. Another major plus was the parking – although not immediately adjacent to the registration area, it was a very walkable distance to and from the starting line (even after a marathon,) and best of all it was completely free.” Matt Luby, Facebook Review

“The way all loops intersected was genius allowing a great atmosphere to cheer on marathoners and relay team mates. Great options were available for all levels of runners! Friendly organizers and fantastic volunteers served to enhance the overall great experience! I will mark my calendar as soon as the next date is set!” Debby Jordan, Facebook review

New Hampshire Marathon- Bristol

For 22 years, runners have come to experience one the best marathons in New Hampshire. Whether you want to qualify for Boston, hang out with a welcoming community, or show your support for child focused organizations, runners recommend this for you.

Since 1995, charities have been able to assist and change the lives of children with over $220,000 in donations. Proceeds in 2016 will benefit the Circle Program for at-risk Girls, Tapply-Thompson Community Center, and Mayhew Program for at-risk Boys.

This small town race featured in Runner’s World magazine twice. With no expo, it still offers some great amenities including, post race massages and entertainment. While you run, friends and family can check out the cool arts and crafts show put together by the local community. Click here to read more and register.

The Course​

Much of the course is running around Newfound Lake. However, some might find the first half of the race challenging with hills. The good news is that towards the finish it becomes a flat downhill. There is no time limit so pacing yourself will bring you across the finish line.

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“I picked this race because we were running the Maine Marathon on Sunday. Small town and small race but an overall awesome experience.The highlight for me was interacting with the people at the water stops, sitting in the icy cold stream that winds through town, and the unlimited pizza at the end! ” B.M., review

“This was a great small-town race: friendly spectators cheering you on from their front porches, warm showers at the middle school, and a race director who placed medals around the necks of all finishers. The course was absolutely breathtaking: running around Newfound Lake, through the village of Bristol and along quaint and quiet roads. Yes, there are hills. But it was pretty smooth sailing for the last 6 or 7 miles.” K.F., review

Clarence Demar Marathon- Keene

This charming race is in memory of Clarence Demar, 7 time Boston Marathon Champion. If you are on the lookout for fall marathons in New Hampshire, Keene is holding one of the best.

Keene State Students and community volunteers are dedicated to getting you across the finish line when you are struggling. Waiting at the top of each hill ready with water and cheers.

Another inspiration, to add to the awesome view of the Surry Dam and fall ambience, Demar’s daughter, who has been known to walk the race at 76 years old. That is inspiring! Click here to learn more about the pre-race and race day activities.

The Course​

This nice run through the country has a net downhill grade. Consider to be fair and fast, the breathtaking sceneary is amazing. Don’t be spooked about running through a cemetery mid way through. Make it to the historic finish line at Keene State College where Clarence Demar has trained many runners. Showers will be available after the race

Clarence demar marathon map

Image Source: Clarence Demar Marathon


“Beautiful scenery, nice shirt, and a nice medal. You are missing out on America’s best kept marathon secret, if you haven’t run this one.” Ronald Johnston, review

“The pasta dinner was a bargain at $10 with good food and a chance to mingle with other runners and learn about the event history. There is true community support behind this race and they are looking to also improve the health of the local community. Highly recommended.” E.S., review

Manchester City Marathon- Manchester

2016 marks the 10 year anniversary of this fan favorite in the New Hampshire’s largest city. This spectacular race, for the third time, is a New England Long Distance Running Grand Prix Series race- runners can accrue points over the span of seven road races with different distances to win cash prizes.

If you’re not feeling up to accepting this challenge you can always qualify for Boston. 

Runners have also taken advantage NYC Marathon Lottery Fee Credit. Spectators would also be able to make it to Boston- and back- before the race is over. How cool is that! Click here to learn more about fee credits, the grand prix, and early registration cost.

The Course​

For a beginning runner this course may be challenging due to rolling hills. This races starting and finish line is located at Athletes Village. Travel through the city’s landmarks with great support from the Manchester Police Department controlling the traffic.

Manchester city marathon elevation map

Image Source: change


“To make a long story short, the course layout was awesome. What a tour of the city & I didn’t know that parts of the city even existed. As far as toughness & it was a fair course. Lots of hills, but lots of downhills and long, flat stretches too. Traffic was never a problem. The police were awesome and actually offered words of encouragement and gave high fives throughout the course.” R.J., review

“Absolutely the best thing I have ever done. Plenty of hills. Lots of water stations. Volunteers and police very friendly and just all togethet awesome. Thank you also to the people along the route who held parties to route us on, gave out extra waters or beer lol. You all make this race a success” Cassandra Smith, Facebook review

Loco Marathon- New Market

The Loco is the second fastest course in New Hampshire for runners looking to qualify for the Boston marathon. This race caps out at 1,000 runners that will get to relax before and after the race in the Rockingham Ballroom.

Experience the “Rail Trail”, a railroad station purchased in 1988 and converted into a trail, where you may be able to see a Clydesdale roaming in the open fields. Click here for more on the Rockingham Ballroom and runners feast.

The Course​

The course makes its way through four towns with a great tranquil view of rural roads. Elevation peaks as high 100 ft, but it is a more rolling than flat course. The Loops, Trails and Clydesdales are an added bonus if you want to enjoy the coast at its peak. Much of the race is on roads open to traffic with plenty of aid stations on the way to the finish.


Image Source: Loco Marathon


“The course is fast and beautiful, with two loops consisting of 10 miles of blacktop with 3 miles of trail at the end. The fall foliage never gets boring; there is plenty to see (my personal favorites: 3 tiny stone walled cemeteries, farms, and of course the pretty trail).” E.B, Marathon guide review.

“I really loved this race. If not for the fact that I was sick, it would have been the perfect place for a PR — great course (so beautiful, lots of nice straight-aways, just enough elevation change, loved the trail), small field, perfect weather.” Annonymous, review