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What’s Your Favorite Marathon, Vacation, Race-Day Breakfast or Post-Race Treat?

Famous marathoners share some of their favorites. See if you agree.

Marathoners have lots in common, but all are different, as author Matthew Huff found out when he asked a range of runners some of their favorites for his new book, Marathoner: What to Expect When Training for and Running a Marathon. The book is a colorful, entertaining, and thorough guide to the marathon, from choosing your race to navigating the finish festival. Mile-by-mile chapters are full of fun facts about marathon courses and history, clever decision flow-charts (like how to get to the starting line), sage advice from pre-race fuel to marathon marriage proposals do’s and don’ts, and inspiring interviews. Huff also asked each of his interviewees a series of questions about their favorites and their answers appear in lists scattered throughout.

Here are a few of those lists. Many of the runners you’ll recognize, other’s you’ll have to get the book to hear their interesting stories and advice. See if you agree with their picks, and get some new ideas, for Ideal Running Vacation Destination, Favorite Marathon Course, Go-To Race-Day Breakfast, Favorite Postmarathon Treat.

Switzerland Photo: 101 Degrees West

Roundup: Ideal Running Vacation Destination 

  • Switzerland Valleys – Shalane Flanagan
  • Greece – Dr. George Chiampas
  • The Alps – Dr. Mark Cucuzzella
  • Anywhere near water or mountains – Apolo Ohno
  • Chamonix, France – Des Linden
  • Mackinac Island, Michigan—no cars and lots of hills and trails – Curt Munson
  • Mission Bay in San Diego, California – Meb Keflezighi
  • Upper Peninsula of Michigan – Matthew Huff
  • Places with trails, like Northern Italy or Sun Valley, Idaho – George Hirsch
  • New Mexico – Dave Obelkevich
  • Ethiopia and Kenya—the mecca of running – Ryan Hall
  • London—because I haven’t run the marathon yet – Danielle Quatrochi
  • Bhutan Marathon—it’s on my bucket list – Kate Carter
  • The French Alps or Bend, Oregon – Elyse Kopecky
  • The Maldives – Michal Kapral
  • The Catskills – Kat Wang
  • Uzbekistan—dry heat and open roads – Lindsay Crouse
Pulaski Bridge, New York City Marathon
photo: NYRR

Roundup: Favorite Marathon Course

  • St. George Marathon in Utah—the second half drops precipitously and goes through Red Rock Canyon – Amby Burfoot
  • Boston—it’s legendary – Michal Kapral
  • Detroit—you’re running in two countries! – Matthew Huff
  • New York City – Shalane Flanagan
  • Boston—for the history, the competitive field, and the challenging course – Greg McMillan
  • Marine Corps Marathon—I have a military heritage, so it means a lot – Dr. Mark Cucuzzella
  • Boston—it’s challenging and has so much history – Des Linden
  • Chicago—it feels like a hometown race for me – Amanda McGrory
  • New York for the experience, California International for the PR – Danielle Quatrochi
  • Way Too Cool 50K Trail Run—not a marathon, but a great race – Curt Munson
  • New York City – Meb Keflezighi
  • Missoula, Montana—gorgeous, friendly, and mostly flat – Bridget Quinn
  • New York City or the old Tokyo course – Dave Obelkevich
  • London Olympics 2012—narrow roads and a super-thick crowd the whole way – Ryan Hall
  • Boston – Bennett Beach
  • Seville, Spain, or Tokyo – Kate Carter
  • San Diego – Kat Wang
  • Boston – Lindsay Crouse
  • New York City – Brinda Ayer
Runner, chef and nutrition coach Elyse Kopecky making breakfast.
Runner, chef and nutrition coach Elyse Kopecky in her kitchen. Photo: courtesy Marathoner

Roundup: Go-To Race-Day Breakfast 

  • A bagel and a banana – Amanda McGrory
  • Egg sandwich – Danielle Quatrochi
  • Race-day oatmeal (from my cookbook, Run Fast. Eat Slow.) – Shalane Flanagan
  • An egg sandwich three hours before the start – Greg McMillan
  • Pop-Tarts, either strawberry or blueberry frosted – Kat Wang
  • A bagel with peanut butter, white rice, and coffee – Des Linden
  • Eggs and himbasha bread that my mom makes – Meb Keflezighi
  • A cup of coffee and a white bagel – Amby Burfoot
  • Oatmeal, nuts, or yogurt, and a hard-boiled egg with lots of salt – Bridget Quinn
  • A banana and half a bagel – Dave Obelkevich
  • Maltodextrin powder with Muscle Milk protein powder – Ryan Hall
  • Cereal—I’m in a cereal club, and I like to mix five different kinds at once – Bennett Beach
  • A toasted bagel with peanut butter and a cup of tea – Kate Carter
  • An everything bagel – Matthew Huff
  • Oatmeal and a banana – Michal Kapral
  • Superhero muffins – Elyse Kopecky
  • Whatever I can find as I’m frantically throwing things in my bag for the race – Lindsay Crouse
  • A carb with peanut butter and maybe a few dates – Brinda Ayer
Burger, fries and beer
Photo: Natasha Breen/REDA&CO/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Roundup: Favorite Postmarathon Treat 

  • A root beer float – Amby Burfoot
  • Pancakes – Amanda McGrory
  • Nut butter cups from Run Fast. Eat Slow.Danielle Quatrochi
  • Anything carb-heavy—noodles, pizza, or pasta – Apolo Ohno
  • A veggie burger, a ton of fries, and beer – Brinda Ayer
  • In New York City, a slice of Ray’s Pizza and a beer – Shalane Flanagan
  • A burger and a beer – Elyse Kopecky
  • Chicken fingers – Matthew Huff
  • A cheeseburger and beer – Greg McMillan
  • A nice glass of red wine – Dr. Mark Cucuzzella
  • A loaded-up burger and a beerDes Linden
  • McDonald’s – Curt Munson
  • A coffee milkshake – George Hirsch
  • A burrito – Bridget Quinn
  • A beer – Dave Obelkevich
  • Cinnabon – Ryan Hall
  • A beer and a bag of salty crisps – Kate Carter
  • A burrito or a whole pizza – Michal Kapral
  • Shake Shack – Kat Wang
  • Cookies – Lindsay Crouse


Excerpted with permission from Marathoner: What to Expect When Training for and Running a Marathon. Published by Universe, April 2021.