Which U.S marathon provides the most prize money to the winner? A ranked list

Which U.S marathon provides the most prize money to the winner? A ranked list

Kenneth Mwenda
June 20, 2024 at 7:35 AM

Which U.S marathon provides the most prize money to the winner? This question continuously rings in the minds of some youngsters who dream about running and getting the best time in some of these world events or even breaking records. Just like any other sport, races also offer the best prizes to the winners.

Jepchirchir and Hellen Obiri in USA marathon
Jepchirchir with a medal on November 07, 2021, in New York City (L). Hellen with the trophy after the Marathon on April 15, 2024, in Boston (R). Photos: Elsa, Paul Rutherford (modified by author)
Source: Getty Images

Table of Сontents:

Running challenges you with self-control and persistence besides the cash injections provided to the top athletes. Here is a ranked list of 7 U.S marathons with the highest prize money, sourced from factual publications.

Which U.S marathon provides the most prize money to the winner?

According to RunRepeat, the highest prize money offering in the United States is the Boston Marathon, which we will explore in-depth in this article. Nevertheless, every year, the country is flooded with innumerable races, most of which gather teams of participants. Most dared to break their personal while others also won the races.

A list of top U.S marathons with the highest prize money



Prize money for winner


Los Angeles



Twin Cities












New York City





Running is a spectacular sport that can be done anywhere at any time. It is also one of the best workouts, as it provides a great cardiovascular workout while strengthening your muscles.

Besides reducing stress and anxiety, running also provides other mental health benefits. As Joan Benoit Samuelson, American marathoner and first-ever women's Olympic champion, states:

"As every runner knows, running is about more than just putting one foot in front of the other; it is about our lifestyle and who we are."

The trend of running is on the rise in the U.S., with an increasing number of individuals embarking on training for their first race. Here, we are going to analyse the seven best tournaments in the country at present.

7. Los Angeles Marathon

Women marathoners during the Los Angeles Marathon
Women marathoners out from Dodger Stadium at the start of the 39th Los Angeles Marathon on Sunday, March 17, 2024. Photo: David Crane
Source: Getty Images

Inspired by the success of the 1984 Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles, the competition has evolved into one of the country's largest. It boasts over 25,000 participants, thousands of volunteers, and spectators.

Since 2020, ASICS has sponsored the event. The event offers a total prize purse of $30,000, with the winner taking home $6,000, the second-place finisher receiving $2,500, and the third-place finisher earning $1,500.

6. Twin Cities Marathon

Marathon participants run on Summit Avenue in St. Paul
Marathon participants run on Summit Avenue in St. Paul near the 25-mile mark during the Twin Cities Marathon on October 5, 2008. Photo: Jerry Holt
Source: Getty Images

The Twin Cities' remarkable prize money of $82,800 consists of $62,800 for elite athletes and $20,000 for "Best of the Midwest" tournament invitees.

The male and female winners receive $10,000, with additional prizes awarded to the top 10 finishers, the Best of the Midwest Invited Athletes, and wheelchair competitors. Renowned for its picturesque course from Minneapolis to St. Paul, this tournament has gained more fans and athletes.

5. Honolulu Marathon

Elite runners run in Honolulu, Hawaii
Elite runners run during the Kalakaua Merrie Mile as a part of the Honolulu Marathon 2019 on December 07, 2019, in Honolulu, Hawaii. Photo: Ezra Shaw
Source: Getty Images

The Honolulu, officially branded as the JAL Honolulu due to sponsorship, is a 26.2-mile (42.2 km) event in Honolulu, Hawaii. It was first held on December 16, 1973. As one of the world's largest marathons, it occurs annually on the second Sunday in December.

Its Hawaiian setting makes it popular, particularly among first-time racers, many of whom are visitors from Japan. The competition offers a $25,000 prize for both the men's and women's winners. In 2023, winners received $25,000 and a new addition: a solid gold medal valued at $15,000.

4. Houston Marathon

A group of elite marathon in Houston
A group of elite marathon runners in the lead for the Chevron Houston Marathon as they reach the 5 mile mark on Jan 15, 2012, in Houston. Photo: Mayra Beltran
Source: Getty Images

The Houston is an annual race held every January in Houston, Texas, United States, since 1972. With thousands of runners and spectators, it is the largest single-day sporting event in the city. The Houston event provides a $150,000 prize purse, including $30,000 for the race winners.

