23 Best Marathons in Canada: Running The Great White North

Looking for a bucket list of the best marathons in Canada?

Canada is well-known for maple syrup, ice hockey, moose, and inclement weather. But even in adverse weather conditions, plenty of marathon options are available to you – and you’ll probably even see a moose! If you enjoy the challenges involved in running in snowy, icy conditions, a Canadian marathon is for you.

There is something for everyone, no matter what level you’re at. Looking for a flat city marathon? We’ve got you covered! Want to try your hand at hilly terrain while running between the autumn leaves? Yes, that exists.

Below, we’ll look at our 23 favorite marathons that Canada has to offer. And if you’re still working your way up to a marathon, there are half-marathon options at some of these events. Better yet, if you’re looking to kick it up to the next level, try out a few of the ultras on our list.

Our Pick of the 23 Best Marathons in Canada

In no particular order, let’s jump right into the best marathons Canada has to offer. 

NOTE: Prices are in Canadian Dollars.

1. Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend

Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend, one of the best marathons in Canada
Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend, known as ‘Canada’s Best Marathon Weekend’. Image courtesy of their FB page.

You know you’re in for a good time when a race takes place over a whole weekend. The Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend is one of Canada’s most popular events. It has everything from a 2k fun run to a grueling 59.2km ultramarathon. While the 10k is the most popular event, the marathon is definitely worth your time.

It boasts breathtaking scenery of Canada’s capital city, has a vibey atmosphere with thousands of spectators cheering you on, and the organization is world-class. The course is flat and fast, ideal for those who want to set a new personal record or have an easier introduction to marathons. Plus, you’ll enjoy many iconic landmarks along the way, a win-win!

Starting Location: Ottawa, Ontario

Events Available: 2km, 5km, 10km, 17km, Half Marathon, 36.1k, Marathon, Ultramarathon (59.2km)

Price of Participation: $40 to $335

2. Ottawa Fall Colours

Although this race is smaller than the first on our list, you won’t be left wanting for anything. Many race options are available, including a 3k fun run, a half marathon, and a full marathon. The events are available to any abilities and age, so the whole family can get involved. The best part about this race is running along the gorgeous course surrounded by fall colors.

All races start and finish on the Museum grounds. The half and full marathon are both out-and-back routes, with the marathon being a double lap. Enjoy the fresh air and crowd support as you make your way down Old Montreal Road. If you need an extra energy boost at the end, tell friends and family to cheer you on at the 200-meter extension on Kinsella Drive.

Starting Location: Ottawa, Ontario

Events Available: 3km, 5km, 10km, Half Marathon, Marathon

Price of Participation: $40 to $120

3. Servus Edmonton Marathon

If running sounds a bit much for you, this event allows you to walk or run any of its events. This accessible, approachable, good-natured marathon makes you feel at home. The organizers have gone over and above to ensure everyone feels welcome. There’s no need to feel intimidated – this event is genuine, fun, and personal.

Marathoners have been heard saying that the course is friendly too! It’s fast and flat, allowing you to give it your all to get a personal record or good qualifying time. The event spans the weekend and is great fun for runners and spectators alike, so bring your friends and family and make a party of it!

Starting Location: Edmonton, Alberta

Events Available: 10km, Half Marathon, Marathon

Price of Participation: $99 to $140

4. Fredericton Marathon

This annual event is the oldest annual marathon in New Brunswick, with the first race run in 1979 attended by just a few hundred runners. It’s now one of the region’s most popular, well-known marathons, attracting around 1,500 runners yearly.

The course follows Fredericton’s part-paved, part-hard-packed trails through the picturesque suburbs, showing off its beautiful architecture along the way, including Bill Thorpe Walking Bridge and Queen Square. The Fredericton Marathon is a Boston qualifier, drawing many runners due to the flat, fast course.

Starting Location: Fredericton, New Brunswick

Events Available: 500m, 1km, 1 mile, 3km, 5km, 8km, 10km, Half Marathon, Marathon

Price of Participation: $9 to $95

5. SSQ Quebec City Marathon

The Marathon SSQ Lévis-Québec or Quebec City Marathon is a fairly large point-to-point marathon run between Lévis and Quebec City. It has been held annually since 1998 and often has over 10,000 participants across all the events.

If you’re used to running a marathon that counts the markers in ascending order, this course counts down, indicating how many kilometers you have remaining until you reach the finish line. 

You will run along the city streets and on both sides of the River St. Laurent, passing plenty of sightseeing opportunities. The race starts in Lévis, and you will finish at Quebec’s Old Harbor after you cross the Quebec Bridge.

