Syracuse Online

Fall Marathons

My Favorites

Published in The Post-Standard.

By Dr Kamal Jabbour, Contributing Writer

A New Year brings resolutions to run farther and faster, to lose fat and gain muscle, and for many people to run a marathon. In the grand scheme of things, a New Year resolution to run a marathon points inevitably towards the fall, allowing ample time to train in cold and snow, spring and rain, heat and thunderstorms. Here are some of my favorite fall marathons, compiled with help from the Marathon Guide at that contains facts and comments on hundreds of marathons.

The Air Force Marathon is scheduled for September 20, 2003 on the grounds of Wright-Patterson Air Base in Dayton, Ohio. A small marathon by any measure, the 2002 edition had 1,407 finishers with a median finishing time of 4 hours 28 minutes. Runners gave it a rating of 4.5 stars on its course and 5 stars on organization.

The Chicago Marathon, scheduled on October 12, 2003, has captured the reputation as the world's fastest marathon thanks to Khalid Kannouchi's amazing performances. With 31,093 finishers in 2002 with a median chip time of 4 hours 16 minutes, it was also one of the world's largest. Chicago received perfect scores on its flat race course and organization.

The Marine Corps Marathon in the Nation's Capital is a sentimental favorite as my first marathon. The 2003 edition is schedule for October 26. Last year's run had 14,086 finishers with a median time of 4 hours 37 minutes. Runners gave the Marine Corps Marathon excellent scores of 4.5 out of 5 on both its course and organization.

The New York City Marathon on November 2, 2003 remains a fascinating international human show. The 31,824 finishers in 2002, with a median time of 4 hours 22 minutes, gave it back its reputation as the world's largest marathon. Runners favorably scored both the course and the organization with 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Finally, the Philadelphia Marathon on November 23, 2003 may be the closest mid-size marathon to Central New York and a last chance to enter a marathon on short notice. With 4,535 finishers in 2002 and a median finishing time of 4 hours 14 minutes, Philadelphia received 4.5 stars for its course and 4 stars on organization.

© 2003 The Post-Standard.

Kamal Jabbour has no plans to run a marathon next fall. His RUNNING Column appears in The Post-Standard on Mondays. Dr.J. created, webcasting live Every Lap of Every Race. He receives email at