Since 1982 I've written a newsletter, Running Commentary. A new issue appears here each week, and material is archived.

Tue, 5 Dec 2000 08:55:59 -0500

Longest Runs

(from RC 333)

In this sport that celebrates endurance, we need to honor not only the runners who hang on the longest but also the races that endure. Their longevity tells us they're doing something right.

The oldest U.S. marathons aren't the biggest ones. None of the megaraces of the fall -- New York, Chicago, Marine Corps or Honolulu -- ranks among the 25 longest survivors. The senior race of this season is the humble Western Hemisphere Marathon in Culver City, California, with its few hundred runners.

Naming the elders of American marathoning is something of a guessing game because some events have experienced interruptions and changed names through the years. I published a list in the 1997 book Marathon Training and updated it for the new Running Encyclopedia. Ken Young supplies additions and corrections from his Analytical Distance Runners website, which carries a deeper and more detailed list (www.mattoleriver.com).

Here we list pre-1970 races by the number of runnings (through the end of 2000) and their inaugural year. For instance, second-place Yonkers has been around for 93 years but contested just 76 times.

103 -- Boston, MA, 1897
76 -- Yonkers, NY, 1907
53 -- Western Hemisphere, CA, 1948
45 -- Pike's Peak, CO, 1956
44-- Philadelphia Independence, PA, 1954
43 -- Long Island, NY, 1958
42 -- Atlantic City, NJ, 1959
41 -- Heart of America, MO, 1960
39 -- Washington's Birthday, MD, 1962
38 -- Atlanta, GA, 1963
38 -- Detroit International, MI, 1963
38 -- Race of Champions, MA, 1963
38 -- Twin Cities, MN, 1963
37 -- Equinox, AK, 1963
36 -- Mardi Gras, LA, 1965
36 -- San Diego, CA, 1965
34 -- Las Vegas, NV, 1967
34 -- Palos Verdes, CA, 1967
33 -- Athens, OH, 1968
33 -- Grandfather Mountain, NC, 1968
33 -- Ohio River RRC, 1967
32 -- Arkansas, 1969 (32)
32 -- Birch Bay, WA, 1969
32 -- Paavo Nurmi, WI, 1969
30 -- Tucson, AZ, 1969

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