Starting Location: Quebec City, Quebec

Events Available: 5k, 10k, Half Marathon, Marathon

Price of Participation: $40 to $110

6. Capital Subaru Huffin’ Puffin Marathon

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a cuter name for a marathon, but don’t take its adorable name to mean it’s any less tough. In fact, the Huffin’ Puffin Marathon is a Boston qualifier, so it’s suitably challenging. It leads you through the best the St. John’s suburb has to offer: historic downtown streets, scenic parks, along the harbor front, and around the beautiful Quidi Vidi lake.

The marathon is a double loop around the half-marathon route. The marathon was named the Huffin’ Puffin in 2010, but it has since been renamed the Uniformed Services Run. Most people still call it by its catchy name (and we don’t blame them!). This event is Newfoundland & Labrador’s second biggest running race (the Tely 10 is the biggest, a 10-miler).

Starting Location: St. Johns, Newfoundland & Labrador

Events Available: Half Marathon, Marathon Relay, Marathon

Price of Participation: $65 to $100

7. Yukon River Trail Marathon

This course is hilly and intense (and maybe even a little scary), following the scenic trails through the Yukon River valley. The Yukon Territory has everything you could want in a trail marathon: rugged terrain, stunning scenery, and for the most part, solitude, and peace. You can choose for the half marathon, marathon relay, or marathon events.

The first and last 3.5km of the course is paved, but all the rest is single-track footpaths running through the Yukon wilderness – the thing of dreams! You may even see some wildlife as you plod along. You start in Rotary Peace Park, running along Millennium Trail for several kilometers, then along Schwatka Lake to the rushing rivers and broad valleys. It’s definitely a once-in-a-lifetime run.

Starting Location: Whitehorse, Yukon, Northwest Territories

Events Available: Half Marathon, Marathon Relay, Marathon

Price of Participation: $60

8. The County Marathon

The Country Marathon is worth a look if you’re looking for a race that’ll allow you to nab a fast qualifying time or run as your first full or half marathon. Better yet, bring the whole family along to stunning Prince Edward County and enjoy some wine touring and boutique shopping along with your race.

This marathon is in a unique location, where you can drink in the gorgeous setting (and the beer at the finish line) no matter where you look. The organizers ensure that everything is planned to the dot and that the atmosphere is light, fun, and exciting for runners and spectators alike.

Starting Location: Prince Edward County, Ontario

Events Available: Half Marathon, Marathon, Ultramarathon (50k)

Price of Participation: $95 to $135

9. Yarmouth “Bean There, Ran That” Marathon

Another marathon with a fun name, the Yarmouth “Bean There, Ran That” Marathon is a Nova Scotia-based event that features a picturesque route and helps raise money for the Yarmouth Hospital Renal Dialysis Unit. The event has raised over $30,000 to date to help dialysis patients in Southwest Nova Scotia. And the marathon is Boston-certified!

The marathon course takes you along the back of Yarmouth Harbour and toward the lighthouse on a flat, well-marked route. There are a few small hills, but nothing that’ll slow you down much. You can also involve your friends and family, as several race options are available.

Starting Location: Yarmouth, Nova Scotia

Events Available: 5km, 10km, Half Marathon, Marathon Relay, Marathon

Price of Participation: $10 to $60

10. Marathon de Rimouski

Canadian Marathon in Ouellet

Another Boston qualifier, the Marathon de Rimouski has been gaining in popularity since its inception in 2002. Today, it’s one of the biggest running events in Eastern Canada. This marathon is one of North America’s fastest courses and boasts spectacular seashore views along the route. 

The race has an entry limit of 5,000 people, keeping it smaller and less congested. All of the offered races are out-and-back routes that follow the Saint Lawrence River and are almost completely flat. In fact, the marathon has a total vertical change of just 10 meters, which is almost unheard of.

Starting Location: Rimouski, Quebec

Events Available: 1km, 5km, 10km, Half Marathon, Marathon

Price of Participation: $10 to $95

11. Hallow’s Eve Trail Race

What could be more exhilarating than a trail run on Hallow’s Eve? Exactly! The Hallow’s Eve Trail Race is a dress-up marathon starting in Lynn Creek and follows the ghostly, ghastly trails along Vancouver’s North Shore. The event has three races – the 10k, half marathon, and marathon- so you can make it a fun and freaky evening for you, your friends, and your family.

The races all start and finish at Inter River Park, and you can enjoy some Halloween-themed treats once you cross the finish line. And, probably our favorite part – awards are given for the best costume. This type of marathon may as well be called a mara-fun!