3. Chicago Marathon

Marathon runners in Chicago, Illinois
A general view of the start line as runners compete in the 2023 Chicago Marathon at Grant Park on October 08, 2023, in Chicago, Illinois. Photo: Michael Reaves
Source: Getty Images

The Chicago, held every October in Chicago, Illinois, is one of the six World Marathon Majors and a World Athletics Label Road Race. It ranks as the fourth-largest globally by number of finishers.

The race is limited to around 50,000 runners, with only those finishing within 6½ hours receiving official times. Sponsored and organised by Bank of America since 2008, it is known as the Bank of America Chicago Marathon.

With a prize purse of half a million dollars, the event awards $100,000 to the winner and $50,000 to the runner-up. Its fast and flat course is a favourite among elite runners aiming for personal bests or world records.

2. New York City Marathon

Runners in New York City
Runners compete in the Men's division during the 52nd Edition of the New York City Marathon on November 5, 2023. Photo: Angela Weiss
Source: Getty Images

The first NYC event took place in 1970, entirely within Central Park, with just 127 entrants, 55 finishers, and a single female racer who had to drop out due to illness. Today, it is the largest in the world, sometimes featuring over 50,000 finishers.

Alongside the Boston and Chicago marathons, it is one of the most prestigious long-distance running events in the United States and is part of the World Marathon Majors. Initially, the entry fee was only $1, and the prize purse was $1,000, with winners receiving inexpensive wristwatches and recycled baseball or bowling trophies.

The competition currently offers a prize purse exceeding $500,000. The men's and women's champions each receive $100,000, and the runners-up receive $60,000.

1. Boston Marathon

Runners in Boston, Massachusetts
Runners during the 128th Boston Marathon on April 15, 2024, in Boston, Massachusetts. Photo: Paul Rutherford
Source: Getty Images

The Boston is the oldest in the world and the second longest continuously run footrace in the U.S. Renowned for its challenging course, including the infamous Heartbreak Hill, this iconic race holds a special place in the hearts of runners globally.

The top male and female finishers each receive $150,000, with second place earning $75,000. The total prize purse is an impressive $850,000, sponsored by John Hancock Financial since 1986.

There is also a bonus prize of $50,000 for breaking the world's best time and $25,000 for breaking the course record. The most rewarded Boston runner of all time is four-time champion Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot, a Kenyan runner who earned $469,000 from the race alone.


In days gone by, most events did not offer prizes to their winners. However, the situation has now changed. Prize money has now become the factor through which marathon organisers can attract the most talented runners around the world to their races.

How much money do you get for winning a marathon?

The prize money for winning can vary widely. Major events like New York, Boston, and Chicago offer prize money, often exceeding $100,000 for the winner.

However, in some tournaments, like the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon and the Nagoya Women's, the winner might take home more than $200,000. Smaller races may offer more modest sums, ranging from $10,000 to $40,000.

What is the most prestigious marathon in the world?

While the U.S. hosts several prestigious races, the question of which is the most prestigious in the world often receives varied answers. However, only six marathons hold the title of world majors: Tokyo, Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago, and New York City.

Which marathon pays the most?

Globally, the Nagoya Women's Marathon has one of the highest prize purses, with winners receiving $250,000. However, in the U.S., the Boston marathon leads the pack with its $150,000 prize for the winner.

Final word

The financial rewards can be significant for elite runners, especially in major U.S. marathons. The New York City, Boston, and Chicago offer the highest prize money, making them the top choices for elite runners looking to compete on American soil.

READ ALSO: Who is the best marathon runner in the world? A top 10 ranked list

Sports Brief published an article about the best marathon runner in the world. Marathon running is a sport that requires dedication, hard work, and determination. It takes years of practice and training to become a successful marathon runner.

Every year, thousands of people worldwide participate in races, and many countries have produced some of the best marathon runners in the world. Click on the above link to read more!

Kenneth Mwenda photo
Kenneth Mwenda
Kenneth Mwenda is a business and sports writer with over five years of experience. At Sportsbrief, he contributes to writing biographies and listicles.