How to Get Into America’s Biggest Marathons

You’ve heard of the Chicago, New York City, and Marine Corp Marathons otherwise referred to as the Big Three. They are three of the largest races in the United States located in some of the best cities. They could be considered goal races for many runners since you either have to have a qualifying time, win a lottery drawing, or fund-raise for a specified charity to gain admittance to each race. The scheduled lottery for each of these races is staggered in such a way this year that you could enter in all three in an attempt to gain admittance into one race. For example, if you don’t get into the Chicago Marathon, you can enter into the NYC Marathon lottery shortly after receiving your denial letter from Chicago. Check out the lottery schedule below.


Bank of America – Chicago Marathon

Application Opens: Tuesday, November 1st 2016

Application Closes: Tuesday, November 29th 2016

Drawing Date: Tuesday, December 13th 2016

Race Date: Sunday, October 8th 2017

Entry Fee: $195.00


TCS – New York City Marathon

Application Opens: Tuesday, January 17th, 2017

Application Closes: Friday, February 17th, 2017

Drawing Date: Thursday, March 2, 2017

Race Date: Sunday, November 5th 2017

Entry Fee: $295.00


Marine Corp Marathon

Application Opens: Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017

Application Closes: Wednesday, March 29th, 2017

Drawing Date: Thursday, March 30th, 2017

Race Date: Sunday, October 22nd, 2017

Entry Fee: $140.00


lottery balls

How to Register for America’s Top 5 Lottery Marathons

This idea of putting together a list of lottery races started a few weeks ago. I sat down to write out my running and racing goals for 2016. A few local half marathon’s made the list as I’ve already signed up the Go Girl Run and Memorial Half Marathon. So my racing calendar for the early part of the year pretty much set. However, I want to do one BIG race that requires travel. Last year, I had just started getting back into running and Route 66 Half Marathon was my BIG race. This year I want to go even BIGGER/FUTHER. I’ve even been toying with the idea of running a full marathon but I’m not completely sold. I’m uncertain if I’m physically ready for the strain or the time commitment that a full marathon requires. I think the only way I’ll be brave enough to actually sign up and complete one is if I am able to run in a BIG name event.   So that’s where lottery marathons come in.

A lottery marathon is just want it sounds like. You basically put your name in the hat and if your name gets pulled you don’t get a windfall financial reward, but you do get to pay an expensive race registration, travel and hotel expense. Oh,and you also get to race in one of the most prestigious races in the country. Sounds great, right? Well, I sure thought so.

So here’s how, or more importantly when, to register for the lottery of America’s 5 biggest marathons. Some of them are even among the biggest marathons in the world.

I think I may try my luck with Chicago. Which one are you planning to register for? Do you feel lucky?


TCS New York City Marathon

Location: New York City, NY

Race Date: November 6 ,2016

Lottery Registration Dates: January 21st – February 21st 2016


Bank of America Chicago Marathon

Location: Chicago, IL

Race Date: October 9 ,2016

Lottery Registration Dates: March 15th – April 12th 2016


Marine Corps Marathon

Location: Washington, D.C.

Race Date: October 30th, 2016

Lottery Registration Dates: March 24th – March 30th 2016


2017 Grandma’s Marathon

Location: Two Harbors to Duluth, Minnesota

Race Date: Mid-June 2017

Lottery Registration Dates: October 1st – October 31st, 2016


St. George Marathon

Location: Utah

Race Date: October 1st, 2016

Lottery Registration Dates: April 1st – May 2nd 2016