Starting Location: North Vancouver., British Columbia

Events Available: 10km, Half Marathon, Marathon

Price of Participation: $50 to $90

12. TCS Toronto Waterfront Marathon

Toronto is one of the most multiculturally diverse cities on Earth. Over 140 languages can be heard in this one city, and running through the streets will introduce you to the aromas, flavors, sounds, and sights of almost every country. It’s tough not to feel accepted here. If you want a vibey, well-supported marathon, the TCS Toronto Waterfront Marathon is it!

It attracts over 26,000 runners from 50 countries. Three races are on offer, so there’s something for everyone. You start running on University Avenue and finish at City Hall in the heart of downtown Toronto. The course is a flat out-and-back route along the lakeshore. It’s ideal for first-time marathoners and Boston hopefuls.

Starting Location: Toronto, Ontario

Events Available: 5km, Half Marathon, Marathon

Price of Participation: $40 to $170 (depending on registration date)

13. Hamilton Marathon Road2Hope

Don’t think this marathon isn’t fantastic based on its position on this list – to the contrary, the Hamilton Marathon is considered the best Canadian qualifier for the Boston Marathon. It is considered a downhill course, losing around 125 meters of elevation over the course. It has a 7-mile-long section of perfect flat where you can get into a great rhythm.

The cool weather, flat terrain, and gentle downhill make this one of North America’s fastest marathons. This is paired with a fantastic route that passes Red Hill and Beach Boulevard, follows back country roads, and edges the escarpment. The last 4.5 miles follow the lake, giving you the ideal setting for the finish line. Beautiful and fast? Where do we sign up?!

Starting Location: Hamilton, Ontario

Events Available: 1km, 5km, 10km, Half Marathon, Marathon

Price of Participation: $15 to $125

14. Boundary Bay Marathon

Beautiful, flat, and no hills are all perfect adjectives to describe the Boundary Bay Marathon. Yet another Boston qualifier on our list, this race offers various races from 5k and 10k to a marathon and marathon relay. The route follows a gorgeous gravel oceanside path with views so breathtaking you won’t even be worrying about your heart rate or shin pain.

All the races are out-and-back routes that are entirely flat. The only real downsides are the weather, which can get a bit nippy, and the risk of falling off the trail because you can’t take your eyes off the vistas.

Starting Location: Vancouver, British Columbia

Events Available: 5km, 10km, Half Marathon, Marathon Relay, Marathon

Price of Participation: $50 to $210 (depending on registration date)

15. Queen City Marathon

The Queen City Marathon has become one of Saskatchewan’s top running events since its founding in 2001. It has both running and walking events and is a community-driven event with tons of fun for all involved. The organizers wanted to create a running event that challenged local and international participants while showcasing Regina’s beauty and magic.

The out-and-back course takes runners along pathways and roadways through some of the most scenic, striking parts of the city, including Wascana Park and downtown Regina. This Boston qualifier encourages fitness, friendship, and fun, all things we love in the running community.

Starting Location: Regina, Saskatchewan

Events Available: 5km, 10km, Half Marathon, Marathon Relay, Marathon

Price of Participation: To be announced

16. Niagara Falls International Marathon

What could be more awesome than starting a race in one country and finishing in another? That’s what’s on offer with the Niagara Falls International Marathon. It was started in 1974 and was originally called the Skylon International Marathon. The race starts in Buffalo, New York, following stunning trails until the Peace Bridge, which runners cross to arrive in Fort Erie, Ontario. 

The rest of the marathon is in Canada, following the Niagara River, and sees its finish line facing the awe-inspiring Niagara Falls. If this sounds like a once-in-a-lifetime marathon, you’d be right. It’s one of the only races in the world where you have to show your passport at the start line to ensure you’re allowed to cross between the countries. Very cool!

Starting Location: Buffalo, New York

Events Available: 5km, 10km, Half Marathon, Marathon

Price of Participation: $40 to $145

17. Banff Marathon

No matter where you’re from, you’ve likely heard of the Banff National Park, and that’s the setting for this amazing running event. It features a 10k, half marathon, marathon relay, and full marathon, so there’s something for everyone, regardless of age or ability level. All of the races are out-and-back formats and run along the new Legacy Trail.

You’ll run through striking nature, see local wildlife, and pass historical locations while bordering the Vermilion Lakes and trailing the Bow River before finishing in Banff Central Park. One of the most unique features of this race is the interpreters located at each stage to give you a history of the area you are passing through.

Starting Location: Banff, Alberta

Events Available: 10km, Half Marathon, Marathon

Price of Participation: $85 to $165

18. Yellowknife Overlander Marathon

Looking to push your limits and see where your limit really is? The Yellowknife Overlander Marathon may be just what you’re looking for. This race features a 10.55 km-long figure 8 route that winds through a challenging hilly course. If you prefer to know what’s ahead of you, doing several laps of this course fits that bill.

All runners and walkers use the same route, with 10km entrants doing one loop, half marathoners completing two loops, 3/4 marathon (31.65km) participants running three loops, and marathoners racing four loops. It’s a great opportunity to make friends and involve the family as you make your way back to the start line at the end of each loop.

Starting Location: Yellowknife, Northwest Territories

Events Available: 10km, Half Marathon, 31.65km, Marathon Relay, Marathon

Price of Participation: $40 for solo entries, $60 for teams

19. Near Death Marathon

This marathon has a scary name and is a part of the daunting Canadian Death Race. Not instilling much hope, are we? Don’t fear! You just need to find a way to survive the Canadian Rockies to conquer one of the world’s roughest, toughest (and slowest) marathon adventure races.

The course starts and finishes on a 1280-meter plateau, includes over 5,180 meters of elevation gain, passes over 3 mountain summits, and crosses a major river at the breathtaking Hell’s Gate canyon, where the Sulphur and Smoky Rivers converge. This race isn’t advised for inexperienced runners as you’ll battle cold, heat, altitude, and your own mind.

Starting Location: Grande Cache, Alberta

Events Available: Marathon

Price of Participation: $294 (incl. fees)

20. Blue Nose Marathon

Looking for a challenge? We have just the race for you! The Blue Nose Marathon is a Boston qualifier and takes runners on a thrilling adventure along the dynamic streets of downtown Halifax to Dartmouth. You’ll pass several iconic attractions, including Lake Banook, the harbor, vibrant North End, and Point Pleasant Park.

Halifax should really be called Hilly-fax, but the little hills aren’t anything you can’t handle. And when you’re feeling tired, you can draw on the energy of the whole city’s residents, who will turn up to cheer you on. And the best part is that there are kiddies’ runs, fun runs, and various distances to challenge the whole family.

Starting Location: Halifax, Nova Scotia

Events Available: 2km, 4km, 5km, 10km, Half Marathon, Marathon Relay, Marathon

Price of Participation: $25 to $85

21. BMO Vancouver Marathon

Vancouver Marathon
Vancouver Marathon, image courtesy of the Official Facebook page.

The BMO Vancouver Marathon is Canada’s second-largest international running event. It has a certified marathon distance of 26 miles and 385 yards. There are several event options to get everyone involved, and the weekend of events attracts over 15,000 participants, with around 5,000 runners competing in the marathon.

The race was first run in 1972 with just 46 athletes who ran five loops around Stanley Park. This marathon is ranked as one of the most beautiful, scenic city marathons, taking participants on a journey through Vancouver’s neighborhoods, parks, and city streets. If you’re looking for a mainstream marathon with breathtaking mountain and beach views, this is the run for you.

Starting Location: Vancouver, British Columbia

Events Available: 2.5km kids race, 8km, Half Marathon, Marathon

Price of Participation: $25 to $149

22. Johnny Miles Running Event – WORTH A LOOK

Originally called the Johnny Miles Marathon, this run is not, in fact, a marathon anymore. It features three distance options, a 5k, 10k, and half marathon. The race was founded in 1975 by Dr. Johnny Miles Williston, a legendary Nova Scotian marathoner.

The race attracts around 2,000 participants and is considered one of Nova Scotia’s best running events of the year. The running event features several undulating hills and one short but very steep hill, but the rest of the course is flat and fast. It follows the scenic Albion and Samson trails and offers plenty of nature for those who love being alone in the wild.

Starting Location: New Glasgow, Nova Scotia

Events Available: 5km, 10km, Half Marathon

Price of Participation: $35

23. Mississauga Half Marathon – HONORABLE MENTION

The Mississauga Marathon and race weekend is one of greater Toronto’s most popular multi-day events and has been held annually since 2004. It features several races over the weekend, with distances ranging from 2 km to a half marathon. The event attracts over 10,000 runners across the different distances.

The marathon is a point-to-point race encompassing Mississauga’s splendor as you gain speed on the fast downhills, relax through the beautiful neighborhoods, and drink in the scenic stretches beside Lake Ontario. While there’s no marathon distance, you can enjoy a speedy half marathon with your friends for a morning of fun.

Starting Location: Mississauga, Ontario

Events Available: 2km, 5km, 10km, Half Marathon

Price of Participation: $70 to $130

Author Profile

Thalia Oosthuizen

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Thalia started running during the the pandemic as a way of getting out of the house. The running bug bit, and now much of her life revolves around everything to do with running - videos, podcasts, studies, books, articles, and interviews. She's also done several courses on running nutrition and mechanics to aid in her training and advising others.
Thalia Oosthuizen

Revel SPorts Contributor

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